Unit History: RAF West Beckham
RAF West Beckham a former Chain Home Radar base located in Norfolk, England. RAF West Beckham opened in 1938 and closed in 1958.
RAF West Beckham was located between the towns of Sheringham and Holt in Norfolk, England. The base was large and included a transmitter site, receiver site, generator site, underground rooms as well as two camps for base personnel to live in.
During World War II, several WAAFs were based here and the Marl Pit WAAF camp located in nearby Lower Bodham is well known to the local population.
The base Commander during World War II was a famous dance band leader from London called Marius B. Winter. He was born in 1898 and died in 1956. His was the first dance band to play live on the radio anywhere in the world. During the 1920s and 1930s he was very famous. Some of his videos can be found on YouTube and other sites.
Due to his background in the entertainment industry he was able to get good people in to entertain the people at the camp. Every Sunday night, a dance would be held which was popular with the RAF, Army and locals alike.
During the war shift changes at RAF West Beckham were at 8 am, 1 pm and 6 pm.
After World War II when staffing had not been an issue, the base was wound down. During the war the base had large amounts of security including Royal Norfolk Regiment troops. After the war just a handful of Military Police were considered enough.
Arthur C. Clarke served at the base while doing National Service.
The last base Commander was Group Captain Jones who was in Command from 1954 to 1958.
The base had close links with local fighter station RAF Matlaske.
RAF West Beckham was under overall control of the Coltishall sector. Daily trips to RAF Coltishall were made for supplies.
There were four metal transmitter pylons which were 360 feet (110 m) high and four wooden receiver pylons which were 260 ft (79 m) high. The pylons were taken down in the early 1960s.
The base fence lasted until the early 1980s by when it had almost rusted away.
Today the base is in private ownership. Many buildings remain.
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