05:21PM, Monday 11 November 2019
Laurie Hinton (Photo ref: 132095-5)
A Windsor war veteran who worked at a top secret research establishment during the Second World War has spoken about his role in a new book.
Laurie Hinton, from Maidenhead Road in Windsor, joined the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) in 1943 when he was just 20 years old.
TRE was the UK’s main research and development organisation for radar, radio-navigation and infra-red detection.
The importance of radar scientists in securing the Allies’ success in the Second World War has been immortalised in Damien Lewis’ book SAS: Shadow Raiders, which centres on Operation Biting in 1942.
During this operation a German radar dish was seized and taken back to Malvern, Worcestershire. Mr Hinton’s work built on information gained from this capture.
“The work we did was very important,” the 96-year-old explained. “It allowed the British to distinguish German developments on the ground, we were able to detect different systems.”
Radar played an important role in the D-Day landings in 1944 when it was used to mislead the Germans into thinking there was a ghost fleet elsewhere.
“Secrecy was a primary,” said Mr Hinton.
“You didn’t talk to your wife or your husband about what you were doing.
“We were working on a development of radar, details of which would have been very valued by the enemy if they were to get hold of this information.”
CP Snow, the English novelist and chemist, was responsible for recruiting individuals to join the TRE and travelled to universities across the country to find suitable students.
Mr Hinton, who studied electrical engineering at Imperial College London, said he ‘didn’t have much option’ about joining the organisation.
“I was drafted,” he said. “I was directed in my university course to work on particular subjects.”
These subjects would be useful to the war effort and, upon selection, he was only able to tell his parents about his new role.
“I knew I was going to Malvern because I had a ticket in my hand which said Great Malvern Station and I was told to pack a small suitcase with overnight clothes,” he said.
This secrecy was extended to people working at the base in Malvern.
“If you were working in one room, you didn’t know what people were doing in the next room,” Mr Hinton revealed.
He remained in Malvern until 1949 and moved to Windsor with his family in the 1960s.
Damien Lewis: SAS Shadow Raiders retails at £20.
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