View Full Version : Ship Detectives required, First voice comms in RN

02-06-2008, 19:23

I am having a look at the fitting of the 'Poulson Wireless Set' which was the Royal Navy's first voice communication system. It was fitted in these four ships in November 1914 and they plus maybe others and land based sets were used to form a chain of communications down the Atlantic to Admiral Sturdee's Fleet, hunting Admiral Graf Spee's ships.

The Detective part is 'what did the aerial fit look like', it was a continuous wave system so I suspect quite long and possibly horizontal between masts.

The only way I can think of finding out is photos before Nov 1914 and afterwards.

The four ships a. HMS Vindictive b. HMS Invincible c. HMS Princess Royal d. HMS Berwick

Can anyone help solve this or maybe just knows.

Regards Charles

02-06-2008, 19:44
The Vindictive, It might help?

02-06-2008, 19:48
Invincible and Berwick..

02-06-2008, 20:27

Thank you, what date would you say for HMS Vindictive, it has a wireless fit.

Regards Charles

02-06-2008, 21:34
Here are afew more for you Charles.

Regards, Bob.

02-06-2008, 21:40
Bob, I did request on an earlier thread if you could enlarge your scans up to 1280 pixels wide, rather than than 900 - 1024 pixels. Did you manage to see it ?

02-06-2008, 22:43

Thank you, I am seeing a difference, I think the aerial is on the topmost yard going forward to aft between the masts. It also looks like some photos have had them 'airbrushed' or whatever they did in them days?. It may be a bit much after your kindness Bob could you close any of the dates down. HMS Berwick 1912-13 is a good benchmark.

Regards Charles

HMS Bergamot
05-06-2008, 07:03
In a time when top masts were large, Vindictive's were huge! She was an experimental wireless ship, and during the Battle of the Falklands (dec 1914) she was sent to wallow in mid Atlantic so that the Admiralty could keep in touch with Sturdee in Invincible.

Would very tall top masts be an indication of your device?


05-06-2008, 07:44
Charles, I don't think the pictures have been "doctored;" it is a twofold problem of whether the aerial was there or whether the light was right for it to show up.

I suspect that most of the pictures were from before the fitting of the aerial.

05-06-2008, 08:02

You ar maybe right the other thought is that the top of the masts are out of focus. the far right Photo of HMS Invincible looks like it has the fit for the poulson, but sadly no date.

Regards Charles

06-06-2008, 00:46
Charles, according to the OH the Defence was waiting at Abrolhos Rocks on 26 November 1914 to transfer to the Invincible the Poulsen wireless gear with which she had been fitted. The Invincible arrived that day. As a link the Vindictve, similarly fitted, was on her way to Ascension. Having rigged the Poulsen gear Sturdee left on the 28th.

I agree the far right Invincible pic shows the aerial setup so I think it must have been taken post Falklands.

06-06-2008, 06:24
David, thank you for that, if you come across any snippets, reference any more of the ships in the communications chain down the Atlantic I would be grateful.

Regards Charles