Correspondence of a radio enthusiast and spy, 1938-2001

Cyril Fairchild at Ditchling Beacon, 1939
Cyril Fairchild's blank QSL card, showing the Royal Pavilion
Contributed to Letter in the Attic by Beryl Payne and Hazel Fairchild
Certificate giving Cyril Fairchild the freedom of Bletchley Park, 2001
Contibuted to Letter in the Attic by Beryl Payne and Cyril Fairchild

Born in 1916, Cyril Thomas Fairchild  was an amateur radio enthusiast and became a Voluntary Interceptor when the Radio Security Service (RSS) was set up prior to the start of the Second World War. At the time, he was living at 1A Dover Road, Brighton.

When war broke out, he was invited to join the unit at Arkley that intercepted enemy messages in morse and sent them to Bletchley for decoding. After the war he was employed as an electrical maintenance and installation engineer for Adams Bros. and Broadbridge in Trafalgar Street, Brighton.  He continued to be a radio enthusiast and was featured in the local papers due to his contact with a radio ham in the Falklands at the start of the Falklands War.

Papers relating to Cyril’s work both in and after the Second World War, were contributed to Letter in the Attic by his daughters, Beryl Payne and Hazel Fairchild.

Want to know more?

View this entry on the Letter in the Attic online catalogue.

Explore the full catalogue

Visit the home page of the Letter in the Attic project

Comments about this page

  • I remember Cyril as he worked for my father at Adams Bros & Broadbridge.  He was a very good electrician and my father relied on him a lot.

    By Minty Samways (09/03/2016)
  • We live at 1a Dover Road now, so it’s fascinating to know such an interesting figure shared these same walls before us.

    By Emily (10/11/2017)
  • I find this article so interesting. I will read the letters with relish. Bletchley Park must have been buzzing all day and night in the war days, I would have loved to have been able to listen in. The transmissions were mainly in Morse code, a skill which I dabbled in when I was a member of the ATC in Brighton in the ’50s, but never a fast enough learner to get to grips with it. I am amazed at how clever it is to be able to listen to Morse and just write it down. There are still lots of transmissions in Morse code today. I am a shortwave listener and have been for years, there is not as much HF today as there used to be. It is interesting just listen in to amateur radio and hear the enthusiasts speaking about this new bit of equipment or that new contact they had on the other side of the world, so enthralling. I have a fairly good radio and I listen to shortwave quite a lot. From where I live on the Romney Marsh close to Dungeness, I can receive broadcasts from most of south and north America, I especially love listening to Radio Havana in the early hours, you can feel the warmth from the happy music. I hear many amateur transmissions on Side Band as well. I dabble a lot in making my own simple antennas which work surprisingly well over a very long distance. Just a wire in the sky as they say. I also have a radio which receives VHF and UHF. From my place I can listen as far west as Beachy Head and as far east to the north sea, and across the channel to France and the low countries. I am lucky where I live as most of the transmissions are line of sight and my part of the country sticks out into the channel. I listen to the Coastguard quite a lot, that is very interesting. The is a coastguard helicopter based at Lydd airport. The Air band is interesting as well and I can receive transmissions from well over 100 miles away. I was lucky some months ago to be listening on the Air band and heard Air Force One transmitting to London Heathrow. President Obama was on board having just been to a funeral in the middle east somewhere. I am getting carried away here. I have nothing but admiration for the letters and what they meant, and still mean to any radio enthusiast.

    By Mick Peirson (11/11/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *