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Historic England Research Records

RAF Mepal Thor Missile Site

Hob Uid: 1156384
Location :
East Cambridgeshire
Grid Ref : TL4490079900
Summary : Remains of a Thor Missile Site, operational between July 1959 and July 1963, built on the site of the World War Two Mepal Airfield. Remains of two, of the three, launch emplacements survive. The site was put on a high state of alert during the Cuban missile crisis.
More information : TL 4490 7995. Construction of the Thor Missile Site, at the former
Second World War Airfield at Mepal (TL 47 NW 20), probably began in
late 1958 with the completion of the ageement with the United States
to deploy Thor missiles in Britain. It was one of twenty such sites
built in eastern England. Responsibility for handling the missiles
at Mepal was given to 113 Squadron RAF, which became operational in
July 1959 and was active until the removal of the missiles in July

The site was of standard form, comprising three launch emplacements;
each designed to hold a single shot Thor missile. The southern
emplacement centred at TL 4494 7992 was demolished in November 1995,
but it was suggested that some of the conduits were infilled and
buried (1b). Prior to its demolition this emplacement had a small
brass datum point with the pad number `A1D1' stamped on it. No
surface remains of this emplacement are visible.

To its north at TL 4492 8003 the emplacement survives partly intact.
The two L-shaped blast walls remain, between these is a brass stud,
5cm in diameter, stamped `A1D3 EXTRA'. At the centre of the
emplacement the holdfast and base plates for launcher erector
remain. To either side are lines of bolt fastenings which mark the
lines of rails on which a movable protective shelter was mounted.
Set perpendicular to these rails are conduits leading to the LOX and
kerosine tanks. Other features on the pad include conduits in which
control cables were situated and mounting positions for lamp
standards. The surrounding concrete apron has been partly removed.

The third emplacement is centred at TL 4472 7997, this lacks its
identification stud and has been partly demolished. At the centre
of the pad is the smashed missile holdfast, which is covered by
rubble. At the southern side of the holdfast is the stainless steel
LOX pipe, the flange of this pipe is 19cm in diameter, with an
internal diameter of 7.5cm. The outer rim of the flange is stamped
`IIII tt TUBE TURN 3 150 TTFAF150T347SS' on the top is number
`273251'. A stainless steel pipe also emerges into the LOX dump
tanks to the south of the holdfast. Although the two L-shaped blast
walls remains standing an attempt has been made to demolish the
southern wall. This revealed that the walls are 20cm thick with a
sandy ballast infill, protruding through the centre of the struture
is a hollow lamp standard. Other features of the emplacement are
similar to A1D3. (1-1d).

Mepal Thor Missile Site was put on a state of High alert in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. (2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Wayne D Cocroft/13-AUG-1998/RCHME: Cold War Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 1a
Source details : Wynn H 1994 RAF Nuclear Deterrent, HMSO (569)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 1b
Source : Airfield review
Source details : Nichols J V and French G 1995 `Mepal, Cambridgeshire'
Page(s) : 5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 70, 1995
Source Number : 1c
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1.2500 1974 TL4479, TL4579
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 1d
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1.2500 1981 TL 4480, TL 4580
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 1e
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 58/2688 (F21) 0150 25-Jan-1959
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source details : Bowyer MJF. 2000. "Action Stations Revisited: The Complete History of Britain's Military Airfields" No1 Eastern England, pp 252-252
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : POST WAR
Monument End Date : 1963
Monument Start Date : 1959
Monument Type : Thor Missile Site
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 109435
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 47 NW 21
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1142708
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :