Members of West Kent ARS and invited guests celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Society on Saturday the 19th of May. Among those attending was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Cllr. Julia Soyke, who was a special guest at a gala dinner held at the Spa Hotel in Tunbridge Wells, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the West Kent Amateur Radio Society.
In addition, Mr John Gould G3WKL who is a past President of the Radio Society of Great Britain RSGB, was also present and gave an address following that from the Mayor, recalling his earlier days as a young boy and having been a member of the Society back in the 60’s, he was able to recall many of the founding members.
From copies of the Wireless World magazine, the Society has discovered that a Tunbridge Wells and District Wireless Society was formed, under the leadership of Mr. H. Featherstone AMIEE on the 14th of April 1921, but this appeared to cease in the run up to WWII and the rescinding of amateur radio licences by the Post Office during the time of war.
The current Society was formed after the war in 1948, and a key figure who became President at the inaugural meeting and remained in that post for 21 years, was Mr Bert Allen MBE, G2UJ who lived in Tunbridge Wells.
Bert was a very active radio operator, designer and builder of radio equipment and wrote many technical articles for the RSGB magazine. Other founding members at that inaugural meeting in 1948, included Laurie King G4IB and Frank Barnard G4FB, both of whom were very active in directing the society’s activities in the early years.