Frederick E. Tattershall

Through the last three generations, I, my father and my grandfather have all been employed in high tech professions, father and I have also had high tech leisure interests as well

Granddad was an under aged volunteer at the beginning of the 1914- 18 conflict,
variously known as the Great War, World War I and also the War to end Wars.

I believe he had been an apprentice in the "Press" prier to enlisting and was trained by the Royal Naval Flying Corp., to become radio operator in dirigible airships.(images blimp1 & blimp2)

The dirigibles were hydrogen filled cigar shaped balloons, with a gondola and engine hung below.
The shape was maintained by internal pressure and the cut of the envelope fabric.
The gondola had a machine gun supported on a pivot that allowed it to be pointed in most directions, the crew also had personal side arms.

The role of the airships was as long range recognisance, to detect enemy naval movements in the Atlantic.
This was the only method of getting advanced warning instantly passed back to defenders as radar did not exist and winged aircraft were short ranged, short endurance and fairly low flying.
The airships went on 48 hour missions the crew took packed high energy (but cold) meals along with flasks and bottles of drink. Granddad claims he took cold mutton chops, brown bread, sweet meal biscuits and Horlicks tablets to be washed down with bottled stout and cold tea.
Going 50 miles or more off the Atlantic coast looking for German U boats, with only Morse key contact with base must have been the equivalent of 1960's manned space flights.

He was awarded the distinguished flying medal for saving another crew members life when they were downed in the sea. (I don't know whether they were downed by enemy action, weather or for some other reason). He was hospitalised with stomach wounds. The first Grandma (fiancée/wife?)

knew of the medal was an article in the local paper. Granddad always insisted it was for being consistently first in the beer queue, a plausible explanation as in middle age he would drink six pints of Guinness a night and chain smoke forty cigarettes a work shift. The smoking habit was especially strange as grandma always had a weak heart and lungs so granddad never smoked at home.

After WWI Granddad went back to the national news papers as radio/telegraph operator (images shack1 & shack2) He claimed he and some friends had a "past the post" betting scam going using radio Morse to inform cross country, they avoided detection partly on the basis that they could recognise the "touch" of other operators and could therefore exchange info. without call signs or other id.

Later 1940's ? he worked early telephoto printers (fore runner of image fax) for transmitting pictures by telephone or radio. (image t-photo)

 Over all Granddad was effectively into e-mail with attachments before most of us were born.


Back of  Airship photo

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