Site Name: 'RAF Bawdsey' ('PKD') R3 GCI ROTOR Radar Station
RSG Site Visit: 19th September 2003
Photo by Nick Catford
Moving along the corridor there is a GPO store on the right then the larger GPO power room which still has two concrete plinths and a butler sink. This is floored with Darlington anti-acid tiles for the batteries and charger; the sink was there in case there was a battery acid spill. The racks of lead acid batteries would have been mounted on the existing concrete plinths and the metal racking on the ceiling would have supported the DC power cables.
Beyond this room is the domestic area, the first room being the RAF (Male) cloak room and toilets; these have been retained from ROTOR with 3 WC cubicles, 4 urinals and 3 hand basins in the toilet and a fifty gallon water heater in the cloakroom. Beyond this is the RAF (Male) rest room with a serving hatch from the kitchen.
The small kitchen has also been retained and modernized with a white tiled wall and a stainless steel double sink and draining board with cupboards beneath and alongside, all the appliances have been removed. The serving hatch into the WRAF (Female) rest room has been replaced by a doorway and a serving counter has been added along one side of the new canteen.
The WRAF (Female) cloak room and toilets include 3 WC cubicles, 3 WC cubicles converted to showers, 6 hand basins and a sanitary towel incinerator. The next two rooms on the right, either side of the rear stairway were originally the RAF and WRAF officers' toilet. The partition wall between them has been removed forming a new unisex officers' toilet; the two cubicles have been retained and three shower cubicles and two hand basins have been added.
Back at the main stairwell the rooms on the left have been radically
altered. The first two rooms (originally combined filter plot and track
telling room) have been combined into one large room incorporating two
smaller rooms and a sunken well built into the pit that originally housed
the display table for the Kelvin Hughes projector which was located
on the floor below. There is a step ladder down into the well where
there is a long bench slightly undercutting the floor above.
Photo:The sunken well originally housed the display table for the Kelvin Hughes projector
Photo by Nick Catford
The four small radar offices accessed along a short corridor have
been kept. At the end of the corridor was the trainers room, this has
also been retained with the addition of two further small offices.
The next three rooms (originally fighter marshal, chief controller
and intercept cabin) have also been retained. These originally had windows
overlooking the well of the operations room; the Perspex windows are
still there but have been painted over. The fighter marshal's room,
which was originally 'L' shaped has been altered and is now rectangular
with a new section jutting out into the void above the operations room;
it is supported on new steel girders and pillars. The two smaller rooms
(intercept and chief controller) have been turned into strong rooms
with large safe doors with combination locks fitted for access; these
were installed in 1984 when the bunker was used by Strike Command. The
final room on the left of the upper corridor was the officers' rest
room which also retains its original shape and has been converted into
a workshop with a long work bench and a tool board still in place.
Beyond the operational part of the bunker on the upper level there
are two plant areas left and right. On the right is the gas filtration
plant room with a motor, fan and trunking still in place and on the
left the cooling plant room, this is set in a well accessed by a ladder.
Three fans for the condenser water cooler are located in the well, set
into the side wall. From the well it is possible to walk under the floor
of the upper corridor where a 6 foot high cableway runs beneath the
corridor for its entire length. A large number of electrical cables
for various diameters are still in place on hangers along both walls.
There is a recess on the opposite side of the cable way which contains
the fresh air fan. Fresh air for personnel use was drawn through this
fan before feeding into the main filter bank and then into the air conditioning
system in the main plant room below the fan.
Back in the upper spine corridor there is a dog leg to the right and
then a second set of heavy steel blast doors, through these the tunnel
once again turns to the left towards the emergency exit stairs. There
is a second mains transformer on the right behind a locked wire cage
door. There are further cable hangers fixed to the wall along both sides
of the stairs which are capped with concrete at the top preventing access.
On the bottom of the stairwell on the right is the sewage ejector room
with two pumps and a compressed air cylinder still in place.
Photo:Emergency Exit Stairs
Photo by Nick Catford
At the bottom of the main stairwell is the lower spine corridor. The first room on the right is the GPO/BT apparatus room. This still contains the main distribution frame and other equipment racking most of which dates from the 1960's.
There is a rack of transmission (amplifier) equipment in the centre
of the room with a relay set rack behind it probably for private wires
(direct point-to point circuits). There are also some wooden battery
racks against one wall. In one corner of the room there's a rack of
two-motion selectors, part of the PABX3
exchange equipment. There's also a wooden cabinet fixed to one of the
equipment racks from where engineers could test lines.
The next room on the right is the radar machine room; this still has
a large quantity of electrical switchgear on the end wall. There are
a number of concrete plinths on the floor where the radar frequency
generators (rotary converters) would have been mounted.
Next on the right is the main air conditioning plant room. This is
a very complex room divided into several distinct areas with partition
walls. The plant and electrical switchgear is largely unaltered from
rotor days and is probably one of the best preserved AC plant rooms,
in its original condition in any of the remaining R3 bunkers. Only Sopley
(and possibly Patrington)
is more complete. The room is entered through double doors and down
a short flight of steps. On the right is the control equipment for the
air conditioning plant. This takes the form of large electrical control
cabinets. On the left are two 3 cylinder compressors. These compress
the refrigerant (originally the toxic
Between the two compressors are the oil separators Number 1 and 2;
these separate the compressors lubricating oil from the refrigerant
for compressors number 1 and 2 respectively. At the back of the room
there is a panel showing the temperature and humidity in the system
and various rooms. There were wet bulb hygrometers for this located
in various places in the bunker. In the centre is a black dial this
is used this to select what is monitored and the various parameters
are displayed on the dials above.
Photo:The air conditioning plant room
Photo by Nick Catford
Large diameter brown pipes, each contains the send and return refrigerant lines from the two compressors, these lead into the Baudelot heat exchanger which is located at a higher level and accessed by a ladder. This cools the water which is fed to the cooled water header tank in a small room at the top of the ladder; the air cooler batteries A,B, C and D are fed from here. Air cooling in the ROTOR series bunkers was via water cooled cooler batteries - more modern designs used electric air heaters. The feed to and from some of these water cooled batteries (located in a separate room) are the large insulated green pipes
In a partitioned area diagonally opposite the entrance steps is the main air conditioning fan with two sets of filters on either side.
There is also a large floor standing electrical cabinet. This is the only item of apparatus in the plant room that isn't original. It is the mains electricity control cabinet dating from the 1980's. To the rear of the Baudelot heat exchanger there are two narrow doorways one leads to the apparatus fan which is used for cooling all the radar equipment and the other doorway opens into another filter room. From this fan there is another door back into the lower spine corridor. Beyond the plant room is the rear stairway to the upper level.
Further information and pictures about this site continues here
[Source: Nick Catford]
Last updated 21st October 2003
© 2003 Subterranea Britannica