Record Details

NHER Number:38977
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of World War Two radio countermeasures station south of Cromer Road

Summary

A World War Two radio countermeasures station is visible as extant buildings, structures and earthworks on wartime aerial photographs. It is also recorded in a bibliographic source. The site lies just inland of the coastline, and comprises various buildings, blast walls, huts, and arrays of concrete pads; the latter acted as the bases and cable-stay blocks for several masts. The site would have been used to counter the radio guidance systems used by German bombers. Aerial photographs taken in 1941, 1943 and 1946 show progressive changes to the site, presumably related to the need to defeat new guidance systems. Later in the war it also acted as a SPLASHER navigational beacon.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2998 3744
Map Sheet:TG23NE
Parish:MUNDESLEY, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

January 2005. Norfolk NMP.
A World War Two military site is visible as extant buildings, structures and earthworks on aerial photographs (S1-6), centred at TG 2999 3744. The site has been interpreted by Roger Thomas of English Heritage as a probable radio countermeasures station, used against the German bomber radio guidance systems. The site comprises a variety of buildings, structures (such as blast walls) and huts, while arrays of concrete pads indicate the former presence of several masts. Photographs of the site, which date to 1941, 1943 and 1946, document its modification during the war. The various changes evident at the site were presumably a response to the progressive development of German guidance systems; the latter included the Knickebein, X-gerat and Y-gerat systems (information from Roger Thomas). The site is one of several radio/telegraphy/radar stations to have been sited on this area of the Norfolk coast during World War Two. A radar station, RAF Trimingham (NHER 6799), lies 1.2km to the north-west, while a possible Royal Navy 'Y'-station, which listened in to German radio transmissions, lies 1.7km to the north-west. Nearby anti-invasion defences, such as the pillbox (NHER 15115) 450m to the north-west, might have been deliberately sited to protect the countermeasures station.

Although there is aerial photographic coverage of part of the site from September 1940 (S7), no military activity is visible. By July 1941 (S1-2) a row of three blast walls, probably surrounding buildings or huts although these are not clear enough to map, are visible from TG 2992 3746 to TG 3004 3742. A fourth structure and blast wall can be seen at TG 3001 3733. The structures within the blast walls were probably small timber huts, with low aerial cables slung between timber poles at each end of the hut (information from Roger Thomas). Linear parchmarks can be seen radiating out from all four structures. A fifth building or hut, which does not seem to be surrounded by a blast wall, is visible at TG 2994 3742, and a regular pattern of tracks can be seen between the five structures. To the south-west, there is a small, concrete structure sited against the field boundary at TG 3009 3730. To the north, another hut and blast wall appear to be under construction at TG 2998 3753. A cluster of four buildings around the entrance to the site at its northwest corner are probably ancillary buildings; they include a curved-profile building, perhaps a Nissen hut, surrounded by a blast wall.

By 1943 (S3) several additions are evident. The blast wall at TG 3002 3751, which has a concrete pad to its north and a possible slit trench to its south, has been constructed but is only clearly visible on later aerial photographs (e.g. S6). Another blast wall, at TG 2991 3738, can also be seen for the first time, as can a square concrete structure at TG 2993 3734; these may have been present in 1941 but this part of the field lacked aerial photograph coverage for that year. Distinct tracks are also visible between all the different buildings. By 1946, at the north-west corner of the site, the buildings at TG 2993 3758 and TG 2991 3757 have been enlarged and a smaller structure added at TG 2990 3755. Another blast wall, again with a concrete pad to its north and slit trench to its south, is visible at TG 2996 3755. Slightly to its west is a possible small, circular structure. An earthwork mound is visible at TG 3005 3743. The most significant change, however, is the addition of six, star-shaped arrays of small concrete pads. These have been interpreted by Roger Thomas as the bases and cable-stay blocks of masts; aerial cables slung between these 'pencil' masts would have replaced those slung between the huts in the earlier years of the war. The masts themselves had been removed by 1946. Later aerial photographs indicate that all traces of the site had been removed by 1949 (S8), and the area has subsequently been built over.
(S1-8)
S. Tremlett (NMP), 6 January 2005.

January 2007.
The site was definitely a radio countermeasures station: first hand accounts of it are given in Brettingham 2006 (S9). It was apparently a transmitting station, connected by a cable to a receiving station located at Edingthorpe (perhaps NHER 38999 or 39000). Later in the war it also acted as a SPLASHER navigational beacon for USAAF aircraft.
S. Tremlett (NLA), 3 January 2007.

July 2013.
For a possible similar site see NHER 36474.
D. Gurney (HES), 29 July 2013.

Monument Types

  • ANTENNA ARRAY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • 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)
  • MOUND (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADAR BEACON (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)
  • SLIT TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1941. RAF S/330 41 16-JUL-1941 (NMR).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1941. RAF S/358 28-9 30-JUL-1941 (NMR).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1943. RAF AC/161 5117 04-JAN-1943 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1430 4493 16-APR-1946 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1606 2129-30 27-JUN-1946 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 2119-20 09-JUL-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 3036A & TG 2937B).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. RAF 2/BR186 3-4 05-SEP-1940 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1949. RAF 541/390 3099-100 10-NOV-1949 (NMR).
<S9>Article in Serial: Brettingham, L.. 2006. Mundesley's Secret War.. NIAS Journal. Vol. 8, no. 1, pp 53-58.

Related records

39000Related to: Site of World War Two and Cold War military structures (Monument)
38999Related to: Site of World War Two military features (Monument)

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