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Report - RAF Blackgang - Isle of Wight - August 2013

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by MarkR, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. MarkR

    MarkR 28DL Member
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    having visited RAF St Lawrence back in 2007: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums...ome-remote-reserve-isle-wight-27-10-07-a.html i'd heard of another WW2 site on the Isle of Wight linked to RAF Ventnor.

    RAF Blackgang does not have much left now! but posting it up for completeness:

    History and info:

    RAF Blackgang

    RAF Blackgang was created to provide a Ground Controlled Interception function and used the Type 8F as shown below. The station was certainly working effectively by 1942 and operated entirely independently from nearby RAF St.Lawrence and RAF Ventnor. It is believed that a mobile CHL Type 2 was in use there in March 1943. The Type 8 provided heights by the beam splitting technique but a Type 13 was later installed for height finding. In 1945 a Type 21 centrimetric radar was also in use and the station belonged to the Nether Wallop Sector Control, its parent station being Tangmere.

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    The mode of operation was thus. Targets identified by the various CH stations were 'filtered' and the location of suitable enemy subjects passed to a 'Sector Control'. They handed on the target to the GCI station most likely to have it in range. That station found the target on its own radar and called up a defending aircraft directly on the newly invented and highly effective two-way VHF radio. As the GCI could also see the fighter on the same display the Controller could direct the fighter to the target. Several fighters were allocated to work with each GCI station and often one or two would be in the air close by in anticipation of business. Some of our two-man nightfighters were equipped with their own short range radar so that they could conclude the interception, but in the early days it was far from perfect. The Type 8 radar could rotate through 360 degrees but did not turn continuously as it was 'powered' by two men operating a bicycle type drive mechanism within the cabin, and they would halt the cabin on the bearing of the target. Furthermore, as the automatic transmit/receive switch had yet to be invented, an additional receiving Type 8 unit was required, and the two units had to be kept exactly aligned on the same bearing and that was difficult in any worthwhile breeze.

    A GCI operated on a 24 hour basis apart from a one hour maintenance period. Due to mounting losses the Germans sought out the locations of the GCI stations and by monitoring the transmissions they discovered by their regular hourly breaks when these maintenance sessions took place. On the first of June 1943 Blackgang was attacked during the maintenance period but the bombs were aimed at the nearby buildings in Niton and not at the equipment on the clifftop. Three Trinity House lighthouse keepers were killed and also two soldiers. All the RAF personnel were billeted in Niton.

    RAF Blackgang ceased operational use in August 1945 but continued for a while on a Care & Maintenance basis.

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    and on the way past. whats left of Whitecroft Asylum. unbelievably they are STILL re-developing it. theres still wards not started on yet. (all completely stripped and bare though).

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