November 2021

‘Shout and Whisper’ – True Stories from personnel stationed at RAF Bawdsey


By David Heath


In August 2005, the Heritage Lottery Fund made an award to Bawdsey Radar Trust in Suffolk for an oral history project, documenting the memories and experiences of ex RAF personnel and civilians who worked at the radar station known as RAF Bawdsey.

The paperback book with a CD reveals true stories from those stationed at Bawdsey from 1936 to the day when RAF Bawdsey was officially closed on the 25th March 1991. It might surprise the reader what actually took place at times, and to quote a passage from the book:-

“The defence line was Martlesham, there was a gun mounted on the railway which was trained constantly on Bawdsey to destroy it if it was invaded – they were expendable. They were to stay there. They were given a box of grenades, a sledgehammer and small arms, and their instructions were to destroy the receiver if there was an invasion – and that is all that they had to do”.

Memories of hi-jinks escapades, humour, the rough times and the good times, it is amazing to discover what actually took place! Maybe a blind eye or two was turned!

Bawdsey sits on the shore edge of the River Deben, and to get to Felixstowe on foot you would have to catch Charlie’s Ferry – not a ferry as we know it today, but a small whaler boat. Charlie would take you across the river to what is called Felixstowe Ferry – the quay on Felixstowe side of the river. From there, an old bus would take you into Felixstowe, eventually, as Albert the driver never took the bus out of second gear!!

Most of the memories recorded are between 1936 and 1945, with the last entry recording the closing of the station in 1991 and the ceremony that took place. What other stories happened during these years is a mystery, until those that were stationed at RAF Bawdsey come forward to talk of their recollections of days gone by.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Mason


Published by Bawdsey Radar Trust

Price £7.99

ISBN: 978-0-9567680-0-1

All proceeds from this book go to the charity

Bawdsey Radar Trust no: 06474550

Available via the online shop 

Back To News
‘Shout and Whisper’ – True Stories from personnel stationed at RAF Bawdsey