Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010
Wartime radar system anniversary marked at Great Baddow

Historic radar tower in Great Baddow

The 75th anniversary of a wartime radar system which was partly developed in Essex has been celebrated.

The Chain Home Radar System technology provided the RAF a 20 minute warning when German bombers were approaching.

Around 80 radar towers standing 360 feet lined the country, including at Canewdon and Great Bromley.

Research into the technology took place in Great Baddow, which is now home to the only complete radar tower of its kind to still be in active service.

The anniversary was marked over the weekend of 27-28 February by amateur radio enthusiasts who used the mast to link up with former sites around the country.

The tower is now owned and maintained by BAE Systems. Their principle research engineer Murray Niman explained the significance of the technology.

"In 1940, just after Dunkirk, we were in a terrible state. There were only a handful of serviceable fighters and the German air force just hadn't been touched, so we were enormously outnumbered," he said.

"But by having radar always on hand telling them where they would be, it meant the few could defend against the many."

Radar mast at Great Baddow
The mast at Great Baddow used to be stationed in Canewdon

Essex's importance in the development of the radar technology was vital, according to Murray.

"The system concept occurred at Bawdsey Manor in Suffolk," he said.

"By then we had various companies such as Marconi, Cosor, EKCO in Southend, so Essex was very much the centre of electronics in its day.

"That meant the guys up in Suffolk had ready-made skills for when they had to go from a very basic concept to building 80 of these systems around the coast very quickly."

Murray added the tower at Great Baddow, which was once stationed at Canewden, is a very special example.

"Because its been kept in use, all the platforms which gives its character are intact and maintained and it's the only one like it in the country," he said.

Flood alert radar site goes live
15 Jul 09 |  Wear
Radar system spots runway debris
13 Jun 08 |  Business



Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific