Site Records

Site Name: Trimingham 'QLE' CEW R1 Rotor Radar Station

Mundesley Road
Trimingham, Norfolk

[Source: Nick Catford]

Trimingham Radar Station was established in late 1941 as an army coastal defence radar station for detecting German E-Boats and low flying aircraft; it was equipped with a CD Mk.4 radar.
Trimingham was also chosen as an 'Oboe' station equipped with Type 9000 equipment for navigational purposes to assist bombers to pinpoint European targets.

It was transferred from the War Office to the Air Ministry on 29.4.1942 becoming a Chain Home Extra Low (CHEL)/CD with a Type 54 radar on a 200 foot tower. The 'Oboe' equipment had been removed by 1945. In 1947 Trimingham was placed in the Northern Signals Area under 90 Group.

On 15.4.1948 Trimingham was placed in care and maintenance but was once again operational from 1.6.1949 and on 17.2.1950 the CHEL was transferred from 90 Group to Fighter Command and from 1.11.1951 was renamed 432 Signals Unit.

In June 1950 RAF Trimingham was selected for the ROTOR programme as a Centimetric Early Warning Station (CEW). In the provisional plan (17.12.1950) the station was to be equipped with, the Type 54 CHEL radar on A 200 foot tower one Type 13 Mk IV height finding radar on a plinth, one Type 14 Mk. 8 (on a plinth) and one Type 14 Mk. 9 (on a gantry) surveillance radars. The station was completed in November 1952 coming on line early the following year.

c.1945 view of RAF Trimingham click to enlarge

Photo: RAF Trimingham guardhouse in 2005
Photo by Nick Catford

Operations were centred in an R1 single level underground bunker accessed from the rear of a standard ROTOR guardhouse/bungalow, consisting of a single storey building with a pitched tile roof and a verandah at the front. At the rear is a square stairwell and plant entrance with a flat roof. Internally there was a guardroom, armoury, stores and rest room.
In August 1952 Trimingham was selected as the location for the first production Type 80 Mk1 search radar. The installation of the new Type 80 was delayed and an American Type AN-FPS 3 (on a 25 foot gantry) long range radar and an AN/TPS10 height finder were installed.

The Type 80 was finally installed in 1954 and handed over to the RAF on 10.2.1955 making the two Type 14's redundant, these were dismantled and removed. This was one of five Type 80 Mk 1's installed throughout the UK.

RAF Trimingham in 1950's - click photo to enlarge

Trimingham was retained as a CEW station under the 1958 plan closing on 15.2.1961, it had also continued in its CHEL role utilising the Type 54 Mk3 during this period.

Photo: RAF Trimingham Type 80 radar in 1963

In 1965, air photographs show the station had been largely dismantled and all the radar arrays had been removed apart from the Type 54 behind Beacon Hill Cottage; but that was gone by 1972. By 1981 the station was closed and the site had been sold and the guardhouse converted into a private house.

Trimingham was repurchased by the RAF in the late 1980's with the installation of a Marconi Type 91 'Martello' radar operated by 432 Signals Unit acting as a Ready Platform (along with RAF Hopton and RAF Weybourne) for the UKADGE Series II (Upgraded Air Defence Ground Environment) Radar System controlled from the R3 underground control centre at RAF Neatishead. The guardhouse was converted into crew accommodation, offices and basic mess facilities. An upper storey was created in the roof space and the external verandah along the front of the building was removed.

The earth mound covering the bunker was removed and the site shaved to the concrete roof of the bunker. This was then built up with the ready platform on top of a new grassed mound. Roads were then made to allow vehicle access to the top surface, on which the remote radars would be sited. In May 1987 the Type 91 there was sold to the Turkish Ministry of Defence and it was replaced by a Type 93 (Plessey type ADGE-305, NATO designation TGRI 50011) that had been moved from Hopton. Following the removal of the Type 93 Hopton closed.

Photo: RAF Trimingham Type 93 radar. The original ROTOR guardhouse can
be seen at the bottom of the picture

Although originally a mobile installation in December 1997 the Type 93 was given a permanent mounting with a Kevlon dome composed of irregular polygons erected around it. The Type 93 is still operational feeding data back to the Control and Reporting Centres (CRC's) at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland and RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. RAF Neatishead has now been downgraded to a remote radar head which is actually at Trimingham. Neatishead only being retained as the circuits from Trimingham pass through Neatishead

Click here for further information and photographs of RAF Trimingham

[Source: Nick Catford]

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