RAF Ventnor. Isle of Wight. April 2012.

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gushysfella

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I’ve been wanting to do this place for some time now, it’s one of those places you just shouldn’t go if the weathers bad, so I’ve just put it off! Now the day I went it was fantastic. Warm and sunny without a puff of a breeze, and has got to be one of the most chill out sploors I’ve done to date. Just had one little problem, I’m fecked if I can use my Nikon yet! (only had it about a year!) The sun was over the sea facing me in just about every bloody shot I tried to take and everything was coming out really bleached so..........nearly didn’t post as took all the photo’s with my Iphone (yer I’m down with the kids!) so sorry in advance for the photos, but I recon they didn’t come out to bad.

A bit of history...........RAF Ventnor was part of the Chain Home system which was the codename for the ring of coastal Early Warning radar stations built by the British before and during the Second World War.
What it looked like back in the day


ventnor1947 by gushys fella, on Flickr

The Chain Home stations were arranged around the British coast, initially in the South and East but later the entire coastline. They were able to provide adequate early warning of incoming Luftwaffe raids. Their early deployment had allowed the U.K. time to develop a well-integrated communication system to direct responses to enemy formations detected. But..... Chain Home had many limitations. With fixed antennae facing the sea, the Observer Corps had to be employed to report aircraft movements once the coast was reached. Ventnor was a “high” level detection station (detecting incoming plans at 5000 meters and above) and worked in unison with RAF Loccumbe which was low level detection. (5000 meters and below.)

The Chain Home system was dismantled after the war, some of the original sites being used for Chain Home's replacement system, ROTOR, Many of these sites had ether hardened control rooms or bunkers such as Ventnor’s. The distinguished urban mole was lucky enough to have a butchers before the entrance to the bunker was removed and capped. Well worth a look at his report......

[ame]http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/showthread.php?p=78054[/ame]

The entrance to the bunker was through a bungalow and has now been totally removed


Bung1 by gushys fella, on Flickr

Hatch where it once stood............


RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr



But it’s a bat friendly man hole cover, so there’s still access! A mission for another day.........Just to the right of the cover is a new site used by the Air traffic control service and are maintained by Arciva who were having a fire drill the morning of my visit. I was asked by a young Police Constable, who I think still needs written permission from his parents to be out after 10pm, if I wouldn’t mind stop taking photos of the masts under the Terrorist Act 2000 and something, and considering he had watched me walk over from the WW2 site inside the perimeter fence I agreed, so no photos of the modern boring stuff. So....... the chain house, all that remains today is this

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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

Now considering the importance of this place during the war, and the fact that Ventnor it’s self was is well documented for being the place of landing on the Isle of Wight for operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the UK by Jerry.

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707px-OperationSealion_svg222 by gushys fella, on Flickr

Just seems a little odd that there is NO fortifications along the Ventnor bay or in fact the coast line from Shanklin to Freashwater apart from one lone pill box along the Military road. Apart from these at RAF Ventnor
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr
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RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

Now what struck me was the view these pill boxes have, fantastic really! Just a shame every one and his dog uses them as a doggy bag bin! But there not very well made, the walls are only 2 bricks thick facing the sea, single rest of the way round. Have no internal wall, and I couldn’t see any fixings at all just the bars on the windows? I was thinking, with RAF Ventnor being High level detection, rather than these being defensive, they are probably ROC posts for spotting anything low level, built quickly before the time RAF Luccombe became operational, as this site was originally only a mobile site used before RAF Ventnor was finished and for a short time while repairs were carried out after a bomb hit. Any pill box experts thoughts? :confused:
Any ways, in its day was once a big site, and was staffed by over 100 RAF Personnel, where did they live? In the first few months of the site becoming operational they were housed by the local Ventnor villagers, but 10 months after the radars where first built the staff where billeted in what is now a small industrial estate at the base of the hill. Some of the buildings are still in use today.


RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

RAF VENTNOR by gushys fella, on Flickr

How it looked in the 1940’s


Ventpanorama1 by gushys fella, on Flickr

was a really nice morning out and what really finished it off was


best way to finish! by gushys fella, on Flickr

But if her in doors asked I only stopped off for a brew on the way home............thanks for looking Loads more photos on my flicker feel free to have a look, and if you’ve not been board to tears with my ramblings there’s some really good history on the following web site. www.ventnorradar.co.uk GF :mrgreen:


 
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Munchh

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Very enjoyable report, well put together. When it comes to explore pics, I'm more interested in seeing it how you saw it rather than what camera you used so it's all good. :)

Would say the pillbox is an obs post as you suspect.
 

gushysfella

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Thanks for the comments gents! Was a really chilled walk round lovely place with some fantastic views. I didn't notice at the time but looking at one of my photos, from this site which is on the south coast of the island you can see spinnaker tower in Portsmouth. What did make me smile and typically isle of wight ish, second highest point on the island, and with using my iPhone noticed no bloody signal! Thanks again for the comments GF :mrgreen:
 
C

Captain-Slow

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Good to have a bit of info with the snaps. Thanks for sharing with us.
 

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