Site Records


Site Name: RAF Ventnor Chain Home Radar Station

St. Boniface Down
Ventnor
Isle of Wight
OS Grid Ref: SZ568785

Sub Brit site visit 1st October 2004

[Source: Nick Catford]

RAF VENTNOR TODAY
As the ROTOR station utilised the same technical site most of the WW2 buildings were demolished during the 1950's. In November 1947, the Channel Island mail plane crashed into one of the 240 foot receiver towers and the remaining section of the tower was later demolished. The remaining six towers were finally pulled down in 1957.

The ROTOR station used a slightly smaller compound and the western end which included the receiver block was sold to the GPO who erected a new mast on the site. They didn't however use the receiver block and the two entrances into the brick building were sealed. Following the closure of the ROTOR station in the late 1950's the site was handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority who still maintain a radio station there today. The transmitter block was still standing until at least 1997 but this has now been removed and the same fate awaits the remaining redundant CAA buildings and the ROTOR Type 80 modulator building. The two buried reserves close to the southern boundary have been backfilled but the position of one of them is clearly visible with a 'shadow' left by the four concrete feet of one of the 120' aerial towers.

Photo:The position of the four legs for the buried reserve mast is clearly visible
Photo by Nick Catford

The BT compound at the western end of the site is now redundant and was offered for sale in late 2003. (Click here for sale particulars) The site is heavily overgrown but the bases of the four receiver towers can still be found in the undergrowth. The Chain Home receiver block is still intact as is a smaller mounded bunker alongside between the legs of one of the receiver masts, this
housed the Variable Elevation Beam equipment.

The 'A' type protected receiver building still stands in good condition and is typical of those built for east coast Chain Home stations. The receiver building itself is 60' X 27' (slightly shorter than the demolished transmitter building) and of brick and concrete construction with earth traverses around the building. There are two openings though the traverses giving access to an open walkway around the building. There is a 5' 6" layer of shingle on the roof to disperse blast.

Photo:The receiver power distribution equipment
Photo by Nick Catford

Both entrance doorways have been bricked up but a hole has been knocked through the brickwork to give access to the inside of the building. Internally the building is divided into a number of rooms comprising a lobby, air conditioning plant room, private branch exchange (PBX), latrine, transformer cubicle, sub-station, workshop and the main receiver room. The building was equipped with a duplicate pair of Chain Home RF8 (originally RF5) receivers.

Surprisingly some of the equipment still remains in place. The PBX and receiver room have been stripped but still retain electrical wiring racks suspended from the ceiling. At the far end of the building the receiver power distribution equipment is still in place this consists of three floor standing electrical cabinets. Externally they appear complete with dials and knobs still in place but much of the inside has been ripped out. There is also a large floor standing battery charger. The ventilation plant room is also largely intact with its filter unit, fan and metal trunking running into each of the rooms. BT say it may be possible to remove any of the remaining equipment for preservation prior to sale.

Photo:The now demolished transmitter block was still standing in 1997. The Type 80 modulator building can be seen in the foreground
Photo by Keith Ward

Most of the rooms have a solid floor although there is a deep slot in the floor of the receiver room. The wooden flooring in the spine corridor has been largely removed making progress through the bunker difficult.

The domestic camp was on the opposite side of the road that passes to the north of the site. This is now open ground. Four small buildings still remain. One appears to be a non standard design pillbox; the purpose of the other buildings is unknown.

Sources:

  • Bob Jenner
  • Ian Brown
  • 'Radar on the Isle of Wight' by Squadron Leader Mike Dean, Published privately in
    1994 by Historical Radar Archive

For RAF St. Lawrence Chain Home Radar Station click here
For RAF Ventnor Rotor Radar Station click here

Receiver block

Receiver block

Receiver block

Receiver room

Frame room

Power distribution
equipment

Makers plate

Battery charger

Ventilation plant

Ventilation plant

Electrical switchgear

Receiver mast bases

VEB block

Unknown buildings

Unknown building

Unknown building

Unknown building
and pillbox

Pillbox

Pillbox

Unknown building

 

Unknown building
and pillbox

 


 

[Source: Nick Catford]

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