The British Wireless Dinner Club came into being after the First World War to keep alive, by means of an annual dinner, wartime associations and friendship.
The Club was founded by Colonel L F Blandy, an Officer of the Royal Engineers, who had been responsible at GHQ, France, for wireless of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, and who served after the War in the Air Ministry as Controller of Communications.
Colonel Blandy had been approached by many Officers who had served under him, in particular Captain Round of the Marconi Company, with the suggestion that such a Club be formed.
In January 1922, there was a dinner to discuss the proposition attended by fourteen Officers, who resolved that if sufficient support was forthcoming, a club be formed to hold an annual dinner for members whose qualifications should be that “they had served in wireless during the War as Officers or in an equivalent capacity`.
Membership soon reached about 300. Admiral Sir Henry Jackson, GCB KCVO FRS, was the first President while Vice-Presidency was accepted by Senatore Marconi, GCVO, who, with Jackson working independently, had made England the birthplace of wireless communication.
The object of the Club was to bring together all those who had held His Majesty’s Commission and who had taken an active part in the creation, organisation and operation of wireless communication in any part of the First World War.
It was always felt that the informal association of wartime comrades, together with a list of members and their addresses, was bound to be of value in any national emergency. This indeed proved to be the case, when in September 1938, the qualifications of the Club were brought to the notice of the Government with the suggestion that they could make good use of the spec€alist experience of the members. This idea was welcomed and put into effect.
The first annual dinner, attended by 125 members, was on the 11th March 1922, at the Trocadero Restaurant. Since then, there have been annual dinners regularly every spring, with the exception of 1941, when London was in the throes of the Blitz, and in 1944 when we were preparing for `D’ Day. In 1942, instead of a dinner there was a lunch at the Constitutional Club, while in 1943 the Club was able, in spite of the war to hold its 21st anniversary dinner. In May 1946, there was a Victory dinner on Empire Day and subsequent dinners have been held at the Junior United Service Club, the Naval and Military Club and the Royal Air Force Club.
Since the Second World War there have been changes made to the rules in respect of qualifications for membership. The fee for Life Membership was set in 2010 to be £20, which includes a Club Tie. A 2003 rules booklet is available which also contains the latest list of active members, the names of past Presidents, Honorary Vice-Presidents, Chairmen of the Committee, Honorary Secretaries and Honorary Treasurers and the Guests of Honour and numbers attending the dinners since 1942. Notification of any error or omission should be addressed to the general secretary.