The History of Radar
All the enemy powers have used radar, but their application of this principle has always lagged behind that of the Allies. They have been beaten in the battle of research and application. More nations than one were experimenting between the wars on techniques of detecting objects such as aircraft by radio reflections. The methods differed, and there is little point in making claims to priority. Britain does not claim to be the ‘first and true’ inventor of radar, any more than any one country can claim sole credit for the motor car; but in Britain ten years ago the work of the United Kingdom scientists was seized upon and developed as the first line of defence…
…In 1934 there were scientific men at the Air Ministry deeply distressed because there were no known means by which the country was likely to be successfully defended against air attack…and one of its officials informally approached a member of the National Physical Laboratory regarding the possibility of a death ray.
The response of the National Physical Laboratory scientists was immediate and definite; there was no early hope of a death ray, but energy re-radiated from an aircraft ought to suffice for location.
An experiment demonstrating this fact was instigated by the committee. It was successful, and radar was born.