Site Records

Site Name: RAF Holmpton/Patrington ('VQJ') GCI R3 ROTOR Radar Station

Rysome Lane

OS Grid Ref: TA365227

[Source:RAF Holmpton archive & Nick Catford

On the 10th February 2003 management of RAF Holmpton was handed over by RAF Digby to HIPPO (Holmpton Initiative Project Planning Office) an independent finance initiative. The current 10 year plan is to restore the site and fully upgrade it to provide a permanent exhibition of the stations life between 1951 and the present day. Original plans to also include an archive facility have since changed with the archive being purchased by Subterranea Britannica in 2007 (The UK’s foremost society of things underground) as they will be able to provide much wider public access to this historic material.

Photo:The restored PDU radar room
Photo by Nick Catford

Possibly the single most important part of this project to date has been the opening up of the building for public tours, and it is hoped that once completed the project will provide a full restoration of the sites history covering each period of its development: 1953 to 1974 Radar
Operations - 1974 to 1984, Engineering Training - 1984 to 1991, Support Command - 1991 to 1995, RAF Regiment & RAF Police Training - 1995 to 2000 Experimental Operations Centre, 2000 - 2003 Care & Maintenance Aquemen Defence..

Since 1953 over 15,000 personnel (both military and civilian) have served at this site, through its 25 years of radar, 9 years with RAF Support Command and 20 years of training facilities. Although RAF Holmpton still remains a part of the Defence Estate it is now managed and financed by the private sector at no cost to the MOD or taxpayer. However, it remains fully maintained and in the event of a national emergency, it would only take a short time to bring it back up to speed
should it be required to serve again.

The present room layout at Holmpton - retained rooms are not part of the current museum

In February 2006 the restoration of the PDU Radar Operations Centre was completed and the Royal Observer Corps OPS/NBC centre has also been restored. This was in fact the very last unit of the ROC to survive after its official 'standing down' and the unit remained at Holmpton right up to 1997. It is therefore a fitting tribute to the work of the Corps.

The Project at Holmpton is currently ongoing and 2007 has seen the opening to visitors of the former Radar Office and Computer Hall which during the 1960’s and 70’s expanded through the area originally taken up by the 1950’s two level operations room. 2008 will bring the opening of the fully restored 1960’s teleprinter and message centre rooms with vintage equipment kindly donated by RAF Rudloe, and 2008 will also see major alterations and improvements to the existing exhibitions. At the completion of HIPPO’s finance initiative and the formal handing over of the site at a dedication ceremony to the newly formed ‘Royal Air Force Holmpton Preservation Society’ which will then become responsible for the preservation of the site as part of our Cold War Heritage.

Full details of opening times for public tours and how to visit us may be found on our official website at: or e-mail

Photo:Sick bay
Photo by Nick Catford

The history is published with the full consent of RAF Holmpton which they recognise as the only 'Official History'on the web. Grateful thanks are due to Nick Catford of Subterranea Britannica for preparing and hosting this site.

History of RAF Holmpton/Patrington (2006) by:RAF Holmpton Archive, Nick Catford & Bob Jenner

Copyright to JSU RAF Holmpton

Those photographs provided by RAF Holmpton (uncredited in the text) are Crown Copyright


  • National Archive files: Avia 7/440 Air 33/4 Air 20/196 Air 29/141 Avia 15/8 Air 24/525 Air 20/1006 Air 20/1484 Air 33/4 Air 2/7348 Air 16/277 Air 16 /387 Avia 7/258 Air 2/3272 Air 2/7439 Avia 7/1141 Avia 7/256 Avia 53/301 Air 20/1521 Avia 15/218 Air 2/3004 Air 2/7151 Air 20/2270 Avia 7/945 Air 20/1536 Air 20/2268 Avia 6/17522
  • Bob Jenner
  • Keith Ward

For further informatuion and pictures of RAF Holmpton's dispersed sites click on one of the pages below

Remote R7 radar site
VHF/UHF transmitter and receiver sites
Standby set house
Domestic Camp

For further pictures of RAF Holmpton click on one of the
picture galleries below

Gallery 1
Gallery 2
Gallery 3
  Gallery 4  

[Source:RAF Holmpton archive & Nick Catford

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Last updated 21st January 2006

© 2007 Subterranea Britannica