Ex-BBC engineer and Penrith sportsman

Date: Tuesday 10th April 2018

THE death has occurred of retired BBC engineer and former Penrith sportsman Ken Watson, aged 95.

Born and raised in Lincolnshire, Ken planned to study engineering at university, but before he could start to do so was called up to serve in the RAF following the outbreak of the Second World War.

He initially worked as an RAF radio engineer, but later specialised in radar. At one time he served with the famous 617 Squadron — the Dambusters — which was responsible for delivering the bouncing bombs designed by noted engineer and inventor Barnes Wallis at three major reservoirs in Nazi Germany.

After the end of the conflict, Ken left the RAF and went to work as an engineer for the BBC at its Skelton transmitter station.

Over the following few years he played in goal for Penrith Football Club’s first team and kept wicket in the Penrith Cricket Club first XI. He also enjoyed playing badminton, and to a lesser extent tennis.

It was during this period that he met his future wife, Miss Doris Nicholson, of Penrith, and the couple were married in the early 1950s. They went on to have two sons, Brian and John.

The BBC subsequently moved Ken to London, where he and his family made their home at Potters Bar. He took on responsibility for deciding the locations for the new television transmitter masts at that time being erected around the country — including one at Sandale, near Caldbeck, which later became the major radio transmitting station for Cumbria.

He remained very keen on sport, and continued to act as an umpire in cricket matches until about 10 years ago. It was around that time that he and Doris moved to a new home in Oxfordshire.

He is survived by his wife Doris and sons John, who lives in Portugal, and Brian, of Oxfordshire.