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Report - Thor missile base- RAF Harrington 05/09/09

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Awdrey, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Awdrey

    Awdrey Guest

    Right, my first report. Firstly I have to apologise for the quality of the pictures, this was completely unprepared and unplanned.

    I visited the carpetbaggers museum between Lamport and Harrington, a great little museum with very enthusiastic elderly volunteers. The museum covers the operation of RAF Harrington through its active years, firstly as a base to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Carpetbagger, through to the outbreak of the Cold War after the runways had been dug up. Harrington was chosen as one of five locations for the Thor missile, along with Polebrook near Peterborough, Folkingham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire and North Luffenham.

    I was given a guided tour of the museum and spotted a scale model of a thor missile. The tour guide informed me that there were minimal ruins remaining but I couldn't miss out on this bit of history. There is also a small section on the Royal Observer Corps, with uniforms and equipment on display.

    I was only expecting to visit the museum, so only had my phone camera, but I was wearing decent walking shoes! The blast walls are visible from the road, and there is a farm track heading off the main road to the side of the field:

    At the bottom left hand corner the single track leads to a bridleway which is gated:


    The bridleway is rutted and broken up in places, i believe it was the taxi way of the original airfield. The sides of the path are littered with what looked like broken up terracotta piping in a quad configuration embedded in thick concrete. It was a long walk, and the blast walls gradually loomed into view:


    As I drew parallel to the first launch platform, I crossed over the field. Its a great time to do this as the field was completely harvested and soil was dry.

    The first standing building was the control bunker:

    Completely gutted inside, with some rubbish in one corner.


    Just visible are the rows of metal bolts where the runners were mounted to, enabling the missile shelter to be retracted, as per the below diagram:

    Both blast walls stand in almost perfect condition, here's one:


    The site is being reclaimed by nature, and the landowner:


    The mounting points for the launchpad itself, with kerosene and liquid oxygen pipes in view:


    Does anyone know what this is for? Gyro calibration?


    Right, that's it then, I'll invest in a proper camera asap. Its amazing to see such an important piece of history crumbling away. Thankfully there was no graffiti as far as I could see, just lots of rusty waste. I hope my photos were almost bearable.
    #1 Awdrey, Sep 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2009

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