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William James Picken

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William James Picken (c1887-1959) of Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co and the English Electric Valve Co

1959 Obituary [1]

WE have learned with regret of the death, on February 24, at the age of seventy-two, of Mr. W. J. Picken, a former engineer-in-chief of Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd., and since 1953 Technical Consultant to the English Electric Valve Company, Ltd.

Mr. Picken joined Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd., in 1913, and from 1914-18 was engaged with Captain H. J. Round on the direction finding and interception network set up for anti-U-boat operations. He was transferred to the research staff of the Marconi company in 1919 and was engaged on valve development work until 1928, when he was appointed Valve Controller.

In 1935 he became Deputy Engineer-in-Chief and later Engineer-in-Chief, a position with which he combined that of general manager from October, 1938, to 1940.

After liaison work in Canada and the U.S.A. in the early years of the second world war, Mr. Picken, in 1943, was, at the Admiralty's request, seconded to the Department of Scientific Research and Experiment, where he worked with Dr. J. H. E. Griffiths in C.V.D. the department responsible for the development of all valves for defence purposes.

In October, 1946, he retired from the post of Engineer-in-Chief to Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd., and succeeded Dr. Griffiths as Secretary to C. V. D. a post he held with distinction until he retired from Admiralty service in April, 1953. For his work in this capacity he was awarded the O.B.E. in 1950.

Mr. Picken was for many years a member . of the Technical Committee of the British Valve Manufacturers' Association. He became a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1935 and for the 1940-41 session was Chairman of its Wireless Section Committee.

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