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Report - Barnby ROC Post. Suffolk. February 2015

Discussion in 'ROC Posts' started by norfolkexplorer, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    That moment when you turn on your computer and nothing happens.... And its a case of oh heck It has a bloody Virus big time... So a quick phonecall to my buddy the next county over and he says drop it off in the morning and he will have it sorted.

    So I decided to take the camera as that is always a great way to pass a few hours.. I decided I would go and have a look for this ROC post. It was not to hard to find after getting out of the car and looking around in a muddy field that was nicely overgrown. I had not seen anything pop up online from this so thought it had to be looked at, and with it being in the middle of nowhere and attached to a live private airfield I was hoping it would be in good condition. I opened the hatch and was greeted by a scene from arachnophobia. So I lowered my camera bag down first to clear the way and then climbed down.
    I was a bit gutted when I got inside and it was rather bare, but also glad that it had not come a cropper to one of their normal ends. What was inside and had not been cleared was still in good condition, and it had also attracted a few field mice that had got stuck inside. So I took the few obligatory photos and popped up the top to get a few more.
    The Locking bar was missing, the lock was also missing and had been cut, and a few of the fittings from on the surface were also damaged.
    All things considered it was nice way to spend a few hours on a damp midweek day.

    Images 2,3,4,7 and 8 were taken using the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 A

    HISTORY OF THE AIRFIELD IT IS LOCATED ON
    Beccles aerodrome was completed in August 1942 and opened in 1943. It was constructed under the direction of the London-based company Holland, Hannen & Cubitt and had three concrete runways built to the specifications of a Class A bomber airfield. The main runway was a good 1,800 metres (6,000 feet) long and 50 metres (150 feet) wide. There were fifty loop-shaped aircraft dispersal points each designed to accommodate one or two heavy bombers, and two T2 hangars. The airfield was intended for the use of the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) Eighth Army Air Force but was never used by the Americans. In its heyday (December 1944) the aerodrome dispersed campsites accommodated 2,667 male and 27 female personnel.

    The station, which was locally always known as Ellough airfield and in official documents is referred to as RAF Beccles [Ellough], was the last to be built in Suffolk during the war and the most easterly aerodrome in wartime England. It was designated USAAF Station 132. The USAAF, however, had no use for the base and in the summer of 1944 it was transferred to RAF Bomber Command, and a few months later to Coastal Command. In September and October 1944, the 618th Squadron, flying De Havilland Mosquito aircraft, used the main runway at night for practicing the dropping of "Highball" bombs, the smaller version of the "Bouncing Bomb". The 618th was the sister squadron to the 617th Squadron, the famous "Dambusters". The tests were carried out under great secrecy and the level of security was heightened with the arrival of a Special Police unit in early September.

    From October 1944 to October 1945, the base was used as an Air-Sea Rescue (ASR) post. The squadrons involved were the 280th, flying Warwick aircraft, No. 278 Squadron flying Walrus floatplanes and No. 119 Squadron, flying Albacores. No. 279 squadron, flying Warwicks and Supermarine Sea Otters, the last biplane in RAF service, used the base for anti-shipping duties.

    The airfield was closed to military flying in the winter of 1945 and transferred to care and maintenance under the control of RAF Langham. All medical supplies held at the small base hospital were handed over to the local hospital in Beccles. The accommodation was used by the Royal Navy for training reservists and for a short period the airfield was designated HMS Hornbill II.

    In 1946, a Prisoner of War camp was opened and up to 1,000 German prisoners were held there. The Officers' and Sergeants' quarters located in College Lane were used for housing some of these prisoners, who worked as labourers in the vicinity. By the time the camp was closed in 1948 the airfield was disused and the land had returned to agriculture, but in the 1950s a De Havilland Vampire jet fighter running low on fuel made an emergency landing on the flying field; the hot efflux from the aircraft's jet pipe set the grass on fire. The Vampire was the last military aircraft to land here.

    Many of the temporary buildings located on the various dispersed sites, all of which were located to the west of the flying field, were dismantled or demolished, and most of the runways have since been broken up for aggregate. The airfield's Watch office was pulled down in 2009 due to it having fallen derelict after many years of neglect. It was located on the edge of a field to the south of Benacre Road. The underground Battle Headquarters (BHQ) situated in the near vicinity, which for many years had been inaccessible due to being flooded, was filled in at around the same time. The only structure still in place is a brick-built blast shelter that adjoined the Watch office in the north-east.

    Many thanks for the write up by Evelyn Simak more information can be found at http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/RAF-Beccles

    ROC POSTS
    Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Posts are underground structures all over the United Kingdom, constructed as a result of the Corps' nuclear reporting role and operated by volunteers during the Cold War between 1955 and 1991.

    In all but a very few instances the posts were built to a standard design consisting of a 14-foot-deep access shaft, a toilet/store and a monitoring room.[1] The most unusual post was the non-standard one constructed in a cellar within Windsor Castle.

    A third of the total number of posts were closed in 1968 during a reorganisation and major contraction of the ROC. Several others closed over the next 40 years as a result of structural difficulties i.e. persistent flooding, or regular vandalism. The remainder of the posts were closed in 1991 when the majority of the ROC was stood down following the break-up of the Communist Bloc. Many have been demolished or adapted to other uses but the majority still exist, although in a derelict condition.

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  2. PopPunkJamie

    PopPunkJamie Irregular User
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    Liking this mate, good to see it hasn't been burnt out either
     
  3. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    That's quite a good 'un mate. Good stuff :thumb
     
  4. Lenston

    Lenston Bajo Tierra
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    Very similar to my local one, cheers for posting up.
     
  5. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Back in the day this used to have the ultra rare 'Clouds 3' Poster.. Now thats ROC trivia for ya.
     
  6. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
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    And now it is just stripped and everything is gone. Such a shame too. Would love to come across a mint one
     
  7. Bugsuperstar

    Bugsuperstar Irresponsible & Reckless
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    That's a nice ROC there mate. Lovely shots.
     
  8. paulears

    paulears 28DL Member
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    The title needs a bit of a tweak, it's actually Barnby - between Lowestoft and Beccles. The eastern end of the original runway is still in use, and is half paved and half grass. The Control Tower is still in situ on the Western end, but in a very poor state, and surrounded by trees. The private flyers and parachutists make the place quite busy, and the Ellough Industrial Estate still has a few old nissen hut workshops being used. The route to the industrial estate goes past the famous backwards clock on the big factory unit.

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  9. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
    28DL Full Member

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    Cool, but unfortunately I can't.. I knew the spelling but auto correct at its best I guess.
     
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