Site Records


SiteName: Isle of Man Radar Stations

 

Sub Brit site visit 11th April 2003

[Source: Nick Catford]

At Dalby the radar station is now spread over two farms, Creglea and Ballahutchin Mooar. Each farm has two C type operations blocks. The receiver blocks are on Craglea Farm at SC21407799 (close to the farm buildings) and SC21387823, both are now used as cattle sheds. There is an entrance at both ends of the block. Close to the second block are the bases of one of the receiver aerial towers at SC21257820. This consists of four concrete bases with a metal framework supporting a few feet of the timber tower. In the middle of the site is a small brick building. The underground cables came up into this building.

There are several camp buildings close to the farm and a third bunker alongside the road leading to the farm at SC21707806. This bunker is much smaller and was originally divided into three rooms each with a separate entrance on three sides; this originally housed the substation.

Photo:Receiver Block (1) at Dalby
Photo by Nick Catford

The transmitter blocks are on Ballahutchin Farm at SC21757842 & SC21707850, unusually two of the aerial feeder poles are still standing close to one of the blocks. The stand-by set house, a particularly large bunker with one entrance is at SC21697853 close to one of the two original entrances to the technical compound.

The radar station at Scarlett lies entirely on Scarlett Farm and has Type B operations blocks, which are considerably larger than the C type. These each have two sets of equipment. The station also has one Type C receiver block and one Type C transmitter block, each with one set of equipment. A number of camp buildings also still stand including barrack blocks, air raid shelters and the guardhouse.

The transmitter blocks are at SC25276728 and SC24986680, the receiver block and operation room is at SC25266692 with the other receiver block at SC25176678 and the stand-by set house is at SC25076696.

During the Cold War with all the Island's WW2 radar stations unusable a new Chain Home Extra Low (CHEL) station was proposed as part of the ROTOR project. The site chosen was Snaefell, which had originally been discarded by Air Commodore Park as being too remote. Snaefell was to become part of the ROTOR 3 programme with an R11 technical block south of Snaefell Summit close to Bungalow Station on the Snaefell Mountain Railway. The target date for completion was April 1956.

Photo:The R11 Operations Block at Snaefell
Photo by Nick Catford

The ROTOR 3 programme was to provide radar cover for the north and west of the British Isles which were still exposed to attack and to give low and surface level cover over the sea approached to Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol (Snaefell would have covered the approach to Liverpool), the absence of which prevented effective action against low flying enemy aircraft. Two new CEW stations were to be built at Uig and Saxa Vord equipped with Type 80 Mk 2 radars and five new CHEL stations equipped with Stage 1 radar to enable detection, tracking and interception of low flying aircraft were proposed at Kilchiaran, Murlougch Bay, Prestatyn, West Myne and Snaefell. The new CHEL operations buildings were to be above ground and unprotected and designated R11, similar in internal layout to the underground R2 bunkers.

It was hoped that The ROTOR 3 programme would be complete by 1957 and all technical aspects were classified as 'Super Priority'.

By the target completion date of April 1956 some ROTOR stations had already closed down and the introduction of the 'Comprehensive Radar Station' as part of the '1958' plan had no place for Snaefell and there is no record of whether the station was ever brought fully on-line.

The R11 Operations Block and the adjacent Stand-by Set House are still in good external condition and now house Murray's Motorcycle Museum. To the rear of their compound there is a small brick building housing water tanks and on the hillside above a buried fuel store. There is no radar plinth on the site but this might have been remotely sited on Snaefell summit. The front and sides of the buildings are painted white while the rear is unpainted.

For a site plan and more pictures of Scarlett click here
For a site plan and more pictures of Dalby click here
For a site plan and more pictures and information about Bride click here
For more photographs of the Snaefell Rotor Station click here
For further information about CHL, CHEL and the installation at Cregneish click here
For further information about Scarlet see Castletown Heritage Newsletter No. 5

Alan Cleary has published 'The History Radar Files' on a CD ROM. These files are:
Isle of Man Historic Radar by W.H.Sleigh
My WW2 Manx experience by Jim Farrior (317 pages and 96 pictures)
Historic Radar on the Isle of Man by Alan Cleary
Chain Home Low Radar at Meayll Hill by Alan Cleary
Chain Home Bride - A WW2 Radar Station by Alan Cleary

These files are packed with information, photographs, plans and diagrams about Chain Home radar on the Isle of Man with a section on the history and development of Chain Home radar in general. For further information about the CD ROM contact Alan Cleary.

Sources:

[Source: Nick Catford]

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