Incoming missile? Time for a shave

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I am reading The Royal Navy 1939 to the Present Day by Max Arthur, a superb book of anecdotes from servicemen and women.

One tale stands out, bearing in mind the incredibly sophisticated defence systems ships have today.

In 1943 Lieutenant Bill Johnson was serving in HMS Wren and tells of the ship’s mission to find a defence against a new weapon, the first guided missile called a Chase-me-Charlie.

They were mounted on small gliders and released from a parent plane which directed the missile by radio towards the target.

There were many scientists on board Wren trying to find a way of defending ships from the missile.

One day, someone was having a dry-shave and turned on his razor when a missile was in the area. It was then discovered that electric razors messed up the radio signal.

Many electric razors were bought in the hope the ‘baby’ plane would turn around and blow up its parent.

Can you imagine the company of a modern Daring-class destroyer standing on deck pointing battery-driven razors at the sky when a missile is heading for them?

So, if you can remember trying to buy an electric razor some 73-years ago and finding all the shops were out of stock, here’s the reason why.