RAF Chenies ‘HAM’ GCI R8 ROTOR Radar Station, Buckinghamshire

RAF Chenies was a Ground Controlled Intercept (GCI) Radar Station provided with an R8 unhardened ‘Seco’ control building under the ROTOR project. It was constructed in an entirely new Greenfield site as part of the first part of the ROTOR project. Chenies was not provided with hardened protection underground as it was in the nearer the centre of the country it was not deemed vulnerable. The buildings are prefabricated structures made of wood fibre and asbestos, and the outbuildings are of brick and concrete construction. Nine R8’s were built and RAF Chenies was the only one to become fully operational, the others were maintained in a readiness state for activation at short notice.

The following radars were originally planned for Chenies: one Type 14 Mk. VIII, one Type 14 Mk. IX, two Type 13 Mk. VI, one Type 13 Mk. VII, one AN/FPS3 and one AN/TPS10. There is no accommodation at Chenies with staff being billeted at nearby Bovingdon and bussed in daily. The station fell foul of the ‘1958 plan’ (Successor to ROTOR) and was closed for a short period. It then became the Strike Command Communications facility, and the Met office acquired part of the site in the 1980’s to house one of there precipitation prediction radars.

The site is now heavily vandalised but retains many original features such as the ‘Tote’ room, generators, and aerial masts (albeit lying down). The is a live and fenced off Met office compound, and a live NTL transmitter tower is nearby in the next field, which used to be the mast for the Strike Command Comms Facility. Of all the R8 ROTOR sites built, RAF Chenies was the only one that was maintained on active alert, the others were in a ‘Readiness State’. RAF Chenies is probably the best example of an R8 ROTOR Station, unfortunately it cannot be saved as pre-fabricated buildings cannot be listed.

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Modified: 7th Nov 2017