RAF Neatishead R3 ROTOR Bunker

As part of the ROTOR scheme in the 1950’s established to refurbish Britain’s radar defences, the R3 double level underground operations block was built at RAF Neatishead. As with all underground bunkers related to the ROTOR project, it was accessed by staircase in the rear of a guardroom disguised as a ‘bungalow’. On the surface, new protected radar plinths were constructed and some distance away from the site, a standby generator building designed to resemble a church was also built. By the late 1950s, as a result of a change in defence policy following the detonation of the Soviet H-bomb in 1953, the emphasis was moved towards implementing the so called ‘tripwire response’.  Air defences were scaled down to protect the nuclear deterrent bases and to give early warning of aggression by the Warsaw Pact in order that nuclear armed aircraft and missiles could immediately be launched, after which there would be little need for air defence. In 1961, a new scheme known as ‘Linesman’ was approved whereby  Britain’s radar defences were reconfigured to respond to the new strategic demands and new technology. Neatishead was just one of four stations where major rebuilding working took place as part of this scheme. Structures built in the early 1960s include the Type-84 and R17 modulator building, the Type-85 radar and R12 bunker, which housed its processing equipment, High Speed Aerials, HF 200 height finders  and a new generator building. A major set back occurred in 1966 when the R3 operations block was gutted by fire, with some loss of life. The radars, however, continued in use sending their data to remote sites. Neatishead regained its operational role again in 1972 when the Standby Early Warning and Control (SLEWC) centre was established in the wartime Happidrome, or R30, as it became known following refurbishment.

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Modified: 19th May 2016