RAF Bawburgh - RGHQ 4.1

Text © Copyright Evelyn Simak, March 2016
Images are under a separate Creative Commons Licence.

In the aftermath of WW2 the continued role of RAF Fighter Command was to protect the UK from air attack but its target had changed from Germany to the Soviet Union, as relations between the USSR and Western governments had deteriorated rapidly. The Russian blockade of Berlin had only been lifted a few months ago, when on 29 August 1949 the USSR detonated a nuclear test bomb in the steppes of north-east Kazakhstan and RAF Air Defence, with growing alarm, decided to upgrade the obsolete Chain Home radar network which still formed the bedrock of British air defence capability. The extensive, elaborate and very costly air defence radar system built by the British Government in the early 1950s in an attempt to counter possible nuclear attacks was given the name 'Rotor'. Believed to have been the largest ever government contract awarded to a UK firm, the contract was given to the Marconi Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company, based in London. To begin with, the project mainly used already existing war era radar installations, albeit only briefly, before these were replaced by an upgraded radar system called Type-80 (code-named "Green Garlic") which was found to be much more efficient than expected.

In its heyday, the network comprised 60-odd sites for Centimetric Early Warning (CEW) radar and Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) radar, and at the top of the Rotor hierarchy four new bunkers were constructed. The existing RAF Fighter Command structure was re-arranged into six Sector Operational Commands (SOCs), splitting the UK into six designated command areas with the Scottish sector SOC at Barnton Quarry on the north-western edge of the City of Edinburgh; the Northern Sector SOC at Shipton in North Yorkshire; the Metropolitan Sector SOC at Kelvedon Hatch in the Brentwood district of Essex; the Southern Sector SOC at a re-used WW2 site near the small village of Box in the Stroud district of Gloucestershire; and the Western Sector SOC at a re-used WW2 site at Langley Lane near the small village of Goosnargh near the City of Preston in Lancashire (the bunker there was however never used).

The SOCs were tasked with exercising intermediate control and reporting functions under Fighter Command HQ at Bentley Priory near Bushey Heath in Hertfordshire. Fighter Command HQ and the SOCs both received raw data from various sources such as radar stations, Royal Observer Corp Group headquarters and "Y" listening stations (secret signals intelligence collection sites), conveyed via an extensive system of telephone land lines for which the GPO was responsible. After filtering in order to remove anomalies this data would be forwarded to the SOCs responsible for the actual fighter control and interception.

TG1608 : The Bungalow by Evelyn Simak

The Eastern Sector SOC was located just within the parish boundary of Bawburgh. Its location, like all the others, was of course top secret, but it can safely be assumed that local residents were well aware of such a large construction with work continuing over many months, day and night (it took seven months to construct a similar bunker at Kelvedon Hatch), not to mention the transportation of the staff that worked there around the clock once the bunker was completed. Bawburgh is a picturesque village in the district of South Norfolk and located about eight kilometres (5 miles) west of Norwich city centre, with the main settlement of the parish being located on the southern bank of the River Yare. The village is probably best known for its association with Saint Walstan > Link - honoured as the patron saint of farm workers, farmers and farm animals. The parish shares some of its boundary with Colney which adjoins in the south-east. Part of the University of East Anglia > Link is located in Colney, as are the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the John Innes Centre and the Institute of Food Research. Despite its long association with the secret military site within its parish however, one searches for it in vain on the many pages covering Bawburgh's village history, where it simply does not exist.

The Bawburgh Rotor radar station, imposed by the government without plans of it being integrated into the local community, had been built on pristine farmland, altering centuries of agricultural use and heralding many changes in the surrounding landscape. The main site (comprising a large underground bunker, a guardroom, a generator house and an electrical substation as well as a high mast of steel construction carrying an assortment of aerials) is perched on top of a sandy hillside surrounded by farmland where crops once used to be grown and pigs once used to be kept. It is bounded by the River Yare and its floodplain in the north > Link and the busy A47 road in the west. The GreenAcres woodland burial ground > Link , opened in 1999 and spread out over 16 acres, adjoins in the east. At the time the location had been chosen for the establishment of a radar installation the A47 had however not yet been planned let alone constructed and in fact no road, not even a minor one, ran along its present course. Most of the trees in Colney Wood, where GreenAcres is now located and which then formed part of the Colney Estate, were felled in the mid-1950s, with the timber being used in furniture production and the area was replanted mainly with pine trees. Colney Hall, then the home of the Barclays, was nestled within the wood and surrounded by an extensive landscaped park and gardens featuring an aviary, grottos and a man-made cave, and for some time two pet African lions, Mitzi and Fritzi, the gift of a German count, until one of them killed Terence Henry Ford Barclay, Hugh Gurney Barclay's eldest son. Terence is remembered in one of the four stained glass windows presented to Colney St Andrew's church by his father. He is buried on the Barclay family plot in St Andrew's churchyard, just to the north-west of the tower.

TG1807 : St Andrew's church in Colney by Evelyn Simak TG1807 : St Andrew's church in Colney - Victorian glass by Evelyn Simak TG1807 : The Barclay family plot by Evelyn Simak

As the threat of an attack was deemed to be higher on the east coast, the operations rooms of the Rotor radar stations constructed in the eastern counties were contained within underground concrete bunkers referred to as R1 for single level, R2, R3 and R4. Designed to afford the operators and the delicate electronic equipment a certain degree of protection from a close proximity 20 megaton nuclear strike, these bunkers had concrete walls, ceilings and floors three metres thick, an independent water supply from an on site bore hole, emergency generators as well as specially filtered air conditioning systems. For their construction the ground was excavated to a depth of almost 40 metres (125ft) and a seven metres (20ft) thick layer of gravel was placed at the bottom of the excavation to act as an absorber to counteract the shock wave created by a nuclear blast. All the supporting walls were reinforced by tungsten rods placed at 15 centimetre (6in) intervals to give additional strength, and the outer walls were covered in brickwork and a layer of wire netting soaked in pitch. This measure not only prevented water ingress but also created a Faraday Cage > LinkExternal link , ie it prevented any electronic equipment housed in the bunker from being susceptible to the electro-magnetic pulse caused by a nuclear detonation. Furthermore, all the internal doors were lined with metal for further protection of the equipment, and the top of the structure was covered with concrete rafts and a 4.5 metres (15ft) thick layer of soil.

TG1608 : View towards the top of the bunker by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : The top level of the bunker by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Bunker and communications mast by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Ventilation shafts emerging from the ground by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : View towards the top level of the bunker by Evelyn Simak

The interior is described as having comprised an operations room which occupied the full height of the structure, with information displayed on the wall at one end and a large display of table maps on the floor. Against the other three walls there were a number of control cabins overlooking the displays. The upper level cabins were occupied by the senior officers, and the ground executive controlling the radar, and the air executive which directed the airborne aircraft and interceptions occupied the middle level cabins. In addition the bunker was equipped with rest rooms and toilets, a kitchen, duty rooms and rooms for GPO telephone equipment and teleprinters. (Source: History of RAF Bawburgh "A Watch" Reunions by Brian Cort and Brian Hopwood, 2010). Brian Cort, who worked at the station in the mid-1950s, recalls that the only incoming information was via a secure GPO landline and RT ground to air transmissions, and that the bunker was self-sufficient in that it had a nearby auxiliary back-up generator.

The compound was surrounded by a high security fence and a guardhouse protected the site entrance. At Bawburgh the old telephone extension bell is still in place, and below it a rusty box perhaps still containing a telephone can be seen affixed to the gate post beside the entrance nearest to the guardhouse which is located at the end of a long driveway and behind three security fences, each topped with three strands of barbed wire. The building appears to be in good condition. The standard 1950s Rotor guardhouse, commonly referred to as "The Bungalow" because it was designed to look like an ordinary bungalow so as to disguise its real purpose, and more importantly the fact that it concealed an underground access corridor leading into the bunker, has many features in common with GPO telephone exchanges of the time. The Bungalow is a single-storey building with a circular fanlight at each end, a pitched tile roof, and a verandah out front. A square stairwell and plant entrance with a flat roof and the appearance of a one-car garage, albeit an unusually high one, adjoins. Internally the building featured a guardroom, an armoury, stores and a toilet. This type of guardhouse is a distinctive feature found on every SOC site, and usually the main give away.

TG1608 : Green sheeting for privacy by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Telephone extension box on the gatepost by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : ROTOR Radar station guardroom by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Bungalow beside the GreenAcres woodland burial ground by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Guardroom disguised as a bungalow by Evelyn Simak

The RAF vacated Bawburgh in the late 1950s and when the policy of Regional Seats of Government (RSG) was introduced, the radar station was re-fitted and utilised as a Sub Regional Headquarters (SRH). After a fundamental review of home defence it then served for some time as a Sub Regional Control (SRC) assigned the designation SRC4.1, and following yet another reshuffle was finally designated SRHQ4.1, an evolution from the earlier SRHs and SRCs. The planned nominal holding for SRCs in the event of an emergency was for a staff of 220, requiring 220 beds, mainly in two and three tier bunks and provided with two blankets, four sheets and two pillows. Other standard furniture comprised 156 desks, 100 waste paper bins, 200 ashtrays and 24 Elsan (chemical) toilets. Every staff member would be issued with a knife, fork and spoon which they were expected to wash up themselves. They were also expected to make their own beds as domestic help was not available. The R3 bunker, which until then had consisted of three levels, was subsequently converted to R4 status by the addition of a fourth level so as to accommodate a canteen and more dormitories, and a generator on top. The reliance on a single generator had apparently always been perceived to be the site's main weakness, which begs the question whether the off-site standby generators were perhaps not in working order, unless personnel were unaware of its existence. More domestic areas were situated on the third level below. The second level housed offices, and plant and communications equipment was situated on level 1 at the bottom of the structure. Some excellent pictures of the interior as it is now were taken by Norwich photographer Dibs McCallum and can be seen here > LinkExternal link.

In 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) had just begun to build a barbed wire and concrete "antifascist bulwark" separating East and West Berlin, thus intensifying the Berlin Crisis. The SRHQs, of which Bawburgh was one, were tasked with taking strategic control of the remaining civil defence organisation after an attack, with the aim to conserve resources for longer-term survival rather than short-term aid to the hardest hit areas. The existence of the entire network was however threatened in 1963, when a small group of activists, the "Spies for Peace", discovered the location of one of these sites and handed out leaflets not only exposing the government's network of secret bunkers to supporters of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on the occasion of their annual Easter protest march, but also giving directions to the nearest such bunker, which happened to be the RSG6 at Warren Row near Henley on Thames. The group made front page news but the press was soon served a D-Notice preventing any further reporting. In the wake of the political scandal, the Joint Intelligence Committee suggested that the RSGs should be abandoned, as they would no doubt now be potential targets in a future war. The "Spies For Peace" were never caught, but after his death in 2000 it was revealed that the writer, speaker and activist Nicholas Hardy Walter had been a member.

In 1968, Bawburgh became the Regional Seat of Government (RGHQ) for Region 4 Eastern, officially referred to as RGHQ4.1 (RGHQ4.2 was accommodated in a former Royal Observer Corps Group Control Bunker at Bedford). In the event of a nuclear strike the RGHQs' scientific teams would have been tasked with establishing contact with the Regional Emergency Committee, the local authorities and other wartime establishments, gathering information about the scale and pattern of the attack, the intensity and fallout paths and the probable extent of damage and casualties. The departmental teams were to assess the information they received and apply it to their respective services. There were many exercises to prepare for an emergency, but thankfully an attack never happened.

On 9 November 1989, almost three decades after it had been built, the Berlin Wall started to crumble due to Erich Honecker, the head of the East German Communist Party, announcing that citizens of the GDR were now allowed to cross the border whenever they pleased and ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall, which to this day remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War. When Boris Yeltsin, the then president of the Russian Republic, on 9 December 1991 formed the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Cold War, which had lasted for 45 years, was finally over. The Bawburgh RGHQ, along with many other Cold War installations, was decommissioned and sold off in 1994. Ever since, the site has been owned by Highpoint Radio Communications Ltd, a private company based at Wymondham who are reportedly using the surface compound as a radio transmitter site and the underground areas either for storage or not at all, depending on one's source of information. Whether any of this information is indeed true cannot be confirmed, as there is no sign on the always firmly locked gate announcing the owner's name, nor is there a notice indicating the current use of the property or advising whom to contact in the event of an emergency. The high wire-mesh fence surrounding the property is still topped with several strands of barbed wire, probably original, and reinforced at strategic points with coils of razor wire, presumably to deter vandals from entering. Trees and shrubs obscure the view into the property but the tall steel mast at least can quite readily be seen even from a distance. The four rods on top would seem to be a vertical (VHF) dipole aerial commonly used for radio communications.

TG1607 : Meadow between Colney Wood and the A47 road by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Communications mast beside the A47 road by Evelyn Simak TG1607 : Anonymous entrance by Evelyn Simak TG1607 : Site security measures by Evelyn Simak TG1607 : The A47 road past Colney by Evelyn Simak

Despite having been decommissioned more than three decades ago the site is still steeped in mystery, probably due to some extent to the fact that its owners do not permit access, but also because detailed information would not seem to be available. When in around 1989 the relevant files were released to the Public Records Office, now the National Archives (the repository of the national archives for the United Kingdom, including many records of the Ministry of Defence), Brian Cort found the records covering the period from 1955 to 1957 to be rather basic. On consulting with an RAF archivist he was furthermore advised that on the occasion of moving boxes containing thousands of photographs to new storage facilities no pictures relating to RAF Bawburgh were found, and that the relevant indexes had been destroyed. This does of course not mean that pictures do not exist but rather that they will be extremely difficult to locate.

Due to access being denied, the surface buildings cannot be visited and the bunker too is out of bounds, with its entrances believed to have been secured with heavy steel sheeting, but the footpaths traversing the woodland burial ground adjoining the former RGHQ compound in the east offer glimpses of the structures, especially during the winter months when the trees are bare. The two circular filtering tanks on the hillside to the north of the bunker, the RGHQ's own and now disused sewage works or rather its rotating biological contactor (urine filter beds), for instance, are situated right beside the perimeter fence, as is the guardhouse, which is marked on current maps as The Bungalow. The uppermost and above-ground top of the bunker and its emergency exit, as well as what would appear to be a ventilation intake shaft can also clearly be seen due to their elevated position, whereas a view of the electricity substation is slightly obscured by a stand of mature pine trees. A large covered ground-level water tank constructed from bolted-together panels and serving as a fire fighting emergency supply is also located next to the fence, sections of which are covered with green plastic sheeting, presumably to provide some privacy for the bereaved who come to visit the graves of loved ones.

According to Steve Fox's paper Struggle for Survival, File 11 > LinkExternal link the bunker had been in poor condition and was in the process of being refurbished at the time all work was stopped on civil defence projects in 1990, and the generator was not in working order. Due to access being consistently denied by the current owners even to people who used to work "down the hole", as one of them aptly put it, the present condition of the bunker and the other buildings on the property cannot be ascertained, but after having stood empty and disused for more than two decades it may safely be assumed that their condition has further deteriorated. Signs of deterioration and neglect such as peeling paint and damaged doors can indeed clearly be discerned even from a distance.

TG1608 : Urine filter beds by Evelyn Simak

TG1608 : A covered water tank by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Water tank (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Emergency water supply by Evelyn Simak

TG1608 : Disused electricity substation by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Former electricity substation by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Electricity substation (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Old electricity substation by Evelyn Simak TG1608 : Old electricity substation by Evelyn Simak

Several other, also long since disused structures associated with the main site have survived in the vicinity in various conditions of dereliction. A standby generator house and an electricity substation, all situated within a range of about 1500 metres from the bunker, are still standing. Interestingly, the standby generator houses (they contained diesel generators, which in the event of the on-site generator's failure would have supplied the main site's, ie the bunker's electricity, like the guardrooms constructed in the same period (early 1950s) were built to a standard design intended to conceal their real purpose, but whereas the latter were constructed to look like ordinary bungalows, the standby set houses resembled chapels, at least from a distance. A closer look would undoubtedly have revealed a number of anomalies, with the numerous ventilation openings probably being the main give away, not to mention the adjacent concrete bund enclosed by a low brick wall where the diesel fuel tanks stood. Although RAF Bawburgh's standby set house has survived at Hall Farm in Colney, which has in fact long since ceased to be a working farm, it is difficult to assess its condition. Sadly, the current owner would not appear to be interested in history and has done nothing over the years to prevent the structure from deteriorating, as it is now so overgrown with ivy and so hemmed in by trees that it can hardly be seen at all.

TG1707 : Hall Farm, Colney by Evelyn Simak TG1707 : Farm buildings at Colney by Evelyn Simak TG1707 : Hiding in dense vegetation by Evelyn Simak

Thankfully, the Grade II listed standby generator house at RAF Neatishead in North Norfolk, which it closely resembles, has survived in much better condition, as is apparent from the photographs below. According to the listing text, the brick-built structure consists of a rectangular, double height generator hall with a tower attached to one end. The pantiled roofs over the hall and tower are steeply pitched, with the main roof sweeping down to form a cat-slide over a small porch like projection at one corner. The main entrance with access to the generator hall was through high double doors adjacent to a projecting brick flue. On the other side of the flue the two-storey belfry-like tower adjoins. It has a pair of wooden planked doors on the ground floor and a large opening with double doors higher up. At the gable end a row of four air-tile vents can be seen and further openings, all providing ventilation to the generator hall, are set into the side walls. Massive reinforced concrete beams supporting a gantry crane complete with lifting tackle divided the generator hall into four bays. The roof above is described as being of a simple coupled rafter construction. The generator and transformers have long since been removed, after which time the building was used for farm storage. (Source: Cocroft, W D & Thomas, R J C, Cold War. Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989, English Heritage)

TG3420 : Not a chapel by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Louvred shutters by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : It looks like a chapel by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Flue opening by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Brick chimney by Evelyn Simak

TG3420 : 1950s generator house by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Generator house (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Dangerous Structure - Keep Out by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Reflections in a Crittal window by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : The "bell tower" by Evelyn Simak TG3420 : Old generator house by Evelyn Simak

When, after the death of Captain Evelyn Hugh Barclay in September 1956 the Colney Estate was sold by auction on 6 September 1957, Hall Farm was one of the many lots featured in the sales catalogue. Since the mid-1930s the Wilsons of Manor Farm, Kirby Bedon, had lived there as the tenant farmers and they continued to farm at Colney until 1967, ten years after the estate had been sold, in 1957, to the Eagle Star Insurance Company who had kept them on as tenants. Although all the farm buildings, including a dairy, stables, a Danish piggery and a joiner's shop, feature in the 1957 sales catalogue there is no mention of a generator house. However, an area of rectangular proportions located on the edge of Limekiln Wood, a small wood adjacent to the farm in the north-west, is picked out in a different colour and appears in the small print as "not owned". This must be the fenced off compound within which the generator house then stood. Specifically built for use by the RAF it had, of course, never been part of the farm at the time of the sale, and more importantly, its location had been top secret.

Although these buildings are being described as rare examples of early 1950s Rotor period radar standby generator houses no efforts would seem to have been undertaken locally to record or perhaps even try and preserve this quite unique and certainly unusual structure. It was apparently not even deemed worthy of a mention by the county's archaeologists and recorders, unless or course they are unaware of its existence or have perhaps confused it with a farm building. That this may indeed have been the case is not as far fetched as it may seem: all that the NHER recorders saw when assessing the 21 photographs taken in 2001 presumably by a Council photographer and depicting the various buildings at Hall Farm, were "19th or early 20th century buildings, some of brick, some of flint, some with interesting ventilators and other details". (Source: E Rose, August 2007). Despite one of these pictures clearly showing the generator house with its characteristic "bell tower", none of the specialists actually "saw" it.

There is no information as to whether the brick-built substation on the south side of Watton Road, the main road linking Colney and Bawburgh, only a short distance away from the standby generator house, was in any way associated with the RGHQ further down the road.

TG1707 : Disused electricity substation by Evelyn Simak TG1707 : Old electricity substation by Evelyn Simak TG1707 : Electricity substation by Evelyn Simak TG1707 : Substation in Watton Road by Evelyn Simak TG1707 : Entrance to electricity substation by Evelyn Simak

In the early days, when the Eastern Sector Operational Command was under RAF control, it was served by an off-site transmitter and receiver station, both situated further to the south-west and near to the villages of Bawburgh and Little Melton, respectively. Today, the two buildings on the transmitter site stand empty and disused in a field north of Watton Road (B1108) from where they can be seen in the passing. The larger building was the main transmitter hall and consisted of a kitchen, a workshop, a store room and a toilet. After the RAF had vacated the station in the late 1950s this building was surplus to requirements and consequently sold to a local farmer who converted it for agricultural use. For some time it housed pigs, as the pig-sties it still contains attest. It is adjoined by a much smaller building which accommodated the station's Lister diesel emergency generator. Too small for farm use it has stood empty ever since the station was closed for good. The 23 metres (75ft) high wooden aerial mast which stood beside the buildings has long since been removed, as has the fence which once surrounded the compound.

TG1507 : Military buildings north of Watton Road by Evelyn Simak TG1507 : Disused building north of Watton Road by Evelyn Simak TG1507 : Barred windows by Evelyn Simak TG1507 : Disused military building by Evelyn Simak TG1507 : Disused generator shed by Evelyn Simak

A short distance further along the road a public footpath turns off Watton Road, leading south from Bawburgh Hill to Mill Road in the village of Little Melton. The receiver station, comprising a set of buildings similar to the transmitter station across the field, was located at the end of this footpath, about 700 metres SSW and within sight of the latter. No trace remains today as its location is now occupied by Little Melton's village hall and an adjacent children's play area. Local resident David Gouldy recalls that as a boy he used to pay regular visits to the friendly RAF men working shift at the stations, and how he used to listen with fascination to the operators communicating with RAF pilots on the transmitter site, and to pilots speaking out of the ether at the receiver site.

JF Stenning, who was stationed at Bawburgh in 1954/55, recalls that both stations were manned 24 hours/day, seven days a week. The approximately 40 RAF personnel on "A Watch" were accommodated at RAF Horsham St Faith, where Norwich International Airport is now located, and transported to work every day by bus. Anyone working shifts at the transmitter or the nearby receiver station travelled to their workplace by bicycle, though, setting out from the above mentioned guardhouse "bungalow" on the main site.

TG1507 : Public footpath to Watton Road by Evelyn Simak TG1507 : The village hall at Little Melton by Evelyn Simak

According to Historic England "the bunkers at Rotor sites were among the first structures in England to be designed to accommodate computers. Other significant and distinctive features included the suspended floors; beneath which cabling could be carried, and large and complex air conditioning systems to remove the heat generated by the electronic valves used in the early control consoles. Rotor sites also reflect the influence of pre-war and wartime German military architecture on post-war design, with for example, the use of bungalow-like guardrooms and generator buildings resembling chapels. There were 54 radar stations within the Rotor scheme in England, of which about 35 were new constructions. There are now only eight surviving examples known nationally, a small group which serve to illustrate the different aspects of technological changes and developments throughout the Cold War."

A number of these structures, including the R3 Rotor radar bunker at Neatishead, are now listed or scheduled because of their national importance, but not the R4 RGHQ bunker at Bawburgh. On the relevant page of the Norfolk Heritage Explorer, available online, the summary text referring to the "Eastern region radar headquarters and regional seat of government" is three sentences long and the "full description" consists of all but one sentence, and a grave error: for some inexplicable reason the recorder added two imaginary levels to the bunker, making it "six levels deep". The existence of any of the associated sites and structures remains unacknowledged and presumably unknown - and hence undocumented: "Associated Finds - none. Protected Status - none. Related Records - none." LinkExternal link

A pillbox dating from the Second World War (and therefore unrelated to the radar installation) has survived in an unnamed wood west of Bawburgh Road. An aerial view taken in 1946 shows that the pillbox at the time stood out in the open on the edge of a crop field; the wood that now hides it from view had as yet to be planted.

TG1407 : WW2 Pillbox by Evelyn Simak TG1407 : WW2 Pillbox by Evelyn Simak TG1407 : Type F22 pillbox near Bawburgh by Evelyn Simak TG1407 : WW2 Pillbox (detail) by Evelyn Simak TG1407 : Type F22 pillbox near Bawburgh by Evelyn Simak TG1407 : Type F22 pillbox near Bawburgh by Evelyn Simak


My grateful thanks go to the Norfolk Museums Service at Gressenhall for making available a series of photographs taken in 2001, depicting the extant buildings at Hall Farm. Many thanks also to Brian Cort and Keith Oldrey, both of whom served at RAF Bawburgh in the 1950s, for kindly sharing memories.

Please note that all the sites described above are located on private property and can only be accessed by their respective owners' permission. As has already been stated above, permission to visit the former main site and the bunker situated on it has to date never been granted. It remains to be hoped that the current owners may yet have a change of mind, or that the site will be acquired by more understanding owners at some time in the future. Genuinely interested members of the public would certainly appreciate it if access were occasionally be permitted, perhaps in the form of an open day or supervised guided tours.

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