Oral History Introduction

We are pleased to be able to research and develop an oral history about the life and times of Bawdsey Radar Station and those involved in and around the establishment. This project has been made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund. For more information about the fund please click here.

The following extract is an example of how Bawdsey Radar wish to collect & publish the first hand accounts of time past at the radar station making up part of our Oral History Collection. The collection comprises both first hand audio interviews and also artefacts and written accounts of life and times at Bawdsey.

Hilda – Radar Operator at Bawdsey:

During World War II, I trained as a Radar Operator and in 1943 I was posted to Bawdsey Manor. I understood at the time that Hitler did not know what this place was, despite the radio masts, and it was not a target for bombers, so while I was there we only received two stray bombs, one of which caused damage to one of the Red Towers on the Manor but there were no casualties.

The WAAF girls occupied the first floor of the Manor House, while the men lived in wooden huts in the grounds. We worked in the Receiver Block, a building with no windows and only one door, where the only people allowed in were the operators and mechanics with an Officer in charge. We worked in four shifts over 24 hours, with most of our free time being spent in having a meal and sleeping.

As far as I remember, the crew each time consisted of three operators, two mechanics and the Officer in charge. One operator would sit in front of the receiving screen wearing a headset and mouthpiece which was connected to the main Plotting Room at Fighter Command, and she would be reporting every movement that she saw on the screen using a special formula of words and symbols.

To read the rest of this account please click here.

If you spent time at Bawdsey Radar Station or have stories to tell about events in and around the station please do get in touch with us!

Oral History Collection

On this website you can read more about and hear experiences from our contributors by visiting the various sections.

The full sound recording files from our Oral History project have been sent to the Essex Record Office, the Suffolk Record Office, ‘War-Experience Centre’ in Leeds and the Imperial War Museum in London.

We recommend that you call to verify availability of the records in question before visiting any of these establishments.

Reg-Mann-17yrs-T

Reg Mann

Radar fitter at Bawdsey 1946-1947

Dangerous operations by radar fitter at Bawdsey 1946

Olivia Davies

Olivia Davies

Radar operator at Bawdsey 1943 to 1945

Bawdsey’s “luxury” accommodation

Joyce-Curtis-with-sparks-badge-T

Joyce Curtis

WW2 Radar operator

Bombed by an aircraft categorised as “friendly”

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