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Unit History: RAF Wartling

RAF Wartling became operational in 1941 as a radar station. In 1943 it was fitted with a larger type of radar which consisted of a rotating aerial array with both the transmitter and receiver beneath the array. RAF Wartling and its radar played a crucial part in the war, tracking, intercepting and thereby enabling the destruction of some 380 V1 (the so-called Doodlebug) flying bombs.
RAF Wartling remained in service after the war but with the advent of atomic weapons and the possibility of global nuclear war, early detection systems had to be radically upgraded, along with an entire shift in the design and construction of the buildings that were to house these detection systems. Cold War ROTOR buildings began to replace Second World War GCI radar stations and by 1955 RAF Wartling has been rebuilt as a R3 ROTOR station, complete with an underground bunker and guardhouse. Like all ROTOR stations, RAF Wartling was never designed to withstand the detonation of a direct nuclear hit, but in the event of the outbreak of nuclear war RAF Wartling would have enabled personnel within the station to continue with strategic planning before, during and after such an event. RAF Wartling faced serious problems due to water seepage during construction, and since decommission in 1976, the various buildings that formed RAF Wartling were either sold privately and converted or, as in the case of the underground bunker, abandoned. The water seepage problem reasserted itself, resulting in large areas of the bunker being flooded.

Forces Reunited Gallery Images Matching RAF Wartling

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Memories of RAF Wartling

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

RAF Sopley & RAF Wartling in 1952

Written by Ron James ( TAFF )

Travelled to working site at RAF Sopley , from domestic site at RAF Ibsley , & within a few minutes we were all hurried away to a field nearby to guard one of the first of the `V BOMBERS` ( A Valiant ) which had crashed . I was armed with a broken piece of tree branch. What exactly happened I still have no idea .Rumour was that they cut their engine (s) and could not restart. Another was that in restarting the engine (s) exploded.
When stationed at RAF Wartling , I & others were sent to BRADWELL on SEA, ESSEX, which was badly affected by flooding. We spent weeks filling sandbags with mud to try to hold back sea. We were surprised by two Meteors flying low and `Buzzing `us. Of course no sound preceded them so I, and quite a few others , ended up on our `butts ` in the mud . No means of cleaning ourselves until back at camp a week later. Whilst there we slept on the floor of church hall with one blanket each.

Forces Reunited Forum Posts Involving RAF Wartling

"...a huge old house on the main road leading out of Brighton. Vast grounds and staffed by some regulars who were seeing their time out and enjoying a very cushy posting. I went on two annual attachments, one to RAF Marham in Norfolk and the other to RAF Wartling in East Sussex. The squadron, like so many others, was closed down after about three years and the house was demolished and a big block of luxury flats built on the site. Such is progress ! "
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"Looking for Jim Wood RAF Wartling 1954-1956"
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Active From: 1941 - 1976

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