Record Details

NHER Number:14147
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Happisburgh Chain Home Low Radar Station


A World War Two radar station is visible on aerial photographs taken between 1940 and 1955. The site included buildings, two pillboxes, nissen huts, a mast, a barbed wire obstruction, weapons pits, gun emplacements. One of the pillboxes and a few other buildings survive.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3686 3149
Map Sheet:TG33SE

Full description

October 1978.
Pillbox; hexagonal, brick, stepped loopholes; by military buildings.
E. Rose (NAU), 19 October 1978.

Illustrated in (S1).

See record form (S2) in file by source [1], who adds: Type 22A pillbox, date 1940. No rear loops.
D. Walker (NLA), August 1996.

The military buildings mentioned above are described on the record form (S2) in file as 'old radar'. They consist of a huge brick shed-like structure with flat roof of concrete and iron girders; to one side is a curving wall half the height of the main building, but this section inaccesible.
Used a farm store and general refuse dump.
E. Rose (NLA), 30 October 2001.

September 2004. Norfolk NMP.
Happisburgh Chain Home Low radar station and associated defences are visible on World War Two and later aerial photographs ((S3) to (S9)). The central grid reference for this complex has been changed from TG 3681 3133 (which referred only to an extant pillbox) to TG 3690 3152.

The earliest aerial photographs showing the radar station date from August 1940 and show the Happisburgh I radar site (S3). This consisted of two groups of buildings located around TG 3687 3140 and TG 3684 3161. The Happisburgh II radar station, constructed in 1942, incorporated these two areas, but also included the mast and associated buildings at TG 3695 3155. The only World War Two aerial photographs to show the whole of the Happisburgh II site date from 1943 (S5). At that time the majority of the site was surrounded by a polygonal barbed wire enclosure measuring approximately 400m by 240m. Several weapons pits and gun emplacements were present around this perimeter. A curving barbed wire defence extended from the north side of the main area and included two weapons pits or gun emplacements and a type 22 pillbox, which is still survives (NHER 32633). The eastern side of this curving barbed wire was in place by July 1941 (S4).

Details of the buildings at the radar site are not clearly visible on the 1943 aerial photographs (S5). However, the buildings are visible on aerial photographs dating from 1946 to 1955 ((S6) to (S9)). Most buildings were located at the roadside site (around TG 3687 3140). These incuded a large building with protective earth banks on its north side at TG 36860 31360. Part of this building is still extant (see entry by E. Rose (NLA), 2001 above). A second building surrounded by earth banks and a blast wall was located at TG 36855 31435. It is possible that this was the transmitter/receiver building from the Happisburgh I site. To the north and west of this building were three blast wall protected nissen huts. A group of four possible structures, located around TG 3687 3141, are only visible on 1943 aerial photographs and are not present by 1946 (S5 to S6). Possibly military activity was also present in the field to the west of the main site at TG 3668 3144 in 1943. However, this was insufficiently clear on the available photographs to be mapped. Also visible in 1943 are two rows of small structures which lie outside of the main site. A row of four small structures is present between TG 3650 3197 and TG 3650 3203 and a row of five structures is present between TG 3704 3169 and TG 3711 3168. The function of these structures is possibly agricultural rather than military and they were not mapped.

An extant hexagonal type 22 pillbox, previously recorded under this NHER number (S2), is located at TG 36815 31325. This pillbox was positioned at the main road entrance to the site. The photograph published in (S1) has caused some confusion, as only two sides of the pillbox are visible and it is incorrectly described a type 26 (square pillbox). Unfortunately this mistake has been carried over into the NMR and Defence of Britain databases. A rectangular type 23 pillbox was located at TG 36880 31380 ((S6) to (S9)). A possible buried square structure was located at TG 36880 31395. This is only visible during the course of its demolition in February 1955 (S9), but was probably a World War Two feature. The 54m (180ft) high Happisburgh II aerial mast was located at TG 36955 31550 with a second low level aerial positioned 30m to its north ((S5) to (S9)). The operations block was positioned between these two aerials. This building and the concrete bases of the mast survive. An associated anti aircraft gun battery (NHER 38792) was located immediately to the north of the radar station.
J. Albone (NMP), 13 September 2004.

Monument Types

  • BARBED WIRE OBSTRUCTION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • CHAIN HOME LOW STATION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/22) (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/23) (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • RADAR STATION (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.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Publication: Wills, H.. 1985. Pillboxes. A Study of UK Defences 1940. p.17. p 17.
<S2>Recording Form: [various]. Norfolk Defensive Structures Survey Recording Form. Norfolk Defensive Structures Survey.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 3731/12 (MSO 31015 2A/BR14/5 3636) 16-AUG-1940.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1941. RAF S/358 3-4 30-JUL-1941 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1943. RAF AC/161 5101-2 04-JAN-1943 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 1099-1101 09-JUL-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 3630B / TG 3730C).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1949. RAF 541/378 3017-8 03-NOV-1949 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 540/690 5286-7 11-MAR-1952 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1955. RAF 540/1527 (F21) 0030-1 08-FEB-1955 (NMR).

Related records

55064Parent of: Building associated with Happisburgh Radar Station (Building)

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