WW2 UK Wireless Intercept Stations



The Royal Navy set up a number of direction finding stations around the UK in order to track the location of enemy surface vessels and submarines. In two places they set up a cluset of five D/F stations with a local  controll room. The link below shows a circle with a dark spot at the centre in a field near the village of Ford End in Essex. The dark spot at the centre is the location of the operators hut and the circle contains an array of earth radial wires designed to provide a good earth conection for the station which was essential for effective operation. If you zoom out to a larger area (1km x 1km) and use the right arrow, you will find four more to the right of the first one.     *see links to other stations below.   

Ford End Naval DF 5 sites - 1946 aerial survey images

The control room consisted of a pair of Nissen huts which are still present more or less as they were left when the Navy radio operators in 1945.






Inside there is a series of small rooms, workshop and what may have been a plotting room, just as they were left in 1945, give or take some understandable decay and a little vandalism over the intervening years.

The Navy built another cluster of five D/F stations with a control room around the village of Goonhavern in Cornwall.  The link below shows a caravan park near Goonhavern and a D/F site in the adjoining field. But in this case the evidence in the field still remains. It seems likely that the reason for this was that the operators applied salt water to the earth radials because the local soil had poor conductivity. With repeated applications the salt level in the soil built up and eventually became high enough to prevent the growth of vegetation which it seems to have done to this day. The operators hut can be seen clearly in the centre of the circle. A further D/F site can be seen to the west side of Gonhavern and there are two more in the fields to the south of Goohhavern. The site of the control room has long since been built upon

 Goonhavern DF site 1 & 2          Goonhavern DF site 3        Goonhavern DF site 4      


At the end of WW2 the RAF began a complete aerial survey of the UK and large areas were covered, but the project was not completed. Most of the D/F Y stations were  abandoned or dismantled in 1945/6 but traces of them remained and in some cases they were visible in the aerial survey. Below are a list of links that show the ones that have been found so far. Click on a link to go to a 1940s aerial image.

 LOCATION         TYPE OF STATION            LINK                                                
Chelmsord Interservice experimental DF 
Bradwell, YarmouthRAF MF & DF station 
WymondhamRSS MF & DF stations 
HighbridgeRAF M/F station 
SandridgeForeign Office Intercept Station http://www.ukaerialphotos.com/viewer.asp?d=H&l=Ordnance+Survey+Historic&x=518351&y=210165&s=500&sl=1&year=1945%20to%201950
Chilbolton Navy HF DFhttp://www.ukaerialphotos.com/viewer.asp?d=H&l=Ordnance+Survey+Historic&x=440855&y=139400&s=500&sl=1&year=1945%20to%201950 
 Lewes RAF HF/DF