Worms Heath Anti-Aircraft Battery, Warlingham

Derelict Places

Help Support Derelict Places:

godzilla73

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
938
Reaction score
685
Location
Surrey/London/Kent
I've banged on at some length about the historical and tactical importance of the Tatsfield/Warlingham area (BBC Monitoring Station, USAAF Botley Hill, The Aerial Lighthouse etc etc), and I suppose I should have figured that, what with it being the highest point on the North Downs and right outside London, there would be a fairly hefty AkAk facility somewhere. I chanced upon this one though, entirely by accident, while I was looking for the Surrey Police communications facility on Google Earth.(Its actually at Gravelly Hill, some miles away but thats a different story). Its right next door to the NATS facility at Worms Heath, and you can see those masts in the aerial picture as well.

wormsheathaerial.jpg


Anyhoo, I went for a bit of a walk up there a while back and these are the pics. It seems to me to be a fairly standard Heavy artillery arrangement - I'm no expert, but the four emplacements are definitely too big to have carried Bofors guns. Perhaps one of the AA boffins could confirm this? Looking at the OS maps, there don't seem to be any public footpaths directly up to it, but there was certainly a well trodden path leading across the heath (and it is a heath, rather than just a field) with plenty of boot prints and horseshoe prints all over it. It is well fenced off from the NATS facility next to it, which needless to say has some fairly heavy barbed wires and cctv type protection.

There are four emplacements - unfortunately, these photos don't give you a sense of the fact that the site is quite big.

Feb09051.jpg


Feb09063.jpg


Each of the emplacements has the grooves in the floor where presumably, the gun was mounted, and then a small shelter type structure next to them. Again, not being an AkAk expert, I'm not sure what these were for but someone could probably shed light on them.

Feb09053.jpg


Feb09054.jpg


Also, at the back of each amplacement is another bunker. These have metal doors that have apparently been welded shut. I suspect that these are engine/equipment rooms, but again I am only speculating.

Feb09064.jpg


There is still some of the original electrical/mechanical wiring equipment present, as you can see from these two pics

Feb09060.jpg


Feb09061.jpg


If anyone knows anything else about this site, I'd be really interested to hear about it. Its marked on the Surrey historical survey, so they know its there, but there doesn't seem to be anything else out there about it. Anyway, enjoy the pics

GDZ :)
 
Last edited:

Urban Mole

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
617
Reaction score
71
Location
Underground, mostly.
Wow thats a pretty well preserved one, and looks good from the air, nice find matey, usually the local farmer mashes them into the ground :cry:

Also, are the buildings on pic one part of the AA battery too?
 

godzilla73

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
938
Reaction score
685
Location
Surrey/London/Kent
Wow thats a pretty well preserved one, and looks good from the air, nice find matey, usually the local farmer mashes them into the ground :cry:

Also, are the buildings on pic one part of the AA battery too?

Thanks for your comments everyone! Very helpful, as ever

The buildings behind the battery are part of the NATs facility up there - because of the proximity of the area and its height I guess they must be pretty important for the Gatwick/Biggin Hill control towers. There is one oddity though. At the right hand end of the battery, there is the remainder of a building, as you can see from the aerial pic. In actuality this is really havily fenced off. I don't know what it is/once was, but it looks like someone doesn't want Joe Public going anyway near it.

GDZ
 

kernowexpeditionary

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
413
Reaction score
27
bofors are 40mm i think, if u search for my recent thread "the guns of pendennis" youll see one!
 

Urban Mole

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
617
Reaction score
71
Location
Underground, mostly.
There is one oddity though. At the right hand end of the battery, there is the remainder of a building, as you can see from the aerial pic. In actuality this is really havily fenced off. I don't know what it is/once was, but it looks like someone doesn't want Joe Public going anyway near it.

GDZ

Get any pics of this bit?

Anything thats more heavily fenced off than the rest is always a curiousity :p
 

rockhopper

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
107
Reaction score
18
Location
Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Bofors are indeed 40mm, i have a round standing next to my fire place at home! Many of these AA site were used well into the cold war and were automated and controlled from a central sunken command bunker.
 

penance

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
62
Reaction score
8
Hi all, first post!

Nice find there, deffinatly an Haa emplacement, bofors was part of Laa defences and normally mobile.

Good shot of bofors on display at Fort Nelson
FN%20Bofors.jpg


Heres a 3.7 with the above bofors in the background
FN%20Gun%20Group3.JPG
 

godzilla73

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
938
Reaction score
685
Location
Surrey/London/Kent
Great pics Penance . Welcome and thanks for that info. I've found a couple fo pictures in books that show a HAA emplacement like the one at Worms Heath so I'll scan em and stick em up. This is really great stuff!
 

Lady Anne

Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
13
Reaction score
21
I've banged on at some length about the historical and tactical importance of the Tatsfield/Warlingham area (BBC Monitoring Station, USAAF Botley Hill, The Aerial Lighthouse etc etc), and I suppose I should have figured that, what with it being the highest point on the North Downs and right outside London, there would be a fairly hefty AkAk facility somewhere. I chanced upon this one though, entirely by accident, while I was looking for the Surrey Police communications facility on Google Earth.(Its actually at Gravelly Hill, some miles away but thats a different story). Its right next door to the NATS facility at Worms Heath, and you can see those masts in the aerial picture as well.

View attachment 35251

Anyhoo, I went for a bit of a walk up there a while back and these are the pics. It seems to me to be a fairly standard Heavy artillery arrangement - I'm no expert, but the four emplacements are definitely too big to have carried Bofors guns. Perhaps one of the AA boffins could confirm this? Looking at the OS maps, there don't seem to be any public footpaths directly up to it, but there was certainly a well trodden path leading across the heath (and it is a heath, rather than just a field) with plenty of boot prints and horseshoe prints all over it. It is well fenced off from the NATS facility next to it, which needless to say has some fairly heavy barbed wires and cctv type protection.

There are four emplacements - unfortunately, these photos don't give you a sense of the fact that the site is quite big.

View attachment 35252

View attachment 35253

Each of the emplacements has the grooves in the floor where presumably, the gun was mounted, and then a small shelter type structure next to them. Again, not being an AkAk expert, I'm not sure what these were for but someone could probably shed light on them.

View attachment 35254

View attachment 35255

Also, at the back of each amplacement is another bunker. These have metal doors that have apparently been welded shut. I suspect that these are engine/equipment rooms, but again I am only speculating.

View attachment 35256

There is still some of the original electrical/mechanical wiring equipment present, as you can see from these two pics

View attachment 35257

View attachment 35258

If anyone knows anything else about this site, I'd be really interested to hear about it. Its marked on the Surrey historical survey, so they know its there, but there doesn't seem to be anything else out there about it. Anyway, enjoy the pics

GDZ :)
I remember a lot about the office side of the BBC Tatsfield Receiving Station as I worked there from 1966 to 1969.
 

Latest posts

Top