Monument record BAW 051 - RAF Bawdsey, WWII Chain Home Extra Low Station K162, Chain Home Station CH26

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World War II Chain Home radar station (Transmitter Block and Masts).


Grid reference Centred TM 3409 3831 (177m by 273m)
Map sheet TM33NW


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Aerial photograph of early radio mast at RAF Bawdsey (S1).
The radio mast mentioned above was part of the experimental Chain Home radar system set up at Bawdsey in 1936. (S2). Erected in 1937 as part of the world's first radar station. Demolished in 2000 as too costly to repair (S8).
Photographs taken in the 1940s show a row of four towers and an associated building which is protected by earth and a blast wall. These towers would have been the transmitter towers for the radar station and the building would have been the transmitter block that housed the radar equipment. Immediately to the north of the masts there are a few lengths of barbed wire obstruction which would have acted as anti-invasion defences for the site (S3) (S4). The barbed wire had been removed by 1949 but all four towers remain in position until at least 1955. Two have been removed by 1965 (S5).
An Air Ministry Research Station to develop Radio Direction Finding equipment (radar) was established at Bawdsey Manor in 1936. In 1937 a training school was established and the station became the first operational Chain Home radar station in 1937. Chain Home stations commonly comprised transmission and receiver blocks, four 240ft timber receiver aerial towers, four 350ft steel transmitter aerial towers that stood on concrete pads, and other buildings such as dispersed accommodation huts, guard huts and standby set houses. During the Battle of Britain, the facilities at Bawdsy were important in providing early warning within the key 11 Group RAF Fighter Command sector, specifically for the southern North Sea and the Channel approaches. It also gave radar cover to help protect coastal convoys. The site was upgraded in 1942 and fitted with centimetric radar to become a Chain Home Extra Low station, called site K162. The site remained operational until 1952 when it was closed and refitted as part of the Rotor programme. The new station opened in 1953 to 1954 to the north of the Second World War site (BAW 185) and was continually refurbished and remained operational until 1975. The site was then used as a Bloodhound MKII missile site until July 1990. The site was included in the English Heritage Cold War Project. A survey in 1995 found structures and features surviving from all of the Radar Station's phases (S10).
The transmitter block still remained in 1996, as well as the mast (S1)(S6).
R3 double-level bunker - one of ten of this type built in England constructed to provide protected accommodation for the radar operators - a good example of a relatively unaltered R3 structure.
Also R17 Radar Modulator Building (1962) - housed modulators, switch gear and generators for Type 84 radar, which stood over the southern half of the building - one of four buildings of this type in England. In 1970 the Type 84 was dismantled and re-erected in Northern Ireland; the radar station remained operational until 1975 - subsequently used by the Bloodhound missile squadron based at the site and is included within its recommended scheduled area (S7).
Well preserved site at the home of British Radar. Remains include Receiver and Transmitter buildings, each with 4 sets of aerial base, with one radar still retained on APs from 1998. Buried receiver and transmitter buildings and attached aerials are in good condition. A number of accommodation buildings survive, including IFF, Guardhouses and 9 pillboxes (S9).

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <S1> Photograph: Essex County Council. Air Photograph. Essex C C, Strachan D, AP, CP/96/20/09, June 1996.
  • <S2> Monograph: Lowry B (Ed.). 1996. 20th Century Defences in Britain: An Introductory Guide. p 36 - 40.
  • <S3> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106W/LA1 4017 18-APR-1944.
  • <S4> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/LA22 4026 06-JUL-1944.
  • <S5> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 58/1672 F22 0191 03-MAR-1955.
  • <S6> Photograph: National Monuments Record. Air Photograph. NMR TM3438/6 (NMR12647/39) 12-APR-1995.
  • <S7> Digital archive: English Heritage. 2001. Cold War Monuments: an assessment by the Monuments Protection Programme.
  • <S8> Serial: Suffolk Industrial Archaeological Society Newsletter. SIAS Newsletter 70, July 2000.
  • <S9> Unpublished document: Anderton, M. J.. 2000. Twentieth Century Military Recording Project. World War Two radar stations.
  • <S10> Index: English Heritage. Pastscape.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 22 2014 9:50AM

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