Site Records


Site Name: RAF Bawdsey Chain Home Radar Station

Bawdsey Manor
Bawdsey Quay
Suffolk
OS Grid Ref: TM336380

Sub Brit site visit 13th April 2004

[Source: Nick Catford]

The protected Type 'A' receiver block is of similar construction to the transmitter block although a little shorter at 60 feet in length. It is located on open ground to the rear of Bawdsey Manor.

Photo:Main receiver block
Photo by Nick Catford

The main entrance was through a central air lock in the north face with separate access to the transformer cubicle on the north side.


Chain Home electrical calculator (not Bawdsey)

Internally the building is sub-divided into a number of rooms comprising office, plant room, switchgear room/sub-station, storeroom, latrine, receiver room and calculator room.

As the building is located very close the manor all entry points have been blocked to prevent casual access. Externally the building is in good condition with timber framed window casements still in place but bricked up.

Equipment would have included a receiver aerial switching and phasing unit, two Cossor RF8 (R32103) receivers and MkII or Mk III consoles with associated test gear including an electrical calculator which converted range, bearing and angle of elevation into grid reference points and heights in thousands of feet. (1940 version of a central processor unit on a modern computer)

The concrete bases of two of the four 240' wooden receiver towers can be seen in surrounding fields.

In the event of both the receivers being unusable a third receiver was located in an underground chamber in a wooded area 250 yards to the east close to the eastern perimeter fence and cliff top. Externally the receiver buried reserve is identical to the transmitter reserve with a three flat reinforced concrete covers on steel rollers and running rails. The smaller cover is open and gives access to a steel stairway down into the bunker. Again the stairway is badly rusted and in very poor condition and should not be used.

Photo:Looking through the airlock of the flooded receiver buried reserve; the rest room is to the right
Photo by Nick Catford

The emergency exit shaft is in better external condition with its concrete surround and entrance hatch still in place. The brick lined shaft is in fair conditioning with some cracking.

The bunker is flooded to a depth of 15" with clear rainwater. At the bottom of the main stairway the layout is identical to the transmitter reserve with a lobby area and a steel gas tight steel into the air conditioning plant room. The gas filter cabinet is still in place mounted on a concrete bed in the centre of the small room.

Plan of the receiver buried reserve
Survey by Bob Jenner

The air lock into the receiver room still retains both sets of doors, the outer doors being of steel and the inner doors being of timber. Beyond the air lock a doorway to the right gives access to a toilet with an alcove to the left of the air lock back to the wall of the air conditioning plant room. Unlike the transmitter reserve this alcove is partitioned off with a wooden door for access and was, presumably, a rest room as indicated in the Air Ministry works drawing.

There is no extractor hood as receivers don't generate the same heat as transmitters. At the back of the room there is a 5' 3" gas tight steel door at ceiling level in the centre of the north wall with an offset steel ladder fixed to the wall for access to the escape tunnel. Apart from the water the receiver buried reserve is generally in better internal condition than the transmitter reserve. The paintwork is in good condition and several metal lamp shades are still in place.

Externally there are five rendered brick ventilators all with their wooden slats missing and the base for the 120' receiver tower can be seen in the undergrowth nearby.

Close to the perimeter fence on the east side of the wood there is the distinctive concrete base (in the shape of a cross) of the IFF aerial mast while the brick IFF cubicle itself is located in undergrowth outside the perimeter fence close to the cliff top.

For further information and pictures RAF Bawdsey click here

[Source: Nick Catford]

 


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