went to study for a degree at Cambridge in 1919, subsequently staying on
to do some research at the Cavendish Laboratories under Rutherford. It
was here that he taught himself glass blowing to improve equipment as
required. In 1927 he went to Bristol University.
Shortly before the
outbreak of war, Skinner was one of the scientists recruited by Cockcroft to
familiarise themselves with the Chain Home radar stations so they could act as
nurse maids should war break out. Early in 1940 he joined the radar
research in Dundee - shortly afterwards moving to Worth Matravers.
Skinner was founder leader of the centimetric radar team. After a period
of joint leadership with Philip Dee, Skinner led
a team (Group 8) that provided
many of the component parts required for centimetric radar, while Philip Dee
took charge of centimetric airborne projects (Group
12) including Airborne Interception and H2S.
He assembled crystal diodes for radar detectors by hand using his glass blowing skills to encase them.
These crystal diodes were needed at the higher frequencies
of centimetric radars.
After the war he went to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) Harwell and later to Liverpool University.
Herbert Wakefield Banks Skinner FRS
7 October 1900 – 20 January 1960