A very warm welcome to the first Royal Navy Communications Branch Museum/Library website.



 

  As most of you will know, HMS MERCURY closed in 1993 and moved from Leydene into HMS COLLINGWOOD.  Sadly at that time there was no dedicated space to display all the exhibits and consequently all the items were stored in various small store rooms, cupboards etc.  The late Chris Rickard, did a sterling job in keeping tabs on it all but often said that he wished we had a dedicated Museum/Library.

 

  On Chris's passing a concerted effort by Mark Gentry and Bob Ratcliffe  managed to identify a room within MERCURY Building (F15 - some of you will remember this as the RCP (Radio Communications Principles) classroom) and in June 2014 all the exibits were brought together under one roof.  It was only fitting that the Museum/Library should be dedicated to Chris's memory.

 

  On taking over as Curator in January 2015 there were three main tasks to achieve.  The first  was to document and catalogue all the books, documents (which run into the thousands) and photographs,  After 3 years this task is still on going and it will be several years before the job is complete.    The second, was to solve the problem of the Museum/Library not being open to the public.  Although visits can be arranged (but only after the necessary paper work has been raised) it is still very difficult to open the Museum/Library to visitors on a weekend (building security issues with keys etc).  Therefore, it has been decided to use social media (Facebook - HMS MERCURY FRIENDS and ROYAL NAVY COMMUNICATORS groups) as a start and then with this website.

 

  The final task was to enhance the 'sparker' side of the exhibits.  To this end we have already had the following donations : 12 TGNs (Siemens T1000 Teleprinters), 10 of which were donated by Mick Rose in Collingwood, and 2 by the XO of HMS Bristol), a B40C receiver (donated by Robin Wickenden) which has been refurbished and is being used to provide an off-line 50 Baud RATT Weather Broadcast, fed to a FAZ (donated by the Collingwood Historic Equipment Museum), the output of which is fed to the TTT/TGNs, a B41 receiver (now repaired but requires a complete alignment), donated by Les Langridge , a complete 643/CJP outfit (including a dummy load and ATU) donated by Marc Pether, CO Kettering Sea Cadet Unit, a TTT, and a Clansman 344 and 320.  Eight of the 12 TGN's have been refurbished and set to work (two of which, with a TTVF(B) and SUR were transferred to HMS OCELOT in Chatham dockyard). The CJP is now up and running, providing an off-line RATT signal to feed the TTT and TGNs.  With the provision of two laptops we can now also feed a simulated B11A broadcast to the TTT. 

  I must give a big thank you to the guys who run the Collingwood museum, especially Adrian Wright who has been instrumental in providing the "Greenie" expertise, for their help in bringing the equipment back to life.  If you are interested in old Communications Equipment then I would recommend visiting   Also a big thank you to Danny Streather of IT Computers, Ian Stirton-Smith and Jan Leathard for the donation of the computers to run the simulated Broadcast and the database on.

  All credit for the images/photographs on this site goes to the original photographers.  I would ask that if you download any image for publication elsewhere, then please accompany it with a mention of this site.

 

  Finally a plea, if you come across anything that you think may be worthwhile putting in the museum then please get in touch.  I am especially keen to find - photographs pre 1970s, especially Mercury Course photographs, any radio equipment especially a 6S6 autohead, any type of Creed teleprinter, terminal equipment (e.g. TTVF(B) and TTVF(T)),  B40(D) to provide an FSK facility, etc.

Ken Sutton
Curator
Last updated 1 Feb 2018