RAF Air Defence Radar Museum

A registered Charity No. 1058887

World War II

In 1941, the Air Ministry surveyed a piece of land not far from the Broads at Horning in Norfolk with a view to establishing

a site to host a brand new Air Defence station, a Ground Control Intercept station to be exact, from where Fighter

Controllers, backed up by a wide range of support staff, could direct RAF fighters, day or night, to attack enemy aircraft

from Germany as they launched raids against Military and Industrial targets in Norfolk as well as against the City of

Norwich itself.

In September 1941, two years into the Second

World War, the first Secret radar system was

installed at the new Radar Station of RAF

Neatishead.  Initially, the complement of forty

airmen and airwomen was billeted at a local

village and training began in this radical early

warning system. At first, the station was home to

temporary mobile Radars but it was soon to boast

new, improved fixed Radar systems such as the

Type 7 Search Radar and Type 13 Height-finding

Radars.  The hardened Control Room, the

“Happidrome” was built and it is this very building

which, today, forms part of the Museum.

The Cold War

At the end of World War II in 1945 the world

entered seamlessly into a new conflict that was to

last 45 years – the Cold War.  As the defences for

the United Kingdom were reorganised with fewer

but more advanced Radar Stations to meet the

new threat, RAF Neatishead continued to play an

increasingly important role in the Air Defence of

Great Britain.  The station was established as a

Sector Operations Centre (SOC) and continued to

be used as such until 2004, by which time the

only other SOC was in Buchan, Scotland.  In

1954, the main Operations Centre was re-

established deep underground in a vast two-

storey hardened Bunker designed to withstand

attack by Nuclear bombs.

Between them, the Centres were responsible to

NATO for the Air Defence of the UK, the Western

North Sea (including the vital oil production

platforms), and the Eastern North Atlantic well

out past Ireland.  To provide cover over such a

vast area, a number of remote Radar sites were

set up to feed information in to the Sector

Operations Centres, with Trimingham on the

North Norfolk Coast being the Radar site still

associated with RAF Neatishead today. By 2004,

technology had improved to such an extent that

all controlling functions could be undertaken from

one Control Centre at RAF Boulmer in

Northumberland.

Neatishead Today

Today, the aim of the base at Neatishead is to “to provide radar, ground-to-air radio and data links coverage as part of the UK Air Surveillance And Control System (ASACS), in support of national and NATO air defence; a task that has become increasingly important after the tragic events of 9/11.” Now called a Remote Radar Head, staff based here are responsible for both the Radar at Trimingham as well as equipment at a number of other sites in North Norfolk and at Neatishead itself.  Information is sent by secure datalinks from the various systems to RAF Boulmer where the Controllers monitor UK airspace. The Birth of the Museum

World War II

In 1941, the Air Ministry surveyed a piece of land not far from

the Broads at Horning in Norfolk with a view to establishing a

site to host a brand new Air Defence station, a Ground Control

Intercept station to be exact, from where Fighter Controllers,

backed up by a wide range of support staff, could direct RAF

fighters, day or night, to attack enemy aircraft from Germany

as they launched raids against Military and Industrial targets

in Norfolk as well as against the City of Norwich itself.

The Cold War

At the end of World War II in 1945 the world entered

seamlessly into a new conflict that was to last 45 years – the

Cold War.  As the defences for the United Kingdom were

reorganised with fewer but more advanced Radar Stations to

meet the new threat, RAF Neatishead continued to play an

increasingly important role in the Air Defence of Great Britain. 

The station was established as a Sector Operations Centre

(SOC) and continued to be used as such until 2004, by which

time the only other SOC was in Buchan, Scotland.  In 1954,

the main Operations Centre was re-established deep

underground in a vast two-storey hardened Bunker designed

to withstand attack by Nuclear bombs.

Between them, the Centres were responsible to NATO for the

Air Defence of the UK, the Western North Sea (including the

vital oil production platforms), and the Eastern North Atlantic

well out past Ireland.  To provide cover over such a vast area,

a number of remote Radar sites were set up to feed

information in to the Sector Operations Centres, with

Trimingham on the North Norfolk Coast being the Radar site

still associated with RAF Neatishead today. By 2004,

technology had improved to such an extent that all controlling

functions could be undertaken from one Control Centre at RAF

Boulmer in Northumberland.

Neatishead Today

Today, the aim of the base at Neatishead is to “to provide radar, ground-to-air radio and data links coverage as part of the UK Air Surveillance And Control System (ASACS), in support of national and NATO air defence; a task that has become increasingly important after the tragic events of 9/11.” Now called a Remote Radar Head, staff based here are responsible for both the Radar at Trimingham as well as equipment at a number of other sites in North Norfolk and at Neatishead itself.  Information is sent by secure datalinks from the various systems to RAF Boulmer where the Controllers monitor UK airspace. The Birth of the Museum
RAF Air Defence Radar Museum

A registered Charity No. 1058887