Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
Teaser Image

Tizard, Sir Henry Thomas (1885–1959)

British scientist whose work contributed substantially to the Allied war effort. Born in Gillingham, Kent, England, on 23 August 1885, Henry Tizard studied math and chemistry at Magdalen College, Oxford, and established his academic reputation with the publication of a paper on the color changes of indicators in 1911. Tizard joined the Royal Garrison Artillery at the start of World War I. In June 1915, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an experimental equipment officer, testing bombsights and then aircraft. In 1917, he published his scientific system for investigating the performance of aircraft. As a lieutenant colonel, he was assigned to the headquarters of the Ministry of Munitions in 1917.

Tizard left the army and returned to Oxford as a lecturer in the spring of 1919. There, he conducted pioneering work on aviation fuel, which led to a new understanding of the internal combustion engine. He accepted an invitation to join the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1920, and by 1927, he was its permanent secretary. He was largely responsible for establishing the Chemical Research Lab. Tizard became rector of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1929, a post he held until 1942. He was also increasingly involved with defense matters as a member of the Aeronautical Research Committee, which he chaired from 1933 to 1943, as he did the engine subcommittee.

That period saw revolutionary advances in aircraft and engines as well as research into ways to defend against hostile aircraft. The Air Ministry appointed Tizard to head a committee that would apply technical and scientific knowledge to strengthening British air defenses. Known as the Tizard Committee, it first met in January 1935. Its efforts led to the development and deployment of ground and airborne radar in time for the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic. Britain led the world in such work, and Tizard was knighted in 1937.

Tizard was instrumental in establishing a government group to conduct scientific intelligence, and he also investigated the feasibility of an atomic bomb. His greatest service to the war effort, however, may have been the mission he headed to Canada and the United States in August 1940. Tizard proposed that Britain share its most sensitive technical secrets with the United States. Ultimately, Britain provided full information on radar and the cavity magnetron.

On his return to Britain, Tizard became a semiofficial adviser to the minister of aircraft production and served on the Air Council. He did not get along with Frederick A. Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell), Prime Minister Winston L. S. Churchill's scientific adviser, which led Tizard to accept the presidency of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1942, although two years later, he agreed to chair a new committee to study the potential effects of new weapons on defense policy. He left Magdalen College in 1946 and returned to Whitehall as chairman of the Defence Research Policy Committee and the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy. He retired in 1952. Tizard died in Fareham, Hampshire, England, on 9 October 1959.

Jon D. Berlin

Further Reading
Clark, R. W. Tizard. London: Methuen, 1965.; Jones, R. V. Most Secret War. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978.; Tizard, H. T. Methods of Measuring Aircraft Performances. London: Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, 1917.; Zimmerman, David. Top Secret Exchange: The Tizard Mission and the Scientific War. Montreal and Kingston, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996.

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Documents Prior to 1938
  1939 Documents
  1940 Documents
  1941 Documents
  1942 Documents
  1943 Documents
  1944 Documents
  1945 Documents
ABC-cLIO Footer