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 RAF Radar Defences

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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: RAF Radar Defences   9/3/2012, 20:58

Hi there,

I'm the new guy "on the block"!

I did my National Service at Lüneburg (1955-57) - one of a few detached radar units from RAF Sundern.

Just wondering if there's anyone about who has any information on this, or perhaps like to comment on what was an important part of Western Europe's defences during the Cold War!

Jock (David)
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Les Pattenden
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Number of posts : 473
Age : 71
Localisation : Hampshire
Cap Badge : RCT
Places Served : Aldershot, Marchwood, Longmoor, Dusseldorf,Munster,Ratingen,Longmoor
Registration date : 2011-11-12

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   9/3/2012, 21:52

Hi Jock

Welcome to the site, always good to have some new blood, I am a little after your time but am sure that some of the older guys will be very interested, good luck and lets hope among the many we have a few that can help, I do know that many of the members are very that particular period

Regards Les Smile lol!
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Shelldrake
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Number of posts : 2991
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 07:43

Hi Jock,


Welcome to the site, nearest I got was being stationed at Mansergh Bks (RAF Sundern) from 81 -86.
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brum
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Number of posts : 2808
Age : 76
Localisation : Sandbach Cheshire
Cap Badge : RA/QOH
Places Served : JLRRA (Hereford) Nienburg Paderborn Colchester Munster Maresfield (Cyprus) Hohne Hemer Op Banner x4 Woolwich
Registration date : 2010-03-02

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 10:14


Oh Gawd, another Caledonian !

The Gordon will be unstoppable now !
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PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 10:37

Welcome Jock...Ignore the peasant. Laughing
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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 11:01

Thank you Gentlemen for your fine welcome!

Just wondering if it is possible to upload a photo-of-old? I've already uploaded one onto Photobucket, but no signs of it on the Preview
It is of the site I was stationed on . . . just a few miles from the Iron Curtain . . . and nice and near Hamburg!

Jock (David)

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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 11:17


Managed it . . . 114 Signals Unit, detached from RAF Sundern (now Mansergh and no longer RAF)





Happy days . . . Jock (David)

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Shelldrake
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Number of posts : 2991
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 11:44

Lighthouseman wrote:
Thank you Gentlemen for your fine welcome!

Just wondering if it is possible to upload a photo-of-old? I've already uploaded one onto Photobucket, but no signs of it on the Preview
It is of the site I was stationed on . . . just a few miles from the Iron Curtain . . . and nice and near Hamburg!

Jock (David)



Don't understand the relevance that you were "Nice and near Hamburg". Is that where you lived? Neutral
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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   10/3/2012, 12:50

Hamburg was the "play area" for the Armed Forces in around north-east Bundes Germany. We were about an half-hour's train journey from there! So if you had the day off, you and your mates could go north and enjoy yourselves in and around the Reeperbahn of an evening (Red Light district)! Night-clubs and shows, etc, etc.! Of course, there were always plenty of shopping and other sights to be seen during the day . . . even if it was only 10 years after the war had ended. Unfortunately, nowadays, the Reeperbahn has been pretty-well "sanitiized". It isn't the place it used to be!

No, we were billeted in Alma Barracks with the East Lancs and the Medics. I hope to be back there in a couple of months' time!!

Jock (David)
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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 09:19

I'm sure this one has already done the rounds!

I notice that the website of baor-locations.co.uk is headed "British Army Of the Rhine"! In my day it was known as "British Army Over the Rhine". Not too much bothered about it - but it seems odd how this has come about!! The important day of the week for those around at that time was Sunday (could have been Saturday)? Anyway Jean Metcalfe (married to Cliff Mitchelmore) and her "Two-Way Family Favourites" was the programme never to be missed!! All ears were glued to the radio when it was on!

Anyway for the purposes of my research, I would like to hear from anyone who may have worked in the records section of RAF Sundern in the 1950s, who might know about the radio/signals/radar units and their history/movements within the British zone at that time? It would be great to hear from you.

Jock (David) ex 114 Signals Unit, Lüneburg

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brum
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Number of posts : 2808
Age : 76
Localisation : Sandbach Cheshire
Cap Badge : RA/QOH
Places Served : JLRRA (Hereford) Nienburg Paderborn Colchester Munster Maresfield (Cyprus) Hohne Hemer Op Banner x4 Woolwich
Registration date : 2010-03-02

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 09:39


I always understood it to be British Army ON the Rhine

I remember "Family Favorites" very well and it's theme tune "With a Smile and a Song".
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Shelldrake
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Number of posts : 2991
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 10:47

Hate to be pedantic Brum but it was, "With a Song in my Heart". I can hear it now "How's the weather in Cologne, Jean?" Happy days, never did get a request, obviously wasn't missed! Rolling Eyes
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brum
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Number of posts : 2808
Age : 76
Localisation : Sandbach Cheshire
Cap Badge : RA/QOH
Places Served : JLRRA (Hereford) Nienburg Paderborn Colchester Munster Maresfield (Cyprus) Hohne Hemer Op Banner x4 Woolwich
Registration date : 2010-03-02

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 11:45

[quote="Shelldrake"]Hate to be pedantic Brum but it was, "With a Song in my Heart".

What !? affraid

No wonder they never played my damn request !
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Goldmohur
WOII
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Number of posts : 93
Age : 76
Localisation : Doncaster
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Gutersloh, Duisburg, Bracht, Rheindahlen. Also Non BAOR, Blackdown, Corsham. Shoeburyness, Ty Croes, Aden, Bicester.
Registration date : 2007-03-10

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 16:16

Hi Lighthouseman, I think your unit might have been a tad visible to the Bolshevik Hordes Air Force.

I was a member of the first Army unit to be located in the former RAF Sundern in Sep 61.

We spent many happy hours on schemes cursing in the rain and dark to get Cammed up before dawn. Then to be shown aerial photos which tended to prove our wearisome efforts had been wasted.
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jimsigs1
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Number of posts : 1298
Age : 83
Localisation : West of England
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Harrogate 1949-52. HQ BAOR Sig Regt 1952-54, Korea 1954-55, Egypt 1955, Cyprus 1955-57, HMS Santon 1957, UK 7th Hussars 1957-59, 1st Gds Bde 1959-60, 201 Signal Sqn 1960-62, 206 Sig Sqn 1962-63, 7 Sig Regt 1963-66, 249 Sig Sqn 1966-68, 11 Sig Regt 1968-72. Retired 1972
Registration date : 2010-02-22

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 16:50

Hi Jock and welcome. Yes, I remember two way family favourites. Had a request played for my late Mum & Dad whilst in Herford 1964. I also remember that there used to be a broadcast on the old BFN around 1952 named 'Unit Call'. Anyone remember it ?
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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   11/3/2012, 19:00

Goldmohur wrote:
Hi Lighthouseman, I think your unit might have been a tad visible to the Bolshevik Hordes Air Force.

You're dead right. I was around on the Iron Curtain border in 1956 - the time of Suez and the Hungarian Uprising crises. There was a fair buzz in 2nd TAF in those days. Had the Ruskies decided to have a go at us at that time, we would have been the first to be taken out.
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JPW
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Number of posts : 1028
Age : 76
Localisation : Berkshire
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   12/3/2012, 10:03

Jock

Welcome. Always good to have new input

Regarding your query about the RAF Radar sites we did in the early years of this site have some contributions from other RAF airmen based at Sundern but who had been detached to other satellite sites (Winterberg, PUTLOS). Can you remember any of the other neighbouring RAF Radar sites who formed a defensive chain along the East German border?
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Goldmohur
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Number of posts : 93
Age : 76
Localisation : Doncaster
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Gutersloh, Duisburg, Bracht, Rheindahlen. Also Non BAOR, Blackdown, Corsham. Shoeburyness, Ty Croes, Aden, Bicester.
Registration date : 2007-03-10

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   12/3/2012, 14:52

Our unit and others arrived in Sundern and other places from England in Sep 61 as a consequence of the start of the construction of the Berlin Wall. I think I was too young and gormless to fully grasp the significance of our sudden move and what might have happened in late 61 and during 62.
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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   12/3/2012, 17:03

Yes, the history of radar in Western Europe is fairly well documented, but the very early years of how these systems developed with regards to BAOR has become obscured with the passing of time! One tends to forget that there were, in fact, TWO walls in existence. One which effectively divided Berlin city (that is, the Russian zone from the British, American and French zones), popularly known as the "Berlin Wall", and the "Iron Curtain" which separated the two Germanys. The latter, in fact, was more an elaborate network of high iron fences, ditches, guns, and a number of other ploys to keep the East Germans from defecting.

All I can say with certainty, is that once it became obvious, especially after the Berlin Blockade of 1948/49, and that a united Germany was not going to happen, the creation of the Federal (West) and Democratic (East) came into being shortly afterwards. All this was before my time!!!

When I arrived in Luneburg in September 1955, the radar site was already established. It occupied the grassy airstrip (last used during the Berlin airlift a few years earlier)! It was only about five years ago I found out that it hadn't been in that position all that long. In fact, two members of Forces Reunited said that they didn't remember any radar being there at all in the summer of 1955, so it must have arrived only weeks before I came along, OR had possibly been located nearby and when the airfield became availble, they moved to the better site!!

When I joined, they were only operational during the day but within a couple of months months (if that) we went on to a 24-watch, possibly because the Cold War was getting colder by the hour. Another of our priorities, as well as warning of a preemptive strike by the Warsaw Pact countries, was to oversee the northern air corridor between Hamburg to Berlin.

So getting back to your question - of how many of these sites guarded the Eastern Front (or should it be Western Front?). Anyway, there was a unit in Schleswig; one I believe Cuxhaven, and certainly one somewhere to the south! By 1960, I reckon most of these units had been closed down . . . superseded by more powerful radars coming on-line!

The records of movements of these detached units must still be around, surely!! There's a bit more to the story, but that will do for the moment.

Jock (David)


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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   12/3/2012, 22:25


Not too many people who served in BAOR during the Cold War era (1945-89) ever saw the actual Iron Curtain which divided East from West. Here are a few photographs taken on a family holiday in the Harz Mountains in the early 1980s.




The "wall" runs across the picture. The highest mountain in the area - the Brocken - lies about a mile or so away.
On the summit was the "eyes and ears" of the Warsaw Pact countries. State-of-the-art listening equipment.
Two can play at that game! You may have heard of the photographic effect called the "Brocken Spectre".
It was here that the phenomenon was first recorded!





One can see clearly the line of fortifications snaking its way across the countryside.
The notice on the pole, which occurred about every 20 yards or so, warns you of the border.





This is near the town of Braunlage. We parked the car about 50 yards away and wandered down this deserted highway.
No-one around, which added to the rather foreboding atmosphere! The notice says: "Warning - Middle of the Stream - Border".





This is the actual border as put up by the East Germans. Cross over and you could get shot!
The fortifications lay at least another 50 yards beyond where we were standing.


Last edited by Lighthouseman on 18/3/2012, 12:14; edited 1 time in total
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jimsigs1
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Number of posts : 1298
Age : 83
Localisation : West of England
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Harrogate 1949-52. HQ BAOR Sig Regt 1952-54, Korea 1954-55, Egypt 1955, Cyprus 1955-57, HMS Santon 1957, UK 7th Hussars 1957-59, 1st Gds Bde 1959-60, 201 Signal Sqn 1960-62, 206 Sig Sqn 1962-63, 7 Sig Regt 1963-66, 249 Sig Sqn 1966-68, 11 Sig Regt 1968-72. Retired 1972
Registration date : 2010-02-22

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   12/3/2012, 22:53

Talking about East/West Germany and the Soviets, I worked a live radio link in 1952 at a site near Bad-Oynehausen where we were eves dropping on the Soviets. Don't know what was said as it was all in alpha numeric code and had to be de-ciphered. Even remember the callsign - FAA2.
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Goldmohur
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Number of posts : 93
Age : 76
Localisation : Doncaster
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Gutersloh, Duisburg, Bracht, Rheindahlen. Also Non BAOR, Blackdown, Corsham. Shoeburyness, Ty Croes, Aden, Bicester.
Registration date : 2007-03-10

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   13/3/2012, 16:01

Very interesting!
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Shelldrake
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Number of posts : 2991
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   13/3/2012, 16:30

I remember "Magdeburg Annie", she used to call the Bingo numbers every night when I was at Grafenwohr, that would be around '68. Shocked
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JPW
Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1028
Age : 76
Localisation : Berkshire
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   13/3/2012, 16:38

Jock

Some interesting memories you have posted

How about the Royal Signals contribution based on satellite detachments from the Birgelen based 13 Signals Regiment such as Dannenburg, Langeleben, etc, think there was one in the Dad Harzburg/Goslar area at some stage but was this super secret?
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jimsigs1
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Number of posts : 1298
Age : 83
Localisation : West of England
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Harrogate 1949-52. HQ BAOR Sig Regt 1952-54, Korea 1954-55, Egypt 1955, Cyprus 1955-57, HMS Santon 1957, UK 7th Hussars 1957-59, 1st Gds Bde 1959-60, 201 Signal Sqn 1960-62, 206 Sig Sqn 1962-63, 7 Sig Regt 1963-66, 249 Sig Sqn 1966-68, 11 Sig Regt 1968-72. Retired 1972
Registration date : 2010-02-22

PostSubject: Re: RAF Radar Defences   13/3/2012, 17:00

Ah Madge, Shelldrake. When I was in Germany in '52 she would have been at school me thinks !! But we knew her Mother, Elke.
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