How friendly fire during Second World War triggered the slow death of the pound in your pocket

Telegraph 09 Oct 2019 07:26

On Sept 6 1939, just three days after the declaration of war, a squadron of Hurricanes was scrambled from North Weald, Essex. Soon after, two reserves followed. But somehow, once aloft this pair were mistakenly identified as enemy aircraft.

Spitfires took off from Hornchurch and shot them down. Frank Rose survived. But Montague Hulton-Harrop, the other pilot, died, becoming the first British fighter pilot to lose his life in the Second World War – killed by friendly fire.

The Battle of Barking Creek, as it became known, intensified a secret project to develop a refinement that would allow radar operators to sort the anonymous dots on their screens into friendly and enemy craft.

Under the leadership of Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, radar’s creator, a transmitter was built into Allied aircraft which broadcast a certain signal back, proclaiming it friendly. It became known as Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID.

Exactly 80 years on, it is now clear that the Battle of Barking Creek had another victim – a victim Watson-Watt could never have anticipated. Cash.

Continue reading original article...


Barking CreekMichael RolphJoint Authorities Cash Strategy GroupRobert Alexander Watson-WattNorth Weald