Wick Radio/GKR - Coast Radio Station - Scotland - United Kingdom



Humber Radio GKZ

Humber Radio commenced operations on 7th December 1927 as a new station in new buildings at Trusthorpe near Mablethorpe, equipped with the latest communications technology, taking over from the former Grimsby Radio and continuing that station's callsign of GKZ.

The new station was built in close proximity to the sea, it's site having been partly chosen to provide a good location for a direction finder (DF) installation covering the River Humber area. The buildings were of a similar design to the flank stations at North Foreland GNF and Cullercoats GCC. The new station opened with a compliment of 11 staff comprised of nine Radio Officers, a Handyman and the Officer in Charge/Station Manager.

Introducing Radiotelephony

Technically, the 1927 GKZ had a completely new equipment installation. Because equipment was changed and upgraded over time, this is discussed on a separate equipment page. However, as well as the new DF facility, another feature of the new station was a simplex radiotelephone transmitter/receiver, the first of its type to be installed at a UK coast radio station.

In 1937 the station offered a link call service for the first time, the ability for a ship at sea to be connected directly to the shore telephone service. The facility was officially opened on 25th October by Sir Walter J Womersley, Assistant Postmaster General, with an inaugural link call to the trawler Spurs.

Sir Walter J Womersley had been a senior partner in a Grimsby firm of jewellers and merchants, became Mayor of that town in 1922 and at the 1924 general election was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Grimsby constituency. He was known as "Fish Womersley" for his championing of fishermen. Sir Walter was Assistant Postmaster General from 1935 to 1939. In 1946 he was awarded the Order of the Dannebrog for services to the Danish fishing industry and fishermen, especially during the War.

By the 1950's it was time for a general re-equip of all UK Coast Radio Stations. In 1952 GKZ received new GPO built transmitters and Marconi receivers.

The 1953 Storm and Floods

The night os 31st January 1953 saw severe weather conditions affecting many parts of the UK and coastal Europe and many ships in difficulties. On the west coast the Princess Victoria was lost, the Radio Officer going down with the ship while still in communications with Portpatrick Radio GPK.

The three Radio Officers on duty at Humber Radio were working Urgency (PAN/XXX) traffic with a ship in difficulties in the Humber at around 7pm when they notices a trickle of water coming under the door. Humber Radio eventually became part of the story of that night's storms and floods with the station put out of action.

One of the officers on duty, John Handford (who later rose to become Assistant Inspector of Wireless Telegraphy), would often recount how they ended up sitting cross-legged on a table, with flood waters lapping just below the lip of the table, drinking cups of tea make on the gas cooker which remained operational!

Severe damage was caused to the station buildings and equipment and for six months service was provided from the GPO/WTS Emergency Coast Radio Station which was brought into service from Kenwick Hill near Louth.

Humber Radio
List of Staff July 1984

Station Manager - D G Hopcroft

Radio Officers

S A Moore - W C Sheard - P C Bell - R A Staton - E Hughes
E F Lingard - A T Whetton - P W Allitt - R P Skinner - S W Perchal
K Gardiner - P D Rushworth - I M Ryder - R J Leppard - R P Nudd

General Assistant - J W Gascyone

As part of the introduction of "Distributed Operational Control" (DOC), Humber Radio lost its 500kHz and 2182kHz Distress Watch function on 31st October 1987. The station transmitted a CQ note on WT which said

After 75 years cont watch on 500kHz GKZ is now closing all WT communications. Our thanks to all. PCH / DAN ths to u tu. SU.

Humber Radio continued operations from its Trustthorpe location until 30th June 2000 when the UK Coast Radio Station service closed down.

In December 2007 an Amateur Radio special event station GB80GKZ operated from the GKZ site remembered the 80 years since the station moved to that location.

In 2008 the Radio Station buildings were scheduled for demolition to make way for redevelopment. However, it is understood that this has not taken place and the buildings remain but in a state of disrepair.




map showing location of humber radio gkz

Humber radio sign

Humber Radio GKZ buildings 1927
Humber Radio GKZ 1927

Humber Radio GKZ operating Room 1950's
Operating Room 1950's

emergency coast radio station
Emergency Coast Station
brought into use following the 1953 Floods

Humber Radio GKZ Operting Room 1960's
Operating Room 1960's

Humber Radio GKZ operating room 1970's
Operating Room 1970's

GKZ operating room 1980's
Operating Room 1980's

GKZ operating room 1990's
Operating Room 1990's

Dave Hopcroft, Station Manager, Humber Radio GKZ
Dave Hopcroft
Radio Officer 1968-1984
Station Manager

Humber Radio sign