Oral history of British science

Raynor, Frank (Part 10 of 18) An Oral History of British Science

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Abingdon

  • Interviewees

    Raynor, Frank, 1922- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 10: [57:20] [Interview four: 31 July 2012] Remarks on return from Australia after Operation Hurricane: birth of daughter Joy; anecdote about giving daughter a hard to abbreviate name; not receiving extra leave or other rewards; returning to routine work; cramped living conditions on voyage out to Australia. [03:30] Remarks on routine of Aldermaston after tests: working in health physics providing instrument service; secure A-Area of Aldermaston for radioactive work; making instrumentation for other tasks; FR building a specialist probe for Dr Lewis to test weapon hemispheres, with help of workshop run by Norman Harpwood; description of Norman Harpwood; [08:25] different types of measuring probe; description of alpha probe; [10:35] interaction between FR and Norman in making of probe; light-guide to transfer light within a probe; job making tritium counter; helpful explanation and interaction with scientists using equipment; physicist Frank Barnaby's career path, who would help explain physics, such as Bremsstrahlung radiation, to technicians; Frank Barnaby's later career and press profile. [17:20] Comments on improvements in equipment: slow speed of Cossor oscilloscopes, development of faster oscilloscopes by Fort Halstead; FR building a four-gun oscilloscope using Standard Telephone CRT, which he used tests in Australia; early transistor's insufficient speed; description of use of power transistors in inverters; sources of obtaining equipment, Nobby's helpful habit of passing round useful journal articles. [23:05] Comments on: FR promotion, grading structures; heavy responsibilities given to junior grades, such as Frank Whiteway and John Challens, who both became Aldermaston directors; effective but brusque senior administrator Admiral Brooking. [26:42] Description of position of technician of FR's grade within idiosyncrasies of hierarchies and gradings of Aldermaston, Harwell and Culham: example of section structure and ranks in Harwell, anecdote about FR not passing dummy interview board for promotion to experimental class, later promotion of FR at Culham. [31:20] Description of later integration of Scientific and Experimental groups into Scientific Officer [SO] Grade, and Engineers and Technicians into Professional and Technical Officer [PTO] Grade, FR promotion to PTO1; anecdote about FR's interview and lack of qualifications. [33:46] Discussion about various scientific civil service grades and changes to system over the years, status distinctions, Nobby Clarke's methods of managing his group. [38:00] Remarks on: stereotypically eccentric scientist; anecdote about colleague's attitude toward his mother-in-law; technical officer pay level when FR started; postwar rationing and conditions, FR first eating steak in Australia, FR wife caring for children; 'Bas' Pease and Nobby Clarke's motor vehicles; anecdote about Royal Navy and scientists ranks, Captain Capel's discussion with Nobby Clarke. [46:40] Remarks on: Aldermaston after Hurricane test; anecdote about head of explosive group Bill Moyce explaining waves to FR; Canadian NF Moody's publication based on telemetry work on test; senior staff talking to junior staff; limited discussion of next round of testing, personnel sent to subsequent Totem tests at Emu field; group effort toward supporting tests; [52:40] opportunities offered by travel to Australia, financial benefits; wives sometimes complaining at lack of husbands; FR wife's reactions to him going overseas again; FR enjoying work; FR learning he was being sent out to Australia; anecdote about FR trying to avoid being sent to the Grapple test series in 1957

  • Description

    Interview with technician, Frank Raynor

  • Related transcripts

    Frank Raynor interviewed by Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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