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Report - - NORTH WEALD : REDOUBT - ESSEX - DEC 2021 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - NORTH WEALD : REDOUBT - ESSEX - DEC 2021


DE-eVOLVED SS3

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Ongar Radio Station..

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North Weald Redoubt, ESSEX

These were the first buildings we came to.. it served many purposes over the years.. most recently it was home to Ongar Radio Station. The site was ALOT bigger than we expected



☆☆☆ North Weald Redoubt : Mobilisation Centre☆☆☆ :-

North Weald Mobilisation Centre is a fortification of Victorian descent, situated at the top of hill close to a Bowling Green. Aprox 72 Military Personnel would be on site to see that each position was manned and the areas correctly facilitated throughout the Redoubt. It's been reported that among other similar fortifications this one was one of the more substantial and important sites. It was originally constructed to help protect London during WW2.


The Casemates were constructed in reinforced concrete which explains why they are in such good condition structurly today with only small sections braced with scaffolding internally. The fortification is pretty stealth and hidden from obvious sight, with alot of the site situated in sub terrain areas of the landscape, which is further hidden due to the overgrowth of plants trees and wildlife etc..


The main structure is bow shaped and houses hidden tunnels that lead in and out of different rooms including 'Shell Storage Rooms' etc.. On top of the main structure are six cannon locations, I noticed these as I have seen these within the ranges at another local site I have previously spent a lot of my time researching. A shell storage and powder magazines were also located within the fortification.


Ammo Hoists would raise rounds up to the cannons from below.. among the hundreds of pictures we took ..we have included pictures of these within the 6 photo-dump uploads I have added. Heavy blast doors separate each reinforced area.. I have also included photos of these doors.


The area was once looked after by 'caretakers' and 'janitors' etc whom resided in the now Grafitii clad slate pitched roof cottages on the outer edge of the site. Alot of the original slates can still be found on the ground since the elements have seemingly stripped them from their position up on the roof tops.


The site was not considered "Garrisoned' at all times.. but to add a small amount of confusion was considered to be active throughout. The buildings with the wooden floors that we at first thought were garages.. were in fact extra storage locations for Cannon Shells and Powder.


The earthworks doubled as trenches as well as revetments.

☆☆☆More info coming soon☆☆☆
 
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DE-eVOLVED SS3

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Sadly this part was heavily flooded, and appeared to have been flooded for quite some time.. It did however make for some good shots !! Fifteen of these 'Mobilisation Centres' were built surrounding London to protect the capitol from threats of invasion etc.. The crossing bridge looks pretty special and unique..


During WW2 the site and fortification were taken over by the UK government.

The Forts were complete in cc1904 the site saw use during the 1st World War ..but was later sold in cc1919 to 'Marconi : wireless telegraph company' and they then established 'Ongar Radio Station' - The site was also used by a number of other company's as years went by including BT whom used it merely as storage space. BT then sold the site to developers during months of cc1995 it was then that the site was left to decay and lost, forgotten and hidden from public view.


Sometime in cc1950 the site was then sold on to the GPO and after more years passed the site became disused in the early cc1990s. It then became a place of interest of Photographers and Explorers alike.


The Fort is listed but very little - if anything has been done to keep it in any kind of fit state, minus a fence that's not very secure which needless to say a shame.


In the next post we take a closer look at the Bunker/Structures etc..

This site was like a GRAFITTI CITY, hidden in the woods..
 
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DE-eVOLVED SS3

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It is possible to see the seat frame, that the Gunner would have originally sat upon whilst taking aim with a 'Bren Gun'.
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The gun mounting position appeared to be missing, but the brace was still present.
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You can see the turning wheel/s
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☆☆☆The Ultra Rare "Alan Williams" : Turret !!☆☆☆

Only 199 Alan Williams Turrets were ordered within the UK, and 64 of these were allotted to 2 Corps., and 116 to 11 Corps. in the Eastern Command. There were 2 on this site but we could only locate 1 of them.. There are only 33 remaining in the world I believe. Needless to say we were ecstatic to have found even one of these - They are incredibly rare !!!


The Alan Williams Turret originally would have had 2 doors (missing from this example), and a lid with ring/loop. The complete Turret consisted of a circular wall that was sunk into the ground, and surmounted by a steel dome (seen here) on rollers. The two-man crew could turn the Turret by hand to face the enemy, and fire either through a hatch in the side, or the roof.


Brackets were provided for both the Bren and Lewis anti-aircraft machine guns, and the Boys anti-tank rifle. This particular Turret was located within North Weald Redoubt - Essex, and was part of the protective defences with purpose of protecting London and its capitol from in coming attacks. The North Weald Redoubt was the first of all the 'Mobilisation Centres' to be constructed and it was also the only fortified structure North of the Thames Estuary !!


The Fortification is situated on high ground South of the 'North Weald Basset' .. and faced in a North easternly direction and controlled areas both to the front and sides. In cc1903 it was reported as being 'situated on a commanding knoll' its also written that from mile 17 to mile 19 the road was commanded by North Weald Fortification (a distance of approx 2 miles East as the crow flies).
 
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A redoubt (historically noted as 'redout') is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defence emplacement outside of a larger fortiforcation that mostly relied on earthworks, ramparts etc.. although others are constructed of stone or brick.

A redoubts purposeis or was to protect soldiers outside the main defensive line - it can be a permanent structure or temporary fortification depending on the available time and urgency of the structure.

The words meaning transcribes as "a place of retreat". Redoubts were a component of the military strategies of most European empires during the colonial era, although the concept of redoubts has existed since medieval times - a redoubt differs from a 'redan' in that the redan is open in the rear, whereas the redoubt was considered an enclosed and less open to attack.
 
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North Weald also housed the ammunition for the adjacent 'Kelvedon Nuclear Hatch' sector, which did not have a mobilisation centre of its own. (We will document that site another time)

During World War II, The importance of the radio station was paramount !!, It (the site) was classed as a very Vulnerable Point and likely target.

Special VP Troops were stationed here to protect it. 2X Allen Williams Turrets were installed, one on each flank. Sadly we could only find one of the two... But it wasn't so sad - finding just the one was explictly incredible given the rarity

Its said that a blocked drain is the reason for the flooding, Chris and I did take a closer look at the drains and can confirm there is a wealth of debris and mulch in almost all drainage channels.

We discussed going back in waders to document inside of those casemates etc... although by next summer it is completely possible that another heatwave could possibly dry out the area enough to allow access with maybe just a pair of Welly Boots.

I took a few photo samples of the different door styles too.. the blast doors were very heavy and most of them were still in place .. a few had been dislodged ..but they were still present.
 
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I think this is the most amount of pics we have ever taken on a single explore.. All in all this was a great explore !! It required a lot of research and I have only lightly touched on some of the historic elements, we may do a revisit.

Important note to self "Don't forget your flashlights next time FFS !!...after charging them both and the laser......I forgot to pack both #Facepalm .. luckily my mate had his with him.


I hope you all enjoy our photos...we certainly took enough lol
 
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DE-eVOLVED SS3

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Obviously we found hundreds of spent rattle cans for the overwhelming amount of Grafitti.. some of the spent cans were more interesting than others.. and some of the Graffiti was quite impressive, other bits ...not so much.
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We stumbled accross several Smoke Grenades.. leading us to think that perhaps groups had come here once or twice to play Airsoft etc..

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Even the sign had been shot at lol.

Burnt out...
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In one of the tunnel sections we came across the burnt out remains of a car.. we had a go at identifying it.. and we think it was a mk1 Ford Fiesta. We were curious as to how it found its way in there as curved steps and heavy over growth were at one end of the tunnel and a tree was in the way at the other end.. so the wreckage must have been there for quite sometime.. What we did find peculiar was despite one of the wooden doors being dislodged at that end of the tunnel... neither of the doors had suffered fire damage ..


Overview

All in all it was a very good explore, we respected the site and took many many photos. It was easy enough to enter.. and there were a couple of dog walkers in the same area, they were polite and caused us no trouble. If anyone else plans to visit .. a 'heads up' Beware of the old piece of wire that hangs off one of the wood floored Ammo Store Rooms..its at neck/head height.
 
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DE-eVOLVED SS3

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We did take a look at the near by WW2 era "Wireless Station - Bowls Club" after departing.. However all buildings were secure and we believe its NOT abandoned since the grass on the green was still fairly short.

We noticed someone had attempted to get in to a changing room..but had not been successful..

We decided to leave happy with our explore of the Redoubt. - DE-eVOLVED
 
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