Barry Dawson revisits
RAF West Beckham after 60 years

 

 

 

 


RAF WEST BECKHAM 'A' SITE    CH (CHAIN HOME)    Grid Ref: 140 - 388

From page 1 of Barry's memoires: 'In 1947 I was allocated to CH at 'A' Site West Beckham for the first few days, where I was introduced to the 'K' Type equipment, which was ex-naval ships gear situated above ground in a couple of huts under one of the steel towers. The operators display was similar to the CHL PPI, but here similarity ended. The wavelength was ten centimetres, and the transmitted power reached a rotating parabola mounted half-way up the tower, by passing up a hollow waveguide of internal dimension ten centimetres by two centimetres, closed by a mica window at the parabola end. Air pressure was maintained in the waveguide to keep out damp air by a compressor in the 'engine room,' so called because of the difference between the power systems of CHL and K Type. With CH or CHL you simply entered the receiver room and operated switches connected to the normal mains supply. K Type was designed for use on ships where basic electrical supply is not 200-220v 50Hertz. To fire-up this gear, your first job was to operate the star/delta switch for the compressor. The second was to operate another star/delta switch, starting a generator of 200-220v which provided the proper output voltage and frequency required by the naval generator to provide all necessary power to the transmitter and receiver. K Type was originally installed to detect the low-flying aircraft that CH could not, but for about the first fifteen miles from the station out to sea, it detected the tops of high waves, flocks of birds, the Goodwin Sands and ships.'

On June 28th 2010, Barry and his wife Frances returned with Val Fiddian to look at the present-day 'A' site. The captions and the two lowest photos are his, the rest Val's.


The Main Gate entrance with the original gateposts.
Looking east with roof of the Guard room visible.

Looking East, acloser look at the overgrown Guard Room.

 

The guard room, looking West.

Looking West from further into the site. Married Quarters on the left,
guard room just visible. (Flight Sergeant Sweet in married quarters).

 

above: This would have been the view, approaching 'A' site from the North.

On the right-hand tower, half way up, is a 10 foot aerial dish for 'K' type Centrimetric gear; as would have been fitted on the tower at BardHill before demolition.

 

A tower similar to those at West Beckham, with the married quarters to the left and the guard room to the right.

This tower (at Stenigot, Lincs) is used by the RAF today for training.

Back to Page 1 of Barry's Memoires