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Jeremy Tear found. A past Science Show contri -

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HideRobyn Williams: History, emotions. Plenty of that in Devil's Dust this week on ABC television, Matt Peacock and asbestos. On this program, The Science Show, last week he asked about Jeremy Tear, a student he'd interviewed 34 years ago. Well, Jeremy quickly got in touch. He turns out to be in Adelaide living under his full name of Jeremy Davidson-Tear, and would you believe he was actually on The Science Show in 1987.

Jeremy Davidson-Tear: It all happened in South Australia at the Woomera rocket range and the weapons research establishment in Adelaide. The reason was the Anglo Australian guided missile project. The joint project, as it was known, sprang out of the closing days of World War II. Britain and liberated Europe were bombarded by the second of Germany's reprisal weapons, the V2 rocket, the world's first ballistic missile.

The possibilities of these weapons weren't lost on the victorious allies, and in newly occupied Germany there was a mad race to grab what was left. The Americans got a team of scientists and hundreds of rockets, the Russians got the main factory and more scientists, but the British didn't do quite so well. They did get a few V2s and launched some in a demonstration called Operation Backfire. This seems to have lived up to its name and didn't impress the Americans as it was meant to.

British military science had become pretty advanced during the war, and plans were drawn up for a long-range guided missile program. In the beginning there was some haste, as joint project historian Dr Peter Morton explains:

Peter Morton: There was a sense that it could only be a matter of time before nuclear warheads were put on to these developed V2s, and the British were determined to be there as well.

Robyn Williams: A report by Jeremy Tear, the man Matt Peacock was looking for. He was on The Science Show in 1987. And the full story of Jeremy's reply to Matt is in Matt Peacock's article, a link to which is on The Science Show website.