Newsletter 2009

The Winkle (Bard Hill) Hut

Roy Simons

Another item from the backlog archive. Ed.

This hut was originally at the TRE experimental site at Bard Hill (on Salthouse Heath in North Norfolk), where the trials of the prototype Type 80 (Green Garlic) radar were carried out from 1953. Bard Hill had been a wartime CHL station.

A study of a possible correlation system based on a proposed system by George Clark of RAE, had started at Baddow in about 1952 and resulted in a demonstration at Bard Hill, using a link to a remote site at Stenigot*, in collaboration with RAE in 1954. Jamming tests were carried out against this radar, indicating that a low power jammer could render the radar useless. The Air Staff became aware of this problem when the results were reported by RRE.

The development contract was placed in 1959 by RRE and production of Passive Detection equipment commenced in 1962 (before development was complete).

The work at Bard Hill ceased at the end of 1960, at which point the hut was moved to Baddow with the experimental equipment reinstalled.

Trials of PD continued using the Baddow CH tower, a high speed aerial at Bushy Hill and the Blue Yeoman radar at Great Malvern in 1964.

Passive Detection was installed in the UK by 1968 and offered as part of the NADGE programme but eventually discarded in final international compromise discussions, to provide a reasonable balance of contribution between participating nations.

The hut has been used for many purposes since the completion of Passive Detection, including extra space for display development, as a base for the Baddow Quality Section, the development of ‘Smart cards’ and a home for the GEC archives.

*RAF Stenigot in Lincolnshire. Background on this area of cold war defence activity can be found on web page and a linked page via the ROTOR link.