Site Records


Site Name: 'RAF Goldsborough' ('JEX') R2 CHEL ROTOR Radar Station

NZ830138
Goldsborough Lane
Goldsborough, North Yorkshire

Photo: The Guardhouse/Bungalow
Photo: The Guardhouse/Bungalow
Photo by Nick Catford

UPDATE 2005: This site is now badly vandalised and the previously complete Guard House extensively damaged by a fire in November 2004. The R2 is now flooded. The site may be demolished in 2005. Another sad loss.


Guard House November 2005

Guard House November 2005

Top of R1 2005

Guard House November 2005

Guard House November 2005

Guard House November 2005

[Pictures: Adrian Pearman & John Russell]

[Source: Mark Bennett]

The coastal site was developed from 1941/2 as an Army CD/CHL station for the detection and plotting of shipping. The station was transferred to the RAF in March 1942, and then supplemented with a type 52 CHEL radar system. By March 1945 the site included AMES Type 13 (a height finding radar) and Type 57.

The operations block was constructed in 1951 as part of `Phase 2' of the original RAF ROTOR project. This involved the construction and installation of an underground CHEL(A) station designed to provide cover against low flying aircraft.

The station's identity letter code within the ROTOR project was `JEX'.

Aerial photographs show an initial massive excavation taking place in October 1951. The construction of the technical site was about the same size on the ground as the village of Goldsborough!

The site is a fully underground R2 structure, with a surface guard house `bungalow' controlling access to the operations block. The technical site had the usual services including a sewage disposal plant. Emergency power was available from the `standby set house'. Records indicate that most sites had funding for a 500 kW generator set: their actual installation was often delayed by materials shortages, a common feature in the ROTOR project.

The second quarterly report following the disbandment of the Control and Reporting Progress Committee (CRPC) indicates that the site was to have its radar equipment ready for dispatch by the 6th of April 1952; the technical building being ready for installation by 14 April 1952 and installation commencing on 15th of April 1952. These dates were provisional and subject to delay, but by 1953 all CH, CHEL and SOCs were in general, complete. The nearby domestic site was complete by April 1953.

Photo: The Guardhouse
Photo: The Guardhouse
Photo by Mark Bennett

RAF Goldsborough was originally part of Northern Sector, headed by the RAF Shipton Sector Operations Centre (SOC). Following the early operational demise of RAF Shipton, 12 Group (CHEL sites at RAF Goldsborough, RAF Hopton, RAF Cold Hesledon and CEW+satellite GCI at RAF Trimingham and RAF Bempton) reported to ADOC via the comprehensive stations (GCI sites upgraded to Master Radar Stations) at RAF Patrington and Neatishead (12 Group control centre).

By 1957 the Air Staff were examining the need for all CHEL stations. The fate of the sites was sealed, in the main, by the success of the stage 1A radars (Green Garlic, or AMES Type 80 Mk's 1-3) and the reorganisation of Plan Ahead, but before this could take place the bunker was destroyed by a severe fire in March 1958. The news of the fire was repressed and only some months later did an article appear in the Whitby Gazette.

Although the technical site became unusable, the domestic site, located nearby, continued to be used and housed shift workers from the nearby BMEWS site at RAF Fylingdales. Then it housed RAF construction workers from Fylingdales, and now it is used by North Yorkshire County Council as a teacher training centre.

The site today is in private ownership and all surface structures have been removed. The R2 structure is extensively contaminated with asbestos, lacks all secondary flooring and is completely flooded. The guardhouse which has in recent years been used as a hostel is now derelict and open. All entrances into the R2 structure are, for the moment, sealed.

[Source: Mark Bennett]

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Last updated 21st January 2005

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