BBC gelligroesmill,PIC

Arthur Moore (1887 – 20 January 1949) was born in Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, Monmouthshire, the eldest son of local miller, William Moore.
By the age of ten, Moore had developed an interest in amateur engineering and in his early teenage years, using a hand made lathe driven by the water-wheel at the mill, he built a working model of a horizontal steam engine. On entering a competition in The Model Engineer magazine he received as his prize a book by Sir Oliver Lodge entitled, Modern Views Of Magnetism And Electricity, which awakened his interest in wireless.
He soon began erecting wire aerials and building his rudimentary radio station, consisting of a coherer-based receiver and a spark-gap transmitter. It was his engineering talent that enabled him to store electricity in his batteries via a generator coupled to the mill wheel itself. The same generator was also used to charge batteries for the local farms that were at that time not connected to the mains supply.
Using the contemporary although basic spark-gap transmitter technology of the time, Moore together with his friend Richard Jenkins, an electrical engineer at the local coal mine, made what was probably the first use in Wales of amateur wireless for business purposes. Having set up a second transmitting and receiving station at Ty Llwyd farm, owned by Jenkins’s father which was located approximately three and a half miles south of Gelligroes at Ynysddu in the direction of Newport, Moore received an order over the air for grain to be delivered from the mill to the farm.
In the early hours of 15 April 1912, in the loft of the 17th century Gelligroes Mill, 26 year old Moore received a faint signal in Morse Code:
“CQD CQD SOS de MGY Position 41.44N 50.24W. Require immediate assistance. Come at once. We have struck an iceberg. Sinking….We are putting the women off in the boats…..” Moore continued to copy out the Morse signals he was receiving: “We are putting the passengers off in small boats” “Women and children in boats, cannot last much longer…..”
Then came the final signal: “Come as quickly as possible old man; our engine-room is filling up to the boilers.” Moore relayed the news to the locals and to the local constabulary, who did not believe him. Two days later, the locals received confirmation through the local and national press that it was true. The newspapers also confirmed – as Moore had claimed—that the new “SOS” distress signal had been used by the Titanic’s radio operators along with the usual “CQD” signal, thus proving that Moore had indeed received the signals from the doomed liner.
At the time it was understood that the range of the Titanic’s wireless was 400 miles in daylight, and possibly up to 2000 miles in darkness. It now became clear that Moore had received radio waves from 3000 miles using nothing more than his own crude home-made equipment.
In the summer of 1912, Moore’s activities and the publicity surrounding him following the Titanic disaster soon led to him coming to the attention of the then Monmouthshire Education Committee, who offered him a scholarship to the British School of Telegraphy in Clapham, London, so he left to embark on his studies in the world of science and wireless communication.
Moore’s achievements came to the attention of Guglielmo Marconi, the “father of wireless” himself after a local resident wrote to Marconi to inform him of Moore’s achievement. Marconi then came to Gelligroes to meet Moore and to discuss his work and his experiments, and he invited Moore to join the Marconi Company as a draughtsman.
By 1914, Moore was transferred to the Ship Equipment Department of the Marconi Company, and on the outbreak of the First World War he was engaged as a technician in “special Admiralty fittings” – working on the armed merchant ships which operated clandestinely on the open seas and were known as Q-ships.
He also supervised the installation of wireless equipment on the Dreadnought-class battleships HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible which steamed the 8,000 miles south to the Falkland Islands in 1914, to face down a German naval threat to the south Atlantic islands.
Connected with the Admiralty through the Marconi Company, Moore later became assistant to Captain H.J. Round (who was himself Chief Assistant to Guglielmo Marconi), and he worked with Captain Round on the further development of the thermionic radio valve without which advancements in radio could not have taken place.
Moore remained at Marconi’s until his retirement in 1947, but just a year later with his health failing he moved to Jamaica to recuperate. He was 62, and would never return to Wales, his homeland.
After only six months in Jamaica he left for England, and on Thursday 20 January 1949 he died in a Bristol convalescent home.
Today, Moore’s mill at Gelligroes, which was once a favoured source of grain milling for the local crop farmers, now has a radio museum and a candle-making workshop, which has a Royal Warrant to make candles for Prince Charles.


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