Eddie Yeadon obituary

Elizabeth Martin
·2-min read

My brother Eddie Yeadon, who has died aged 82, was an engineer and physicist with a particular interest in optics and astronomy.

In the late 1960s he worked in the US for the optics company Perkin Elmer on the visors for the helmets used in the Apollo 11 moon landings. He also designed a reflector left on the moon to “bounce” a laser beam. He often joked that this was the part of the mission which did not work (although it was used subsequently).

After returning to the UK in 1970, Eddie began work with the electronics company Mullard. His main focus there was to develop night gun sights for the Ministry of Defence. This was successful and his name is on the patent for this item. He subsequently worked on digital printing for Crosfield Electronics (later taken over by De La Rue, and later still by Fujifilm) in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, until his retirement in 1997.

Eddie was born in Wrexham, north Wales, the second son of Harry Yeadon, a quantity surveyor, and his wife, Leah (nee Nolan). The family moved to Fife at the start of the second world war when Harry worked for the Admiralty at the Rosyth naval base.

In 1948, now with two daughters, Mary and me, our family moved to Sheffield, where Eddie was not allocated a grammar school place. Following a move to Manchester soon after this, the headteacher of Chorlton grammar school agreed to take Eddie as well as our older brother, George, to avoid splitting the boys up. Eddie subsequently studied physics at the Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, and was awarded a PhD.

In 1965 he married Janice Dutnall and the couple moved to Harrogate, Yorkshire, where Eddie worked for ICI Fibres Division, and then, two years later, to the US.

After retirement, living in Kingston upon Thames, south-west London, Eddie became a volunteer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and enjoyed guiding groups around the exhibits. He co-founded the Flamsteed Astronomy Society for amateur astronomers, and served as its first chairman. Affiliated to the Royal Observatory, it has grown from 24 members to over 400. Eddie also undertook Open University courses in geology and meteorology, and enjoyed walking and music – in his younger days he took part in Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and gave particularly good performances as the major general in The Pirates of Penzance and the lord chancellor in Iolanthe.

Eddie is survived by Janice, their daughters, Anne and Margaret, three grandchildren, and his siblings.