Prof Freddie Williams Freddie ‘FC’ Williams studied engineering at Manchester University receiving a BSc in 1932 and MSc 1933.  He was later awarded a scholarship to Oxford where he received a DPhil in 1936 for work on circuit and valve noise.  He then returned to Manchester University continuing research into electronics.  Early in 1939 he was recruited by Prof Blackett (a member of the Tizard Committee) to join the radar team, then at Bawdsey Research Station.  

During the war Freddie Williams led the development of IFF (Identification Friend or Foe), and also worked on AI (Airborne Interception).  He became an expert at inventing new designs for electronic circuits - often using valves in unconventional ways.  By the time of the move to Malvern, he led a small group which designed and developed electronic circuits to support other groups in TRE.

After the war Freddie Williams returned to Manchester University where he pioneered digital computer technology.  In 1946-47 he experimented using Cathode Ray Tubes with a long afterglow to store digital information.  By the end of 1948 the team he led had built a working computer - the Manchester Mark I.  The design of this computer was enhanced by Ferranti to be called the Ferranti Mark I.  Production started, and early in 1951 this became the world's first commercially available computer.

Prof Sir Frederic Calland Williams FRS
26 June 1911-11 August 1977

If you have additional information or materials - please contact the Radar Trust
Papers & Links etc.
Wikipedia page:  biography Prof Freddie Williams  accessed Feb 2011
or try:  http://en.wikipedia.org/  with search words: F C Williams 
Computer50.org website:  biography F C Williams  accessed Feb 2011
Royal Society - Elected Fellow in 1950 - for a biography -
go to: http://rsbm.royalsocietypublishing.org  with search words: Frederic Calland Williams
Group in March 1942:  Group 19  Basic circuits

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Page last updated: 13 April 2011