Site Name: RAF Chenies ('HAM') R8 GCI ROTOR Radar Station
Sub Brit site visit 10th November 2004
[Source: Nick Catford]
RAF Chenies was an R8 Ground Control Intercept (GCI) radar station (code HAM) built in the 1950's as part of the post war ROTOR Programme. While most post war GCI stations utilised an existing WW2 site, Chenies was a green field site. Originally sited at Heathrow, it was known by this name until it was changed to Down Barns and on 5.9.1950 the name was changed again to Chenies.
Chenies was built as part of the first stage of the ROTOR
Programme which was itself divided into four phases. Phase 1 was the
re-establishment of 28 WW2 Chain Home radar stations. 13 were brought
up to a fully operational state while the remaining 15 were brought
up to a 'readiness' state. These stations would have required some notice
before they were fully operational.
Photo:RAF Chenies - The R8 operations block is to the rear with the high voltage switch house in front. The standby set house is in the middle of the picture with the modern Met Office radar on the right.
Photo by Nick Catford
Phase 2 was the construction and installation of 14 new underground Centimetric Early Warning (CEW) and Chain Home Extra Low (CHEL) stations. Phase 3 was the construction and installation of 11 new underground GCI stations Phase 4 was the construction of 14 new semi-submerged or above ground GCI stations. These were generally (but not always) located on the west side of the country where the perceived threat of attack was not so great and to save on cost protected underground accommodation was therefore not provided.
Phase 4 comprised of five R6 semi submerged protected stations and
nine less substantial R8 stations. Normally, stations on the east side
of the country would be protected but Chenies being in the centre of
the country was provided with a prefabricated SECO R8 structure built
of wood fibre and asbestos panels. Of the nine R8's, Chenies was the
only station to be fully operational, all the others were 'readiness'.
The other R8 technical blocks were at Calvo, Charmy Down, Comberton,
Gailes, Hartland Point, Scaranish,
St. Anne's and Trewan
Sands. Two further R8's were later built at Killard Point (Ballywooden/Bishopscourt)
in Northern Ireland and Wick
in Scotland as part of the Rotor 3 programme.
Plan of RAF Chenies
Surveyed & Drawn by Bob Jenner
By 30.8.1953 the first two phases of the ROTOR programme were finished and Phase 3 buildings were complete with the installation well advanced.
Photo:RAF Chenies in 2003
Photo copyright Defence Estates
For further information and pictures of RAF Chenies click here
[Source: Nick Catford]
Last updated 22nd January 2005
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