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RAF Stoke Holy Cross

Aerial view of the Radar Station situated where the existing communications towers are presently sited off Poringland Road. This picture was taken in the summer 1941.
This collection of pictures are a supplement to all other Web sites on this subject of which there are many. Search "RAF Stoke Holy Cross" on the Web for comprehensive coverage.
Good site to start with;
On this picture;-
A The four wooden receiving towers (in Chandler Road).
B The four steel sending towers.
C The site of the bomb damage 9th.May 1942.
D The site of Octogan Farm destroyed on 9th.May 1942.
 
 
                                                                                        
 
                                                                       This picture ,dated late 1943, shows B24-Liberators-, with P47 -Thunderbolts- as escorts,
                                                                                  on their way back to Flixton airfield. Known as the 'Bungay Buckeroos'.
                                                                                        For more details go to www.aviationmuseum.net/446bg.htm
                                                                                                                          (Pic. USAAF).
 
  
                                                                      
       
                
 
                             
 
                                      "The Gang" working on the towers. Most were from the north
                                   and the Glasgow area. Locals are ;- 1st.left front row Bert Brock, centre front row Arthur Bright,
                                      next right Jack Goodey. Back row 1st. left George Whybrow, 2nd. left Cyril Woods,  4th.right Clive     Chamberlen.   
 
 
1938 and the wooden receiving towers are
   being constructed. (Pic.Derek Bales). 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
This picture taken in January 1939 shows 3 of the 4 wooden receiving towers. 
The fourth tower appears to be under construction in the background. (Pic.Charles Bussey).
 
 
 
                         
 
 
                  The steel transmitting towers under construction in 1938/39. (Pic. Derek Bales ).
 
 
 
  
  
In the early hours of 9th.May 1942 the Luftwaffe dropped some 62 high explosive bombs on Stoke Holy Cross and a further 64 bombs landed on Caistor Saint Edmund and Poringland. 
The raid was intended to be on Norwich. But the aircraft were led off target by decoy flares etc . and most bombs fell harmlessly in open country. Part of the Baedecker Raids a more comprehensive coverage of the "The Raid that Misfired" can be read in the publication (Halsgrove) " A Shattered City" by Steve Snelling. Included are accounts by local residents;- Derek Bales, Daphne Riches, Russell Hindle, Alfred Shearing and the Rev. William Chandler, who , as air raid warden, plotted the craters shown on the map below.  
  
 
 
      Bomb damage to houses (Valley Farm) in Chandler Road
             9th. May 1942. (Pic.Charles Bussey ).
 
 Click here to read about the do's and don'ts during an air raid.
                                                            
                                                                                                                                                                                Map showing where bombs fell. (Pic. Derek Bales).


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Home Guard filling the holes and looking for UXB's at Vaunoo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Still time to pose for the camera - a well earned break.
 
 
 
 
 
  Pieces of shrapnel recovered in 2013.  
 ( loaned by Derek Bales & Ray Noble).
 
 
 

                                           
 
 New Pic  28/10
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                      (Pic. Steve Snelling).                                                                          (Pic. Derek Bales).
One aircraft was brought down during that raid and the wreckage is pictured in a field at West Green Farm. The crew, pictured above, were all  killed.
 
 
 
 
Listening in . RAF staff at work in the Control room in early 1940.
 
Staff quarters and a hospital were situated on Long Road, Framingham Earl.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18th.JULY 1942. A sad day in the history of the "Pylons". A Blenheim IV aircraft hit one of the towers and the following pictures show the resultant damage. 
All on board were killed. Later another aircraft clipped one of the towers but managed to land safely.  
 
                                                                                                                            

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
                                                                   
 
 
 
    A Blenheim IV similar to the one that hit the tower.
                    An example exists at Duxford.                                                                         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                
          
 
                                                                                   
  
Looking up one of the steel towers as they were in 1949. (Pic.copyright F.Elliott ). 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A unique picture showing all eight towers in 1949. Between the steel sending towers are the suspended cables which transmitted the radar grid.This formed an electrical 'fishing net' in the sky ,and when broken by an aircraft, would be detected by the receiving towers in the background.
(Pic. copyright F.Elliott )
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sitting down , and with a birds eye view over Poringland, is operator Frederick Elliott.
Frederick was posted to RAF Stoke Holy Cross when he was called up for National Service in 1949, aged 18 years. 
Frederick remembers that the towers were 360 feet high and there were 420 ladder rungs to the top. 
They also swayed 6 feet in high winds.
(Pic. copyright F. Elliott).  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Pictured at the base of one of the wooden towers in 1949.
(Pic. copyright  F.Elliott).
 
 
 
 
 
                                  
              
 
 
 
                 
 
         The control console,above, where Frederick Elliott, as Radar Technician ,would be sat in front of. This was adjacent and connected to the twin electrical distribution drive station cabinets, one half of which is shown opposite. This was all high voltage ,low amp system, but enough to give you a kick like a mule if you didn't follow earthing procedures when operating switches.
(Pic. copyright F.Elliott).                  See also Long Road, Framingham Earl
 
 





THE END. The wooden towers, left, are demolished in 1960 and the steel ones in the mid 1960's.
Of the two towers on site in 2010 only the smaller one is an original.
   (Pic's Charles Bussey).














New Pic. 6/12







Working on the site in 1968.
(Pic's Dick Jeeves).















 
 
 TO-DAY
 
  
 
 
 The Guard House to the wooden tower enclosure in Chandler Road as it is in 2010. Is now a small museum. (Pic R.Gooderham).                           
 
 
 
 
 
 

                                              
 
 
 
    
  

 Outside the Control Room .(Pic,s Mike Fordham).                        Four concrete plinths for a wooden tower.              
 
 
   
                              Control Room now empty.                                     Casing for the power supply box.  
 
                                                                                         THE BURIED RESERVE            
 
   
 Situated away from the main buildings,the mast foundations, 2012                                                            Vents.           
 
  
 
                                              Vent.                                                                                                  Main entrance/exit
 
  
 
                                     Stairs to main room.                                                           Main control room,showing top left the emergency exit.
                                    (Pic's Mike Fordham).

 
 
        
                               Pillboxs in adjacent fields.
  
                                                                     
 
      
   
      
  
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
  
 
                                                   Aerial pictures of site 2006. (Pic's copyright Mike Page)..          
 
 
 
 
                                     
The remains viewed from the Fiveways Roundabout. (Pic.Mike Fordham).