Record Details

NHER Number:43383
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two RAF wireless station

Summary

The site of a World War Two RAF wireless station is visible on aerial photographs at Sea Palling. The site consists of two timber masts, each with an associated structure enclosed by a blast wall; the transmitter block and the transformer plinth. This wireless station is not located near to an airfield and therefore it may be for communicating with homecoming aircraft or alternatively a countermeasures site for detecting enemy code.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 42577 26639
Map Sheet:TG42NW
Parish:SEA PALLING, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

September 2006. Norfolk NMP.
The site of a World War Two RAF wireless station is visible on aerial photographs at Sea Palling (S1 to S4). The site consists of two timber masts, each with an associated structure enclosed by a blast wall; the transmitter block and the transformer plinth. The site is centred on TG 4255 2663, although this point does not correspond to an archaeological feature on the ground as it is the point between the two masts, which are approximately 400m apart. The wireless station would have picked up wireless telegraphy (W/T); morse code and teletype. These are generally located near to an airfield, although sometimes up to 4km away, and are associated with air traffic control. However this wireless station does not appear to be located particularly near to a known airfield. A secret military airfield was established in 1940 to 4 approximately 6.5km to the south on an area of isolated marsh at Heigham Holmes (NHER 25538). Ludham Airfield is also located approximately 8km to the southwest (NHER 8456). It is possible, given the coastal position of this wireless station, that it is not associated with air traffic control for a specific airfield, it may have been for communicating with homecoming aircraft returning from flights or perhaps it may be have been a countermeasures site for detecting enemy code.
The western mast and associated buildings are located at TG 4237 2670. The timber mast is located at TG 4237 2668 and is 4m across at the base. This has been removed by 1952 (S4). Immediate next to this is a 6m by 5m brick or concrete structure, surrounded by an enclosing earthen revetment (S1). This structure appears to quite low, which could suggest that it is semi-sunken. In front of this structure is a 1.5m square concrete platform or sunken structure, which is linked to the main structure by a trench or path. Wireless stations have a brick-walled ‘transformer plinth’ or kiosk (S5: page 118) and it is possible that this low enclosed structure is the plinth. By 1952 (S4) either the roof of the structure or plinth surface has been removed and only the shell of the structure appears to be visible. However the dimensions of the walls are larger than those visible in 1946 and they are more consistent with the limits of the revetment around the structure. It is possible that this discrepancy is caused by the rectification process and the 1946 aerial photograph is a lot less clear than that taken in 1952. However it is also likely that the internal structure or plinth has been removed and the shell visible is a blast wall that was originally surrounded by the earthen bank. This structure appears to survive and a site visit would probably reveal the original nature of the construction. Two additional structures are located to the north of this. The largest is 7m by 4.5m and has a pitched roof.
The eastern group of buildings are centred on TG 4277 2657. The timber tower is located at TG 4278 2657 and is again 4m across. To the immediate east of this is a rectangular blast wall measuring 9m by 4.5m, clearly visible in 1952 (S4) and potentially still surviving. This area is obscured by the shadow of the mast in 1946 (S3), however a small rectangular structure, 3.5m by 2.5m, is visible within the blast wall. This has been removed by 1952 (S4). A small square concrete component is located in front of this structure, mirroring the arrangement at the eastern mast. A transmitting block, usually a temporary brick construction, enclosed by a brick blast wall would have been constructed at this site (S5: page 118). It is possible that this is the transmitter block. A rectangular pitched-roof hut, 7m by 4.5m, is located to the east of the group.

A small square structure, 2m across, partially visible within the hedge to the east at TG 4271 2656, may be a gun emplacement associated with the site.
S. Massey (NMP), 13 September 2006.

Monument Types

  • BLAST WALL (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADIO STATION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADIO TELEGRAPHY STATION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • TRANSMITTER SITE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4326/31 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/1 4842) 19-SEP-1940.
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4327/6 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/1 4843) 19-SEP-1940.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 5099-5100 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 4226A-B).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 540/690 5319-20 11-MAR-1952 (NMR).
<S5>Monograph: Brown, I. & Lowry, B. (eds.). 1996. 20th century defences in Britain: an introductory guide.. p 118.

Related records - none

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