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Coastal Defence/chain Home Low Station M10

Hob Uid: 1477795
Location :
East Sussex
Eastbourne
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TV5886609568
Summary : The site of a Coastal Defence/Chain Home Low (CD/CHL) radar station at Beachy Head. It was constructed in spring 1941 by the British Army to detect approaching ships and aircraft during the Second World War. CD/CHL sites comprised a brick or concrete operations block with an aerial gantry mounted on the roof and a separate standby set house for the reserve power. Staff were billeted where possible, but some stations had a small layout of domestic hutting situated within one mile of the site. The station closed after the Second World War. In 1952 the Air Ministry built a centrimetric early warning (CEW) radar station at the site as part of the Rotor programme to modernise the United Kingdom's radar defences. It was fitted with one Type 14 Mk. 9 and one Type 14 Mk. 8 plan positioning radar heads and two Type 13 Mk. 6 height finder radar heads mounted on plinths and 25 feet gantries, and a AN/FPS3 array for long-range radar. The site was equipped with a guardhouse designed to resemble a bungalow, which gave access to a single-storey, underground R1 operations block. The station was put on standby in 1957 and closed in 1960. In the 1960s the bunker was stripped of its equipment and closed, the guardhouse was occupied by the police and the remaining surface features were removed. The guardhouse was demolished in 1996. By 2001 the bunker had been sealed and is the only surviving feature at the site.
More information : A Coastal Defence/Chain Home Low (CD/CHL) radar station located at Beachy Head (TV 592 958), called site M10. Coastal Defence/Chain Home Low (CD/CHL) radar stations were operated by the British Army to detect shipping and aircraft. CD/CHL sites opened from spring 1941 and comprised a brick or concrete operations block with an aerial gantry mounted on the roof and a separate standby set house for the reserve power. Staff were billeted where possible, but some stations had a small layout of domestic hutting situated within one mile of the site. (1)

Aerial photography from 1995 shows that the site was later replaced by a Rotor station. (2)

The Rotor programme was developed to advance the wartime radar technology in detecting and locating fast-flying jets. It was approved by the Air Council in June 1950. The first phase of the programme, Rotor 1, was to technically restore existing Chain Home, centrimetric early warning, Chain Home Extra Low and Ground Controlled Interception stations and put them under the control of RAF Fighter Command. There were three main components to the Rotor stations: the technical site, including the radars, operation blocks and other installations; the domestic site, where personnel were accommodated; and the stand-by set house, a reserve power supply. The techinical site at Beachy Head Rotor station was located at TV 590 959. The domestic site was situated at TQ 598 010 and the stand-by set house at TV 584 972. The Rotor station was equipped with one Type 14 Mk. 9 and one Type 14 Mk. 8 radar heads mounted on plinths and 25 feet gantries, two Type 13 Mk. 6 radar heads also plinth and gantry mounted, and one AN FPS 3 radar head for medium and long range reporting.

The two main constructions at Rotor stations were the operations block and guardhouse. Operations blocks were the largest structures built at Rotor stations. They were constructed of reinforced concrete and designed to withstand 2,000lb bombs. The outer walls and roof of the Rotor operations blocks were 3 metres thick and the internal walls between 0.15 to 0.6 metres wide. The exterior was coated with an asphalt damp course and surrounded by a 0.15 metre brick wall. The roof was usually flush with the ground surface and up to 4.34 metres of earth was mounded on top. The guardhouses were designed to resemble bungalows. They were single-storey buildings capped with a flat, concrete roof, above which a pitched roof contained water tanks. They were generally constructed of brick, but were built to blend in with the local architectural style. The guard rooms also contained an armoury, store, rest room and lavatories. Those associated with underground operations blocks featured a projecting rear annex that housed a stairwell leading down to an access tunnel. (3-5)

Aerial photography from 1995 shows that a sealed bunker survives at the site. The cabling system is still visible as a series of rectilinear parchmarks. (6)

RAF Beachy Head was constructed by George Wimpy, a local civil engineering contractor, in 1952. It became operational in January 1953. The station was put on standby on 01-NOV-1957 and closed in 1960. The guardhouse was occupied by the police and the remaining surface features of the site were removed from 1963. The guardhouse was demolished in 1996. The underground bunker was stripped of its equipment in 1960, with access available through a manhole. However by 2001, due to repeated vandalism the bunker was eventually sealed and closed off permanently. (7)

The structural remains of the WW2 Coastal Defence/Chain Home Low (CD/CHL) radar station centred at TV 5879 9565 and described by the previous authority have been recorded and mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: South Downs NMP project. RAF aerial photographs taken between 1942 and 1946 record the evolving nature of the site through the war. The site also recorded as the location of a radar station (established in 1943) recorded in Monument Record Number: 1478995. It is not clear which elements of the site belong to which phase. The main elements of the site comprise a group of buildings (huts surrounded by a secondary wall) located immediately to the north-east and south of an existing house at TV 5881 9567. Two further groups of buildings (some with additional walls protecting huts) were also noted. One group recorded on photographs taken in 1942 were centred at TV 5876 9560, and another group recorded in 1946 at TV 5868 9553. The outlines of these buildings have been seen as parchmarks on vertical photographs taken in 2008.
Further buildings were also located to the north of the Beachy Head Road at TV 5879 9571. A line of barbed wire enclosed

A mast was located at TV 5890 9565 and a directional receiver at TV 5886 9562. The site was surrounded by barbed wire obstructions which extended down to the cliff edge, the outline of the enclosed area changing through the course of the war. Gun emplacements were located across the site, also changing in location through the war. (8-11)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 7. Acoustics and radar: England's early warning systems 1915-1945
Source details :
Page(s) : 167
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Source Number : 2
Source : Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two radar stations
Source details :
Page(s) : 89
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Source Number : 11
Source : Light detection and ranging (lidar) airborne survey
Source details : LIDAR TV5894 Environment Agency D0090187 08-FEB-2008
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Source Number : 3
Source : Cold War: Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989
Source details :
Page(s) : 86-110
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Source Number : 4
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume XI.1. The Cold War (text)
Source details :
Page(s) : 36-72
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Source Number : 5
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume XI.2. The Cold War (Appendices)
Source details :
Page(s) : 155
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Source Number : 6
Source : Twentieth Century Military Recording Project: Cold War Rotor Stations
Source details :
Page(s) : 60
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Source Number : 7
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Subterranea Britannica, 1997-2001. RAF Beachy Head <> Updated on 10-OCT-2001 [Accessed on 07-JAN-2009]
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Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF HLA/435 6016 28-MAR-1942
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Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF/106G/UK/1725 3032 10-SEP-1946
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Source Number : 10
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1947 4009 22-JAN-1947
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Closed in 1960
Monument End Date : 1960
Monument Start Date : 1950
Monument Type : Radar Station, Operations Block
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Subterranean Feature
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Built in 1941
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1941
Monument Type : Chain Home Station, Radar Station, Building, Gun Emplacement, Barbed Wire Obstruction
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Demolished Structure, Levelled Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (East Sussex)
External Cross Reference Number : MES 16228/1508
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TV 59 NE 365
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1478995
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1488136
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: SOUTH DOWNS PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31