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Author Topic: William George Penney  (Read 12556 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2016, 22:55:11 »
Photo: Imperial War Museums

IWM (GOV 5636) A scene from the British Ministry of Supply film "Operation Hurricane", made during the Monte Bello atomic experiment. Sir William Penney, the scientific director in charge of the explosion, watches through binoculars the effect which developed after the initial flash. With him on the deck of the aircraft carrier HMS CAMPANIA is Rear Admiral A D Torlesse, Commander of the Naval Forces on the test.

The film referred to above "Operation Hurricane" is available to watch online @ http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060022141. 32 minutes.
The film opens at Fort Halstead, moves on to Chatham, then to the Montebello Islands off north-west Australia.

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2016, 16:54:58 »
And a different version of the same incident:

Alistair Horne. 1988. Macmillan - the Official Biography. London, MacMillan, 2008 reprint. P. 888.

"MacMillan ... amused the Americans by imitating to perfection the Cockney accent of the eminent nuclear physicist Sir William Penney ... I'll 'ave another gin and tonic ..."

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2016, 14:07:07 »
.... the tale re his accent was published in a lot of journals even Techical journals ....

I just stumbled on this. Arthur Schlesinger (1965, A Thousand Days, Houghton-Mifflin, 2002 reprint, p. 491), at a meeting between UK Prime Minister MacMillan and US President Kennedy on Bermuda, refers to William Penney as "Australian":

"Someone asked Sir William Penney, the Australian physicist who was serving as MacMillan's scientific adviser, how many bombs it would take to destroy his country. Penney replied in his broad accent, 'If you are talking about Australia, it would take twelve. If you are talking about Britain, it would take five or six, but, to be on the safe side, let us say seven or eight, and' - without a change in tone - 'I'll have another gin and tonic if you would be so kind"

That comment persuaded M and K to go for a disarmament treaty.

But I mention it here as a comment on Dr Penney's accent.

Offline Kyalien

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2016, 01:50:11 »
My father, Leslie Wallace Longhurst, was born in Minster and grew up in Sheerness. He passed some six years ago. I never visited The Isle of Sheppey until 2015 when on a trip my brother, my sister and I took the trip to scatter my father`s ashes. A complete comedy of errors best saved for another post, and one that we could all see the funny side of things as soon as they happened.

I digress.

Upon our visit, my sister mentions that a family member was instrumental in raising the clock in the centre of town. Expecting to hear the surname Longhurst, she mentions a Penney. My sister then tells the story of how we are related to the Penney's through Emma Jane Penney, born 1835. Emma Jane married George Foreman (1831 - 1871). They had a daughter Emma Foreman (1865 - 1942), my great grandmother. She married William Newcastle Wallace (1865 - 1924). Their daughter, Florence Wallace (1899 - 1973), was my paternal grandmother and she married William Longhurst, who I believed died in 1967.

I know that my grandfather ran `The Goat` in Sheerness at one time and `The Jolly Sailor` in Blue Town.

Rummaging through the cemetery there at Sheerness, we found a lot of Penney's before finding the Longhurst and Wallace graves.

Again, I digress.

I recently came across the name William Penney, Baron Penney after researching this day in history on Wikipedia. I saw he was associated with Sheerness and Minster and wondered if we may be related somehow.

My genealogy skills leave much to be desired, my sister does all that work, but I wondered if anyone has any information on William George Penney's ancestors.

Offline CDP

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2011, 19:34:40 »
There were quite a lot of Sheerness boys/girls who were at school with Bill (as he liked to be called) and the tale re his accent was published in a lot of journals even Techical journals.
With regard to the Hut, I am not sure where or what this was, apart from being in Rushenden. It also mentions The Hut when Dr.W.G Penney was an Air Raid Warden at that place.
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2011, 00:17:18 »
CDP, great story.

My mother was born the same year and claimed she was at school with William Penney at Sheerness, presumably before he started at the tech. There must be many local people claiming to be contemporary with him.

What is, or was, the hut at Rushenden? The only one I recall was the British Legion hut behind the Settle Speakman offices beside the derelict site of the abandoned Medway Glass Works, and it was indeed just referred to as "The Hut". I remember it as a hall used for social events, but not as living quarters.

I like the story of his Sheppey accent. Do you have a source for this, or is it local lore?


Offline CDP

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2011, 20:00:01 »

This is Lord William Penney i/c Britans atom bomb program showing The Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan , how it all  works .
It was suggested by the P.Ms advisers that Lord Penney should ask his team to answer  any questions as the P.M would not be able to understand the Sheppey Accent

Lord Penney is the one with glasses on, standing behind the P.M.

The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline CDP

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2010, 14:30:17 »
 
 
BARON  PENNEY
 
24th June 1909 -  March 3rd 1991
Lord William George Penney of East Hendred. O.M ( Order of Merit ) ,  K.B.E. (Knight of the British Empire ), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy),D.Sc.(Doctor of Science ), F.R.S (Fellow of the Royal Society )  
 
He originally lived in The Hut at Rushenden and first wife was Adele Minnie Elms from Queenborough married 1935 she died 1944 . They had two children , he then married Eleanor Joan Quinell from Brentwood Essex no issue. (His sister married Leslie Norman Hogan from Scarborough Drive Minster ). His coat of armswas the first of the Arms to consist of modern day symbols , Electrons etc. He was born in Gibraltar where his father William  Alfred Penney was born Jan 23rd 1881 ,and he  died Sept 24th 1979 (aged 98)at Blair Park Sittingbourne, he  was a Sergeant in the Army Ordnance Corp and his father was George Penney a joiner/shipwright  born 1848  in Sheerness ,he  died 1925 aged 75.  Lord Penney ( he always preferred to be called Bill) was educated at Sheerness Technical School ,Imperial College London (B.Sc with 1st class honours at age 20) then University of Wisconsin  for his Masters  Degree (1931-1933) then  to Trinity College Cambridge for his Ph.D. (1933-1936)  .he then returned to Imperial College London as Assistant  Professor  of Mathemetics (1936-1945). Scientific work for Ministry of Home Security and Admiralty( 1940-1944). Department of  Scientific and Industrial Research at  LosAlmos Laboratory , New Mexico (1944-1945 ),Chief Superintendent  Armament Research Ministry of Supply (1946- 1952) .Fellow of the Royal Society 1946 , O.B.E.,1946.  Knighted 1952, Director of  Atomic Weapons Research Establishment  Aldermaston 1953- 1959. Member for Weapons R.& D 1954- 1959. Treasurer for The Royal Society 1956- 1960.  Vice President 1957- 1960. Member for Research U.K Atomic Energy Authority 1951-1961. Deputy Chairman 1961- 1964. Chairman 1964- 1967. Created Baron Penney 1967..Rector of Imperial College 1967- 1973 F.R.S. (Edingburgh). For services to the United States he was one of the first recipients of the United States Medal of Freedom awarded by the President . etc etc. etc.

William George Penney was a British physicist who was responsible for the development  of British nuclear technology .A mathematician by training , he became an expert on wave dynamics.He was one of the worlds leading authorities on the effects of nuclear weapons . During  the early years of World War 2, he was loaned out to the  Home Office and the Admiralty. He designed and supervised the development of  the Mulberry harbours that would be placed  off the Normandy Beaches during the D-Day Invasion. In 1943 he was released from his duties at Imperial College to work on the Tube Alloys Project. And shortly before D-Day  he returned to America  to work at Los Alamos as part of the British delegation  to the Manhattan Project. On the Manhattan Project Bill Penney worked on the use of the Atomic Bomb , its effect and in particular the height at which it should be detonated. He quickly gained recognition for his varied talents , his leadership qualities and his ability to work in harmony with others. In July of 1946 he was invited to be present at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and wrote the after action reports on the effects of the two A-Bomb detonations His reputation was further advanced when , after  the sophisticated test apparatus of the Americans failed, he was able to  determine the blast power using observations from his specially placed piles of discarded oil drums. The first British nuclear bomb test ,Operation Hurricane , conducted 3rd October 1952 off the west coast of Australia  in the Monte Bell Islands was organised and directed by William Penney. And was 10 times greater than the first U.S. nuclear fission weapon. W.G.Penney also served on the Target Committee which met in April and May 1945 to select the Japanese cities upon which to drop the Atomic Bombs and he was an observer  at the 16th July bomb test at Trinity site  in New Mexico and on 9th August 1945 he witnessed the bombing of Nagasaki from one of the observation planes that accompanied the Nagasaki mission bomber ENOLA GAY. He was a member of the U.S. team of military and scientific analysts  who entered the rubble of Hiroshima to assess the effects of the Atomic Bomb  of August 6th 1945 .After completion of the Bikini tests Dr. Penney retur
ned to England to undertake development of the first Atomic Bomb

In January 1947 Clement Attlee appointed him Chief Superintendent of Armament  Research and placed him in charge of designing , producing  , and testing the British A-Bomb. Imperial College built and named the William Penney Laboratory after him.
 
 ( Mainly  taken fron Wikipedia , the free  enclycopedia )
 
On one of my visits to Blair Park to see Bill's father William Alfred  he was very upset  as he had  received   letters from people who called him nasty rude names for having a nasty son who helped to kill and main thousands of Japanese people. In the early days at the Technical School  prior to 1960 when Mr Harrap was the Head  Sir William  came to the school  for Prizegiving and presented the Prizes to the boys  with a few kind words of encouragement. Tony Clenaghen was also a lab assistant at the same time as Bill Penney and tells the tale that in either the Chemistry Laboratory or in Room 7 at the top of the main staircase  I forget which , there was a chimney that led to the roof and Bill managed to climb  inside this funnel to the top and sign his name - this was a very difficult thing to do and over the years only a few boys  were able to follow his example.

When the school was being demolished ( shame !!) I tried to find this signature but I was too late , it  was lost among the rubbish. Tony went off to one University and Bill went to a different one

Sheerness Times Guardian in September 1939 lists
PENNEY  W.G           (DR)                THE HUT  

When the Prime Minister Macmillan visited the Atomic Center  it was suggested that when asked a question by the P.M it  should be answered by another member of the team as perhaps the P.M would not understand the Sheppey Accent . Bill's father William Alfred was  the Master of the Sheerness  De Shurland Lodge Of Freemasons and on his death Bill gave his fathers Masonic Jewels  back to the Lodge to be passed on to another Master. This was appreciated by the members of the Lodge.
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline busyglen

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2010, 14:40:40 »
Hi, CDP

Welcome to the forum, nice to see you visiting. :)  Hope you are well?

Busyglen
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline CDP

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2010, 22:00:41 »
yes it is .lord ( Baron)W.G.Penney and I have the same gggfather
colin penney
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline conan

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2010, 12:45:24 »
Is this the William Penney of atom bomb fame.I ask as I remember his name up on the honours board at the tech school in sheerness.
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline ellenkate

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2010, 20:34:44 »

I have exchanged information with Colin Penney re Sheerness people.

Yes, the Heir Hunters is a fascinating programme.  All those people who don't make wills and their money goes to the government!   I think they said that, if relatives as distant as First Cousins can be traced as next of kin they can inherit and share what is left, but more distant relatives are not considered for inheritance.   And it costs such a lot more money to organise the probate if there is not a legal will left, even if there are known relatives.

Ellenkate
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I'm Lincolnshire born and bred

Offline busyglen

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2010, 15:59:28 »
Thanks for putting me straight.   Something else I've learnt on this forum.  :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline sheppey_bottles

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2010, 18:41:50 »
When I said they are marked or impressed Sheerness what I am refering to is the company who sold the beverages town name and not the maker of the bottle or flask. For example.. Hero mineral water company of Sheerness Sheppey is the retailer (item would be marked as such) and the container itself made by Doulton Lambeth etc.SB.

Offline busyglen

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Re: William George Penney
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2010, 18:36:56 »
Colin..lovely chap...he put me in touch with a couple renovating a house in Portsmouth who had found a stoneware flask under their floorboards. It came from 'The Swan Inn' Blue Town. It is now back home on Sheppey in safe hands. Cheers Colin.Ps, One day no doubt it will go to a local museum.

Liitle note here.. Even though a number of Flagons bottles and flasks (1830's onwards) originate from 'Blue Town' they are all marked or impressed 'Sheerness'

I was going to say that perhaps they were fired in Sheerness, but then realised you would know more about that than I would. ;)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

 

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