Radar and wire­less pi­o­neer and bat­tle­field hero

Don­ald Stan­ley ex­am­ines the life of John Scott-Tag­gart

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

FOR many years a quiet man and his vol­u­ble wife rid­ing their bi­cy­cles through Bea­cons­field, one be­hind the other, were two fa­mil­iar fig­ures. He, John Scott-Tag­gart, had been a pi­o­neer of wire­less and radar, as well as a hero of the bat­tle­field. His wife, El­iz­a­beth, was an artist and sculp­tor.

De­spite be­ing be­low en­list­ment age, John en­listed in the Seaforth High­landers upon the out­break of the First World War.

His tal­ents were quickly recog­nised and he pro­gressed from Sergeant – In­struc­tor of Sig­nalling to In­struc­tor in Wire­less to the First Army of the Western Front in which ca­pac­ity he was awarded the Mil­i­tary Cross for his work dur­ing a crit­i­cal stage of the Ger­man’s last des­per­ate at­tempt in 1918 to break through to the English Chan­nel.

Af­ter the war he spent three years in in­dus­try be­fore found­ing a pub­lish­ing com­pany to pro­duce wire­less jour­nals and such books as ‘How to Make Your Own Broad­cast Re­ceiver’.

Af­ter four years he was able to sell the busi­ness and lead a life of leisure for six years, read­ing for the Bar although he never prac­tised as a Bar­ris­ter, and learn­ing to fly. In 1932 he re­turned to wire­less jour­nal­ism. As Fred­er­ick James Camm had started a wire­less sup­ple­ment to ‘Hob­bies Weekly’, he and John in ‘Pop­u­lar Wire­less’ found them­selves com­pet­ing for the at­ten­tion of the many en­thu­si­asts who con­structed their own ra­dios from de­signs in the two publi­ca­tions.

John’s were distin­guished by their su­pe­rior de­sign and, in many cases, beau­ti­ful wal­nut cab­i­net work.

In the Sec­ond World War the Royal Air Force made John a Wing-Com­man­der and put him in com­mand of radar train­ing.

He be­came re­spon­si­ble for radar sta­tions in most of Eng­land and Wales and sub­se­quently wrote an ac­count of their work and oper­a­tions.

Fol­low­ing the end of the war he spent the re­main­der of his ca­reer in the Ad­mi­ralty Sig­nal and Radar Es­tab­lish­ment but was by no means idle fol­low­ing re­tire­ment in 1959. Un­der his own name he wrote books on Ital­ian tin-glazed maiolica pot­tery which dates from the Re­nais­sance and oth­ers un­der the pseu­do­nym ‘Rod­ney Quest’. The first of these, ‘Count­down to Dooms­day’, was fol­lowed by three mur­der mys­ter­ies. In 1975 he was awarded the OBE.

Mean­while, the oil paint­ings and bronze sculp­tures of El­iz­a­beth, whom he had mar­ried in Amer­sham in 1949, were shown in lo­cal ex­hi­bi­tions and as re­cently as 2014 in auc­tion houses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.