Orford Ness

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markr

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The military history of the site dates back to 1913, when a large part of the Ness ( a 10 mile long vegetated shingle spit ) was taken over by the War Department. It was drained to form airfields for the Central Flying School’s Experimental Flying Section; and so began an intense seventy year period of military activity, much of what went on at Orford Ness is still secret to this day however we do know certain facts:

Experiments during the first World War included those on parachutes, aerial photography, bomb and machine gun sights, the evaluation of aircraft and the development of camouflage.

During World War 2 radar was developed at Orford Ness and the importance of it for it's original use of detecting enemy aircraft etc was invaluable. The rest is history.

Between 1938 and 1959 a majority of firing trials were concentrated in this area. The firing trials were mainly concerned with determining the vulnerability of aircraft and aircraft components to attack by various projectiles. Whole aircraft or individual parts such as fuel tanks, oxygen tanks or running engines were subjected to carefully controlled and recorded simulations of attack.

Perhaps the part of the site which still holds the most interest and intrigue are the pagodas used for atomic bomb testing which can still be seen today. The Atomic Weapons Research Establishment built six test cells designed to mimic the rigours to which a weapon might be subjected prior to detonation, and included vibration, extremes of temperature, shocks and G forces.

The final 'military' use of Orford Ness was actually by the Americans who built a secret site code named 'Cobra Mist'. The project was to carry out several missions including detection and tracking of aircraft and detection of missle and satellite vechicle launchings. The site is mainly used now by the BBC world service. Or is it.......

photos here:

http://www.abandonedpast.co.uk/index.cfm?sid=6605&pid=101192
 

krela

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Aaaah yeah, I remember seeing a program a while ago about the invention and development of radar at Orford Ness, interesting stuff! I guess it's quite an important place in the history of WW2 really.
 

wezel

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:) When the project was cancelled we put one of the TSR2 prototype aircraft here for enviromental testing.I given to understand that the English Nature Rangers who now oversee the site hide and watch visitor with binoculars and get very upset if you step off the defined pathways.;)
 

smileysal

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this is on my list of places to see. my teens been doing ww2 stuff so she wants to go here as well. looks brilliant. have to see when we can get down to here, prob have to wait till next year, when toddlers 3, then a little safer me thinks. otherwise she'll be in the bloody sea. or fall down a hole or something. oooooooooooops!
 

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