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GCI and IFF radar

Heroes Remember

From there I was posted for a quick course on what was then a fairly new development in ground radar called GCI, Ground Control Interception and this was for picking up enemy aircraft, bombers coming in at night and also picking up on our own fighters who were sent up to bring them down. Our own fighters had what was called IFF, Identification Friend or Foe, which was a particular signal that they sent out so we could tell which blip on our screen was enemy and which was friend. And then they had controllers who were mostly experienced pilots who would sit at the tube and could talk directly to the pilot of the fighter plane and guide him so that he could get up behind the incoming bomber and get close enough that he could switch on his own, which was called then AI, Airborne Interception, which was short range radar carried in the nose of the night fighter and once he got locked in on that then our contact with the fighter up there was stopped completely and we just sat and watched the two blips coming closer together and hopefully they would fuse, there would be one blip and then there would be one little blip would drop out of the picture and the other would come back on again saying he got him. I was posted to a brand new GCI which was being put up on the coast, the North Sea coast between Hartlepool which was quite a big ship building center and Middlesbrough where there was a big imperial chemical industries plant making a lot, I guess munitions and this sort of stuff and chemicals for warfare so we provided the GCI cover for those two centers, target areas.

Mr. Beall describes learning about GCI (Ground Control Interception) and IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) radar systems, and explains their respective functions and interaction in detail.

Herbert Beall

Herbert Beall was born in 1908 in Ottawa, Ontario. He attended Lisgard Collegiate, where he commanded the 94th Cadet Battalion, and also joined the Governor-General's Footguards. He entered the Canadian Officer Training Corps at university, and received his commission in 1931. In 1932, Mr. Beall joined the Royal Canadian Signal Corps. In February, 1941 he transferred to the RCAF as a Flying Officer with the rank of Lieutenant. His service in England saw him at radar stations in the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Wight. He later went to the Middle East, where he set up and maintained portable radar systems in Egypt, and to a lesser extent Kuwait and Jordan.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 8, 1999
Person Interviewed:
Herbert Beall
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Atlantic Ocean
Air Force
Squadron Leader
Radar Mechanic

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