THE eldest son of a war-time scientist commemorated in a memorial paid for by readers of the Hereford Times has died at the age of 87.

Simon Blumlein’s father, Alan, had been in a Halifax bomber converted in a flying laboratory for tests on top-secret radar technology when it caught fire at 15,000ft and plunged to earth. Blumlein and all the other 10 passengers and crew onboard, including five other scientists, were killed when it crashed on the banks of the river Wye at Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire, in 1942.

In November 2018 the Hereford Times and the paper’s then walks writer Garth Lawson launched an appeal for a permanent memorial to Alan Blumlein and the others who perished in the crash, and it was given crucial support by Simon.

After Simon's death earlier this month, his own sons paid tribute. They said: “With great sadness, we announce the loss of our beloved father, Simon Blumlein.


“A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. He was so loved by his family, colleagues and friends. This world is a sadder place without his eccentric colourful character, sense of humour, knowledge, passion and love of life. He was married to my mum (Annie) for 59 years. RIP, Pa. Alan, James and Charles Blumlein.”

Alan Blumlein's immense contribution to the war effort, as well as the development of stereo sound and other technical innovations, was hushed up after his death on the orders of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Hereford Times: War-time radar pioneer Alan Blumlein, who died in a war-time plane crash in HerefordshireWar-time radar pioneer Alan Blumlein, who died in a war-time plane crash in Herefordshire

He perhaps felt the loss of such an important scientist would give succour to the Nazis as they plotted their conquest of Europe.

So, while the contributions of other Second World War boffins such as Alan Turing (who helped crack the Nazis' Enigma code) and radar pioneer Bernard Lovell were lauded, Blumlein's role was largely overlooked.

Many years later details began to emerge of what had happened and Simon’s mother, Doreen, eventually visited the scene of her husband’s death.

Having reached the poignant spot beneath Green Farm she observed that “if you are going to die this is a beautiful place.”

Her words now adorn the stone memorial to the 11 that was paid for by donations from Hereford Times readers. Simon and his brother, David; Judy Spence, daughter of Sir Bernard Lovell, and Mike Phillips, son of the doomed plane's co-pilot carried out its unveiling ceremony before a large gathering in June 2019.

Like Mrs Blumlein, Garth Lawson had been moved by the beauty of the crash site and was inspired to work with the Hereford Times to create a lasting memorial there.

It was unveiled in the presence of Simon, his brother, David, and several guests in June 2019.

Simon Blumlein, an Elgar enthusiast and frequent visitor to Malvern where the Telecommunications Research Establishment were based during the war, gave several talks on the exploits and fate of his father and colleagues. He lived in Petersfield, Hampshire.

Hereford Times editor John Wilson said: “I was saddened to hear of Simon Blumlein’s death. I remember him being deeply grateful to both Garth Lawson and Hereford Times readers for their generosity in helping create a tribute to his father and those who died with him in the service of their country.”