15 May, 2018
Major Christopher Reynolds Stone was the first disc jockey in the United Kingdom.
He was the youngest son of Eton College's assistant master and Stonehouse preparatory school's founder Edward Daniel Stone. Christopher Stone was educated at Eton College and served in the Royal Fusiliers. In 1906 Stone published a book of Sea songs and ballads and in 1923 he wrote the history of his old regiment. He became the London editor of The Gramophone, a magazine started by his brother-in-law Compton Mackenzie.
Stone approached the BBC himself with the idea for a record program, which the corporation initially dismissed. Stone managed to convince them though and on 7 July 1927 he started playing records on air. His relaxed, conversational style was exceptional at a time when most of the BBC's presentation was extremely formal, and his programs became highly popular as a result. He wore a dinner jacket and tie when he presented.
In 1934 Stone joined the commercial station Radio Luxembourg (for 5,000 pounds a year) and was barred by the BBC in consequence. He wrote a column reviewing new popular records for the Sunday Referee newspaper and appeared in advertisements for Bush radio sets. In 1937, as "Uncle Chris", he presented the first daily children's program on commercial radio, Kiddies Quarter Hour on Radio Lyons. Stone later rejoined the BBC and caused a major row in 1941. On 11 November he wished King Victor Emmanuel of Italy a happy birthday on air, adding "I don't think any of us wish him anything but good, poor soul." This good wish towards the head of a state Britain was at war with at the time led to the sacking of the BBC's Senior Controller of Program and tighter government control over all broadcasts.
Stone was an avid record collector; in the mid-1930s he already owned over 12,000. When he turned 75 in 1957 the magazine Melody Maker praised his pioneering work: "Everyone who has written, produced or compered a gramophone program should salute the founder of his trade."
Vice Admiral Sir Alan Wedel Ramsay McNicoll was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy and a diplomat.
McNicoll was born in Melbourne, he entered the Royal Australian Naval College at the age of thirteen and graduated in 1926. Following training and staff appointments in Australia and the United Kingdom, he was attached to the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War. As torpedo officer of the 1st Submarine Flotilla in the Mediterranean theatre, McNicoll was decorated with the George Medal in 1941 for disarming enemy ordnance. He served aboard HMS King George V from 1942, sailing in support of several Arctic convoys and taking part in the Allied invasion of Sicily. McNicoll was posted for staff duties with the Admiralty from September 1943 and was involved in the planning of the Normandy landings. He returned to Australia in October 1944.
McNicoll was made executive officer of HMAS Hobart in September 1945. Advanced to captain in 1949, he successively commanded HMAS Shoalhaven and HMAS Warramunga before being transferred to the Navy Office in July 1950. In 1952, McNicoll chaired the planning committee for the British nuclear tests on the Montebello Islands, and was appointed commanding officer of HMAS Australia. He commanded the ship for two years before it was sold off for scrap, at which point he returned to London to attend the Imperial Defence College in 1955. He occupied staff positions in London and Canberra before being posted to the Naval Board as Chief of Personnel in 1960. This was followed by a term as Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet.
McNicoll's career culminated with his promotion to vice admiral and appointment as First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) in February 1965. As CNS, McNicoll had to cope with significant morale and recruitment issues occasioned by the February 1964 collision between HMAS Melbourne and Voyager and, furthermore, oversaw an extensive modernization of the Australian fleet. In 1966, he presided over the RAN contribution to the Vietnam War, and it was during his tenure that the Australian White Ensign was created. McNicoll retired from the RAN in 1968 and was appointed as the inaugural Australian Ambassador to Turkey. He served in the diplomatic post for five years, then retired to Canberra. McNicoll died in 1987 at the age of 79.
Sir Peter Phipps served as Chief of Naval Staff and the first Chief of the New Zealand Defense Force.
Phipps began his military career in 1928 when he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as an ordinary seaman. He was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in 1930 and as a lieutenant in 1934. In 1940, after the outbreak of war, he traveled to the United Kingdom where he was given his first command. This was the minesweeper HMS Bay which operated in the English Channel. Fifty aircraft attacked the convoy that Bay was helping escort and she was bombed. Phipps was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bringing his damaged ship home.
Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he took command of HMNZS Scarba, one of four Isles class minesweeping trawlers purchased for New Zealand. They carried out convoy duties in route to Auckland where they arrived August 4, 1942. Phipps then became commanding officer of Moa, which, with her sister ship Kiwi, sank the Japanese submarine I-1 which was supporting Operation Ke during the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Solomon Islands. Both ships were patrolling at Guadalcanal and Kiwi's depth-charge attack brought the submarine to the surface. She attempted to escape but was rammed by Kiwi while Moa continued to illuminate with star shell. Moa pursued and pressed home the attack upon the submarine, which eventually ran aground on a reef. Phipps was awarded a Bar to his DSC and the United States Navy Cross for this action.
In April 1943, Phipps was wounded when Japanese aircraft sank Moa at Tulagi Harbour. The ship sustained a direct hit from a 500-pound bomb and sank within four minutes. Five ratings were killed and seven were seriously wounded. Phipps then became the Senior Officer of the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla in the Solomon’s. He represented the New Zealand Government at the surrender of the Japanese forces in Nauru and Ocean Island. After the war, he commanded the training base HMNZS Philomel, where in April 1947 he had to deal with a mutiny of sailors from the base and several ships, over low pay and poor working conditions. He then became the executive officer of the cruiser Bellona. Between 1953 and 1955, he went overseas and served in a senior position in the Admiralty. He then took command successively of the cruisers Bellona and Royalist. When Phipps went to take command of Royalist in 1955, diplomat Frank Corner found that Phipps agreed that the Royalist was completely unsuitable for New Zealand's requirements, and Phipps regarded her purchase as an unmitigated disaster.
Phipps’ later career was a series of firsts for a New Zealander – he was the first NZ naval officer appointed to the New Zealand Naval Board (1957), the first to reach flag rank, the first to be appointed to Chief of Naval Staff (1960) and the first Chief of Defense Staff (1963), following the establishment of the Ministry of Defense. Phipps was knighted for his services in the 1964 Birthday Honors. On his retirement in 1965, he was created vice-admiral. He died in a car crash on September 18, 1989.