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Report - St Margarets ROTOR Dover 15/12/2013

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by The Wickerman, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. The Wickerman

    28DL Full Member

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    Visited with Obscurity in the small hours of the morning

    Some time ago by measuring and overlaying plans on google earth and digging pilot holes, I managed to pinpoint the cable shaft for the bunker. But owing to a loss of interest in exploring I then left it for some years, in which time very few people have been granted brief guided tours to this previously unseen R1 Bunker by the cagey owner of the site albeit only for 1 hour and under supervison - the resulting photos that surfaced occasionally showed the poor condition of the site which again put me off.

    But curiosity and not wanting all that work to go to shit got the better of us, so we both dug it out which was a task in itself - not to mention all the crap in the cable shaft, once inside not a great deal remains - the majority of the floors have been removed as were the blast doors, and there's asbestos everywhere (as you would expect), the main room is wet and the sump chamber flooded - but it was good to finally see inside.

    Little bit of history....

    This was a single level bunker (Type R1) with its own water and generator capacity, part of the 1950's ROTOR radar project to protect the UK from Soviet attack. RAF St. Margaret's Bay was an active radar site from WW2 onwards (Type 13 and Type 26 radar were set up here on 24th August 1944) and at one point a Double Monitor Station was set up to try to jam V2 guidance systems. In 1949 the site was transferred from No.90 Group to Fighter Command as a site for Swingate. 1951 saw the CHEL facility renamed as No.1 Signals Unit and in November 1952 Swingate came under the ownership of the unit. This lasted until 1957 when No.345 SU became a seperate command at Swingate. No.1 SU was disbanded in April 1958 and the site came under Care and Maintenance until the domestic site closed in June, when RAF Sandwich took over parenting responsibilities. 1960 saw the inactive parenting transferred to RAF Manston and then, in 1970, the site was placed with Defence Lands for final disposal - in the mid 1970's the County Planning Officer noted that the 10 acre site was a 'grim eyesore' and recommended that the Rural District Council should purchase it and level the site to become an important amenity within the area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site was purchased in September 1971 by Kent County Council - 11.5 acres of land (excluding the bungalow which was sold to a private individual) for the staggering sum of £2250!

    Anyhow here are my photos


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    #1 The Wickerman, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014

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