Oral history of British science
Raynor, Frank (Part 13 of 18) An Oral History of British Science
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Interviewee's home, Abingdon
Raynor, Frank, 1922- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 13: [40:01] Remarks on: enjoyments in work at Aldermaston, always something interesting, good colleagues; spending around a year at weapons tests in his 7 year Aldermaston career at various times between 1952 and 1957; return to Pacific in 1957 for Operation Grapple X, faster pace of tests. [03:30] Remarks on Grapple X: description of Christmas Island, used for weapons test; FR duties on Ed Fuller's re-entry party similar to Grapple; improvement of facilities and conditions for later Grapple tests, relaxing atmosphere at night, food and conditions; forward control buildings, proximity to test; blast wave passing over; Grapple X first British megaton test; comparison of Grapple X and earlier smaller nuclear explosions, scale and size of explosion. [12:52] Remarks on: FR duties after test; development of mushroom cloud after tests; return home from test. [16:20] Anecdote about return home via first Polar route flight from San Francisco, via Thule, [17:10 - phone] conclusion of anecdote. [18:05] Anecdote about flight to Grapple, via luxury flight after an aircraft failure. [20:10] Remarks on return home after Grapple X: relieved to be back home; return to routine work at Aldermaston. Story about FR applying for a more senior post at Harwell CTR group where work on ZETA fusion machine had taken place; wife in favour of him working closer to home; paperwork delays and snow causing FR interview problems; Nobby Clarke offering him promotion at Aldermaston; delay releasing FR from Aldermaston; FR interview with John Mitchell on ZETA project at Harwell in June 1958, where FR impressed him with experience of high level vacuums; FR assignment to build instrumentation for Jim Paul on Spider fast pinch experiment. [27:22] Comments on: equipment FR built for Jim Paul; description of a pinch, a device to create a tightly controlled magnetic field used to control a plasma in a toroid; purpose and description of FR trigger and delay equipment on Jim Paul's Pinch to discharge capacitor banks at correct times, to allow the measurement of the magnetic field. [33:30] Remarks on: value of Aldermaston experiences to FR at Harwell, example of better Aldermaston knowledge of fast pulse technology; FR construction of modular instrument equipment as experiment developed; FR recruitment by engineering then transfer to physics division by 'Bas' Pease, later issues with grading of FR and colleagues; [37:00] electronics division duties and expansion; expectation of move of division to Winfrith, changed to move to Culham instead. [37:55] Description of Harwell site, originally airfield, level of contract between various groups, Hanger 7 housing ZETA, Building 488 housing expansion of experiments connected with CTR group's fast pinch group, transfer of group to Culham.
Interview with technician, Frank Raynor