Ted Trowell dies at the age of 98
One of Britain’s oldest and oldest radio ‘hams’ died just weeks after celebrating his 98th birthday.
Edward Harry “Ted” Trowell of Minster, Sheppey, was in contact with thousands of amateur radio operators around the world from the age of 15 in 1938 when he obtained his first radio license.
Many of his overseas contacts have remained longtime friends and visited Ted and his late wife Stella at their first home in Clyde Street, Sheerness, and then at their last home on Saxon Avenue, Minster.
Despite a life of deafness following a childhood illness, Ted remained an active operator. His lifelong love of ham radio took a major boost in the 1970s when he underwent pioneering surgery to improve his hearing.
He first worked at the Sheerness Shipyard, and although his deafness barred him from military service, he became a member of Sheppey’s Home Guard during World War II. In the late 1940s, he was recruited as a member of a silent group of Cold War wireless listeners reporting on international radio traffic.
After the closure of Sheerness Dockyard in 1960 he was transferred to Chatham Dockyard, but after giving a radio talk at a Rotary club he was kicked out by Frank Matthews to work in his radio and television shop in Sheerness High Street. He remained there until his retirement and was known by many islanders as “the man who came to fix the TV”.
Ted and Stella were both pillars of Holy Trinity Church, Sheerness. Stella was secretary of the church and Ted was churchwarden. Stella recently developed dementia and moved to a nursing home near Dartford until her death in 2020.
‘The man who came to fix the TV’
In 2014, Ted moved into the Bromfield House care home in Minster Road and was allowed to install his radio equipment in his room with a wire antenna snaking through the window and around the building. Its walls were covered with framed certificates and awards from around the world spanning his life in service to the world of “amateur” radio.
He leaves behind a daughter, Lynne, married to retired vicar Reverend Colin Johnson, and a granddaughter, Clare Solberg, who lives with her husband Courtney in North Dakota in the United States.
Her funeral will be at the Garden of England Crematorium, Bobbing, on Tuesday, May 18 at noon.
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