Record Details

NHER Number:18359
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two 'Oboe' station


A large World War Two military site, identifiable as an 'Oboe' station, is visible as a group of extant structures, buildings and earthworks on aerial photographs. The 'Oboe' navigation system was used by the RAF to navigate their bombers to enemy targets. The site, which is first visible on aerial photographs taken in May 1944, includes huts and gantries protected by blast walls, pillboxes and gun emplacements, and various ancillary structures, such as an emergency water supply tank. It is enclosed by both an inner and outer circuit of barbed wire. The station may have been maintained for use into the Cold War period, as several of its principal structures survived well as late as the 1950s, but they have since been demolished.


  • Concrete pad associated with the Scratby 'Oboe' station.  © J. & C. Gaskin
  • Concrete pad associated with the Scratby 'Oboe' station.  © J. & C. Gaskin


Grid Reference:TG 5112 1601
Map Sheet:TG51NW

Full description

Defensive structure, World War Two.
L-shaped or slightly T-shaped enclosure of red brick walls. About 6m high and 100m long in each direction.
Gap at 'heel' of L, in end wall of 'foot' and below 'heel' with clavicula. Inside 'foot' of L, pile of concrete rubble said by Pillbox Survey to be remains of pill box. Purpose? Local people say there was a radar station 'nearby'. Brick walls do not seem thick enough for defence. Some sort of compound?
Visited by E. Rose (NAU) 10 September 1982.

This is in fact very similar to remains of radar station at Salthouse (NHER 23386) and at Winterton.
E. Rose (NAU) 25 February 1987.

The figure of 100m given above must be a transcribing mistake, for notes by source [1] in file give each arm as 23m long; but confirm height as around 5m.
Still extant therefore in 1995.
E. Rose (NLA) 5 December 1995.

May 2005. Norfolk NMP.
NMP mapping has led to the alteration of the central grid reference of the site from TG 5089 1591 to TG 5111 1597.

The structure described above is part of a World War Two 'Oboe' station, visible as a group of extant structures, buildings and earthworks on aerial photographs (S1-6). Although there are some possible indications of military activity earlier in the war, centred around TG 5121 1603 (e.g. on S7), these were judged too dubious to map, and the earliest aerial photographs of the station itself date to May 1944 (S1). The site, which has been identified as the remains of an 'Oboe' station by Roger Thomas (English Heritage), is comparable to a second 'Oboe' station located approximately 2.5km northwards along the coast at Winterton (NHER 35862). Another station was housed at RAF Trimingham (NHER 6799). Parts of the site appear to have been maintained into the 1950s (S3-6), presumably for use (or possible use) during the Cold War. Part of a blast wall on the western edge of the site (at TG 5098 1592) survived until at least 1995, but all above-ground remains now appear to have been demolished. Remnants of World War Two structures recorded on the beach (NHER 41612) may have eroded from the cliff and perhaps were originally part of this site.

The main core of the site appears to be a group of structures visible at TG 5117 1599. This consists of a cluster of three long (or six short) curved or polygonal-profile, Nissen-type huts, sited parallel to each other, with something like a walkway across the centre and two gantries over the central hut (or huts). A fourth (or seventh) hut is positioned at a right angle to these, on their south-eastern side, and the whole is enclosed by a blast wall. This is presumably the 'Oboe' transmitter block. The two structures to its south-east are presumably ancillary buildings; the Nissen-type hut surrounded by a blast wall may by a Stand-By Set House (Generator Room). Buildings to the south-west, close to a probable gate in the inner circuit of barbed wire, probably include a picket post. A circular, embanked pit is likely to be a static emergency water supply, often kept for fire fighting after a bombing raid.

Outside the inner circuit of barbed wire, two huts protected by a blast wall (described above) visible at TG 5098 1592, may have housed back-up equipment for the 'Oboe' station. On the cliffs at the south-eastern corner of the site, a slightly curved building at TG 5130 1584 may be a gun emplacement, surrounded by ancillary structures such as shelters and ammunition stores, as well as a probable weapons pit. (A Type 22 pillbox, not destroyed, is listed at this approximate location in a gazetteer of Norfolk's fixed defences, (S8), but has not been identified). Of the remaining structures, earthworks and buildings, many are probably anti-invasion, and perhaps anti-aircraft, defences, such as pillboxes (e.g. at TG 5121 1594) and gun emplacements (e.g. at TG 5107 1622). The form of many is not particularly clear, and the function of some, such as the curvilinear blast wall visible on the cliff edge at TG 5124 1601, remains unknown.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 18 May 2005.

September 2012.
J. and C. Gaskin carried out a photographic survey of two concrete pads associated with the 'Oboe' station at Scratby. Local residents informed them that these concrete pads cover the entrances to an underground bunker.
C. Kolonko (HES), 19 September 2012.

Monument Types

  • BARBED WIRE OBSTRUCTION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BLAST WALL (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • GENERATOR HOUSE? (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • GUARDHOUSE? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT? (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADAR BEACON (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADAR BEACON (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • STAND BY SET HOUSE? (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • TRANSMITTER SITE (World War Two to Cold War - 1939 AD to 1992 AD)
  • WATER TANK (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • WEAPONS PIT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF 106G/LA/17 3012-3 28-MAY-1944 (NMR).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/832 3189-90 23-SEP-1945 (NHER TG 5015D, TG 5015A).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 540/705 5017-8 09-APR-1952 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. RAF 540/1005 0121-3 04-FEB-1953 (NMR).
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. NHER TG 5115E (RAF 58/1006 0279) 04-FEB-1953.
<S6>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1953. NHER TG 5116D (RAF 58/1006 0280) 04-FEB-1953.
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. RAF 268A/BR183 10-1 17-DEC-1940 (NMR).
<S8>Monograph: Bird, C.. 1999. Silent sentinels: the story of Norfolk's fixed defences during the twentieth century.. p 78.

Related records - none

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