Site Name: RAF Bawdsey' ('PKD') R3 GCI ROTOR Radar Station
Bawdsey is listed as being operational with both CH and CHEL in 1948.
In 1950, the station was chosen to participate in the ROTOR
programme which should have been operational by January 1952. Work on
the R3 two level underground control centre at the northern end of the
site began late in 1950. Bawdsey was designated a GCI/E site utilising
1 Type 7 Mk3 on an R7 building remotely
sited on Alderton Marshes, 2km north east of the site.
Photo: The Guardhouse
Photo by Nick Catford
The following radars were planned for the 'A' site:
There was a transmitter and receiver site at Shottisham and married quarters in Alderton village.
In February 1953 an American (Bendix enginers supervised these UK installations) AN/FPS-3 'search' radar was installed using an air ministry wooden hut as the R3 bunker was not yet complete. The new control centre wasn't ready until 1954 although the station was already operational. In July of that year links were established between the UK and French reporting systems allowing two way extension of radar cover over Europe.
Bawdsey was manned by 144 Signals Unit from 11 Group and together with 6 other station in the Easter Sector it offered cover from 30 minutes before dawn to 30 minutes after sunset; there was no night cover.
The following March Bawdsey closed and was placed on care and maintenance.
In 1977 the ROTOR period
plinths, Type 80 modulator building and 200' Type 54 tower were demolished.
Photo: Bloodhound Mk 2 Missiles at Bawdsey in 1984
Photo by Bob Jenner
In August 1979 Bawdsey reopened as a Bloodhound Mk2 surface to air missile (SAM) site operated by C flight of No 85 Squadron. It was divided into 2 missile sections, each equipped with 6 launchers and a Type 87 fire control radar. The Type 84 modulator building (R17) was retained as a crew room and store for Bloodhound armament handling flight. A new control room was established in the R3 bunker to administer the missile control site. The new storage sheds and storage bays and protective wall are all of Bloodhound origin.
From 1984 - 85 Strike Command's (UKAIR) Interim Alternative War HQ was established in the R3 operations block while a new Strike Command Bunker was being built at High Wycombe, during the construction period the bunker at Bawdsey was given a short new lease of life. The R3 was given a refit and much new (temporary) equipment was installed. At this time the central operations room was altered and a new control cabin installed above. When the new bunker at High Wycombe was ready the team pulled out of Bawdsey, their equipment was stripped and the bunker was abandoned.
Photo: Type 87 TIR Plinth in 1999
Photo by Nick Catford
In 1988 two Type 87 radar heads were removed and replaced by 2 Type 86 Radar Caravans mounted on platforms on top of the Type 87 plinths.
On 31st May 1990 the Bloodhound force ceased operations and in June all the missiles were withdrawn to RAF West Raynham. The RAF Ensign was lowered for the last time on the 25th March 1991 and the station closed on the 31st March.
For a site visit report and more pictures click here
[Source: Nick Catford]
Last updated 27th April 2004
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