Air Commodore Keith Park, Air Marshall Dowding’s Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) was delegated the job of siting the RAF’s radar stations on the Isle of Man. He was later Air Vice-Marshall and AOC at 11 Group, responsible for Battle of Britain from the underground headquarters at RAF Uxbridge.
Discarding scientific advice from Bawdsey to site a Chain Home station on the summit of Snaefell, Park preferred the option of two Chain Home stations, one at the north end of the island and the other to the south.
The sites selected early in 1940 were Bride at the north (SC463031) and Scarlett to the south. (The RAF sometimes referred to the southern site as Scarlet although the traditional spelling is Scarlett). Both sites were designated Advance Chain Home (ACH) installations being brought on line with temporary shorter timber masts to support the transmitter arrays, pending the availability of standard ‘west coast’ 325 foot guyed steel masts. Both stations were in use by September 1940.
Subsequently, Bride was found to be surplus to requirements being covered from Scotland and Ireland to the north and by 1942 it had been closed and stripped of equipment. Scarlett did not last much longer.
The Island’s airport at Ronaldsway had been requisitioned by the Air Ministry in 1940, but in the first quarter of 1941 they agreed to the transfer of the grass airfield to the Admiralty for development as a fleet air arm training unit. It was renamed HMS Urley. As Scarlett’s 325’ aerial masts were well inside the mandatory 6000 yard construction limit, the station was closed shortly after the completion of a new station at Dalby in 1942 with both stations running simultaneously for a time to ensure unbroken cover. With the closure of Scarlett, Dalby remained the only CH station on the island for the remainder of the war.
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.