Memorial unveiled for pioneering British engineer Alan Dower Blumlein and the scientists and RAF personnel who lost their lives testing airborne radar during World War II

We are proud to announce the unveiling of this new memorial to eleven unsung war heroes, including the inventor of stereo recording, Alan Dower Blumlein, who lost their lives testing airborne radar in 1942.  Blumlein, with 128 patents to his name at only 39 years of age, was a tragic loss to his young family and to Britain.

Welsh Bicknor, England, June 10, 2019 — Yesterday, almost 77 years to the day, eleven families gathered on the banks of the River Wye to unveil a memorial stone in honour of their relatives who lost their lives when the Halifax aircraft, in which they were testing their top-secret World War II invention, airborne radar, crashed.

Blessing: Priest, David Scaysbrook, Mike Philips, Simon and David Blumlein. Photographer: Martin Humby

The eleven men, commemorated on the memorial, included scientists from EMI and the Telecommunications Research Establishment, and their RAF pilots and flight engineers. The tragedy took place during the final flight to demonstrate the success of the revolutionary magnetron powered H2S radar which, with other radar systems based on the magnetron, would go on to help the Allies win the war by improving bombing accuracy and the ability to detect surfaced U-Boats in the Atlantic.

L-R Mike Philips (son of co-pilot), Garth Lawson, David Scaysbrook (Blumlein aficionado), David and Simon Blumlein and Judith Lovell (daughter of Sir Bernhard Lovell, the lead scientist who was back at base and travelled immediately to the crash site) Photographer: Martin Humby

The scientists included an unknown British genius, the EMI engineer, Alan Dower Blumlein, one of the most prolific inventors of the twentieth century who transformed the worlds of audio and recording technology with his ground-breaking microphones and the invention of stereo recording. His research and inventions across the fields of television and radio are still relevant and active today. The incredibly innovative engineer filed 128 patents in the space of 13 years, and all by the age of 39.

The private ceremony took place at the scene of the devastating accident on Mr Jerome Vaughan’s historic Courtfield Estate. The memorial was championed by Garth Lawson, the walks correspondent for the Hereford Times, who was determined that a stone should be laid in this area of outstanding natural beauty to honour the un-sung war heroes.

Simon Blumlein, Alan Dower Blumlein’s son spoke of the ceremony: “It was an honour to celebrate my Father and his extraordinary colleagues today, for my family and I to stand alongside those who also lost their loved ones was deeply moving. My Mother understood the beauty of this resting place, today we thank Garth Lawson for his vision to place a lasting memorial here, and Jerome Vaughan for his gracious support.”

David & Simon Blumlein, sons of Alan Dower Blumlein at the memorial with his gold watch from EMI.  Photographer: Martin Humby

The Blumlein family worked closely with Mr Lawson in planning the memorial, and were supported by the EMI Archive Trust, home to much of Blumleim’s work, inventions and artefacts, which made a donation to ensure that the memorial could be crafted from beautiful local stone.

Caryn Tomlinson, Chair of the EMI Archive Trust added: “A permanent memorial to Alan Dower Blumlein, his fellow scientists and the RAF personnel who lost their lives helping the Allies, is of great importance.  These men have long remained un-sung war heroes due to the secrecy of their invention.  Their work had a direct impact on the outcome of World War II, making yesterday’s ceremony another key step in the long journey to shine a light on the role they played in our history.”

Garth Lawson’s Hereford Times Walk to the site HERE

The names of those who lost their lives in the tragic crash on the 7th of June 1942, are as follows:


Blumlein A.D; Blythen F and Browne C.O.

Telecommunications Research Establishment:

Hensby G.S; Sansom R.J and Vincent C.E.

Royal Air Force:

Berrington D.J.D; Bicknell B.C.F; Dear B.D.G; Millar G and Phillips A.M.

Photographer credit: Martin Humby including feature photograph: L- R John Strong & Barrie Goode Manu Forti (Herefordshire) Buglers.

With sincere thanks to Garth Lawson and John Wilson