Kenneth Wrigley (1922-2007)

Kenneth Wrigley Stone
Kenneth Wrigley
Kenneth Wrigley

At seventeen, my father, selected from Manchester Grammar School, joined the Air  Ministry  Experimental  Stations responsible for the Chain Home Radar and ‘top secret’ Type 100 projects which enabled the Battle of Britain to be won. Their work on Radar remained unrevealed until well after the war, even up to the present day where aspects are still used in modern aviation. Secrets in those years were well kept, so much so that my father told me he felt Radar personnel had been forgotten and he often wondered whether he had contributed to the war effort at all. He had an undying regard for his friends who fought in physical combat on the front lines.

The Chain Home teams had to climb extraordinarily high Radar masts. He confessed to shutting his eyes frequently during the process, feeling terrified and quite faint while his friend raced to the top of the structures waving wildly in glee, making him decidedly ill.

When it came to Mathematical problems, my father feared none. The more complex and difficult, the more he thrived. A mental gymnast, he was typically British, self deprecating with a wonderful sense of humour and duty, duty,duty, so characteristic, so admirable of the war generation. What had to be done was done whatever was felt. In this capacity he was Involved with Bomber Command perfecting target accuracy in an attempt to limit numbers of civilian casualties.

He always maintained the Radar Division appeared to have no military head. However, coming under the RAF, The Radar personnel adopted Air Chief Marshall Dowding as their superior and my father held him in high esteem.

After the war he lived in Central Africa for a number of years teaching at local schools and colleges. How difficult he found adapting to the ordinary life I shall never know. It was just another secret he kept. He was particularly outstanding with special needs children having infinite patience with anyone who was willing to learn or showed a curiosity for understanding concepts. He wrote a Mathematics tome and gained two PhDs, eventually lecturing part-time at Exeter university.

In his retirement Chess kept him fascinated, long walks were a daily exercise and ‘egg and chips’ at a greasy spoon made him happy. Humble, intense, very protective and supportive of his children, when he passed away I felt as if the rock behind me sank beneath the sea, but…he walks beside me still…

Alison Dos Santos ( neé Wrigley)(eldest daughter)


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