Chelmsford City Council

Blue Plaque unveiled for Marconi factory worker for contributions to the war effort

A Chelmsford woman whose efforts contributed to the Royal Navy’s code breaking in World War II has been recognised with a blue plaque. Florence Attridge worked at the Marconi wireless factory in Chelmsford and received a British Empire Medal for her contributions to the war effort.

A plaque to commemorate her life has been unveiled at 14 Andrews Place, Chelmsford. Chelmsford City Council, in collaboration with Chelmer Housing Partnership (CHP), unveiled the plaque at the property, which was Florence’s home between 1969 and 1975. 

Born in 1901 and raised within the city, Florence Attridge joined her father in working for the prestigious Marconi company shortly after the end of World War I. During her employment, Florence witnessed the first wireless radio transmission made by Guglielmo Marconi in 1920. Her role involved making key radio components, including the coils, transformers and inductors. 

During World War II, Florence had progressed to the head of the coil winding shop, overseeing a team of women. She worked within the K3 Section, part of the Naval Intelligence code breaking section, who developed the British Type 3 Mark II radio made by the company with specialist miniature components and issued to spies, special forces and resistance groups during the war. After the war ended, in 1946 Florence Attridge was awarded the British Empire Medal (civil division) for her contribution to the war effort. 

Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, Councillor Mike Mackrory, said “The City Council started its Blue Plaque scheme in 1986. The plaques installed so far form a list of the most notable Chelmsford men and women of their day, who were preeminent in their fields and recognisable to passers-by. I am proud that we have been able to commemorate one of Chelmsford’s heroines of World War II. I feel that it is vitally important to value Florence’s work within the war that she was well deservedly rewarded for.”

Peter Turrall MBE, from the Marconi Veterans Association, added “The Marconi Veterans Association is pleased that ex Marconi Chelmsford employee Florence Attridge is being honoured with a blue plaque in the city. This plaque commemorates her work at the New Street Factory during the last war where she was engaged in preparation of secret communication equipment for the UK Government.” 

Further information on Chelmsford’s blue plaques can be found at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/blueplaques

Monday 14 December 2020

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