back to visits

Bawdsey Manor Radar Station

29th November 2016

This was a popular talk, a very good turnout of members and guests attended to see Miriam Stead's talk on the history of the development Radar at Bawdsey manor in Suffolk. Miriam Stead of the Bawdsey Radar Trust gave us a detailed account of the history starting from 1883 when William Cuthbert built the manor, Miriam told us about the various phases of expansion of the Manor and the contrasting architectural styles of the various extensions. The talk then switched to the subject of detecting aircraft with Sound Mirrors followed by the Air Ministry request that Robert Watson Watt investigate the feasibility of a Death Ray before moving on to the year 1936 when Bawdsey manor was purchased by the Air Ministry for £ 24,000.

Miriam covered the early days of Radar development and the people involved including Robert Watson Watt and Arnold Wilkins. The construction of the 360 feet tall transmitter towers and the 240 feet tall wooden receiver towers. The role of Bawdsey manor as a radar operator training facility was talked about along with the chain of radar stations that were put in place.

The talk moved on to the role of Bawdsey manor during World War II and the development of airborne radar and IFF tagging system to identify friendly aircraft.

Following the war RAF Bawdsey was upgraded when many of the other chain radar stations were closed. The talk continued through the cold war period and the introduction of Bloodhound missiles in 1963 through to their withdrawal in 1990 and the closure of RAF Bawdsey in 1991.

The talk concluded with a brief coverage of the history of Bawdsey manor since 1991

hover mouse over picture for titles