1939-45 – WORLD WAR II
On Sunday 3rd September 1939, at 11.15 am, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcast to the nation that a state of war existed between Britain and Germany.
With war declared, all telephone circuits, with the exception of one circuit to the USA, were converted to telegraphy for use by the armed services.
Although the Rugby Radio Station was never actually bombed directly during the conflict, it did suffer two major disasters. The first was caused by the exceedingly cold winter of 1940. Freezing temperatures and atmospheric conditions caused a build-up of ice on the station’s Long Wave Aerial, bringing it crashing to the ground.
The second disaster happened on the night of Tuesday 30th March 1943 when the first floor of the main building caught fire. The flames completely destroyed the roof and the large wooden Aerial Tuning Inductor (ATI). The fire also seriously damaged both the GBR and GBT Long Wave Transmitters located in the room below.
Despite problems and hardships, the essential war work continued unabated. From 1943 to 1945, Rugby Radio Station’s 'A' Building played a vital role in Operation CORONA. The task of the radio operatives was to aid British bombers in their raids over Germany. This was done by using the High Power Short Wave (high frequency) Transmitters situated inside 'A' Building to send messages in German (and on their RT frequency), the intention being to mislead German night fighters by spreading misinformation and causing confusion within their defence strategies.