WATTON  JATCRY Eastern crest


EAS0 via Barry Davidson

Eastern Apr 88

EAS0a  via Barry Davidson  dated 1988

RAF Watton before its ATC role, was a Bloodhound missile station. photo below from Barry Davidson. Above from Don Gilham is the JATCRU’s crest. And from  Terry Day  (via Barry) is this copy of the unit Magazine


you’ll need to reset the zoom setting to view the C-130 cartoon in Timebase, and for younger readers who don’t understand the punch line on Page 14, there was a contemporary advertising campaign for STORK margarine which claimed that “You can’t tell Stork from butter.

Watton Bloodhounds


and even earlier the wartime control tower building



RAF Watton 1



EASOf Bristol Blenheim  L1345 at Watton


EASOg Handley Page Hastings of RAF Signals Commands Inspectorate of Radio Services and Installations, (IRIS).  This is either Hastings TG560 ‘ IRIS II’ or Hastings C.2, WJ338 “Iris III”.

Our thanks to Russell Coy-Burt for the following photos of Eastern Radar. Russell thought the photographs were taken by an Airman named Donald Henderson. Its subsequently known these photographs were taken by Norman Henderson, a civilian assistant at Watton from 1975 to 1988 (thanks to Norman and Steve Jones for the update) . The ops room photos were taken in 1988.

Northern and Midland were similar inside and out.

My beautiful picture

EAS 1Eastern Radar main building

My beautiful picture

EAS2 Type 82 Radar

Eastern Radar


ERD Meteor Gate Guard

EAS3 Gloster Meteor gate guardian

ERD Ops 2


this NATS Civil ATC Training Handbook also includes a floor plan of the operations room

Civil North Sea Radar Unit Training Handbook – JATCRU Watton

ERD Ops 5




ERD Civil

EAS7 Civil Cell: Pam Bufton

and here is what a civil North Sea controller needed in terms of knowledge and skills in order to go solo.

North Sea Radar sector controller validation objectives JATCRU Watton

ERD Ops 3

EAS8 Civil Console

eastern 3

EAS9  still from a time lapse film of Eastern Radar created by a piece of kit called the Kelvin Hughes Photographic Projector

Now a new selection of photographs from Dave Wilton

1987 May, Eastern, Winston Boardman retirement

EAS10   The first was taken at Eastern for the presentation of the station crest to Winston Boardman (ATCO2) upon his retirement in May 1987.  Left to right:  S/L Andy Fagg, W/C Peter Raikes OC Eastern Radar, John Horn (ATCO2), Val Wilton (ATSA2), Dave Wilton (ATCO2), Winston Boardman, Mike Sargent (ATCO2), Mike Frampton (ATCO1, Eastern Civil boss), Bill Hastings (ATCO2), Pat Phillips (secretary), Pam Bufton (ATCO2).

US Air Force air traffic control officer Captain (CPT) Susanne Hechinger examines a map with Colonel (COL) Peter Raikes, Royal Air Force (RAF), at the RAF Watton eastern radar installation for air traffic control operations. The base is jointly used by the British and the US Air Force/Army.

EAS 10a for Colonel read Wing Commander! photo and caption Department of Defense. American Forces Information Service. Defense Visual Information Center.

1988 Mar, Eastern final day (1) Copy

EAS11   The second was taken during Eastern’s final afternoon duty on Friday 4th March 1988 (myself seated, Val Wilton working the edge-lit board).

1988 Mar, Eastern final day (2) Copy

EAS12   The third was taken while signing the watch log after the handover to North Sea Sector at West Drayton.

and when it moved here is the provisional LATCC MATS Part 2 for North Sea

MATS pt 2 North Sea Sector Provisional

1988 FebMar, Eastern final ATCO watchlist Copy

1985 Oct, Eastern watch-list

EAS13    Final ATCO watch-list (top) and an earlier one too from 1985

1988 Mar, Eastern final day (4) copy

EAS 14   Another picture taken on the final afternoon.  Left to right, Stacey Wilby (ATSA2), Bill Hastings (ATCO2), Tony “Zero” Stephenson (ATSA2), Val Wilton (ATSA2), Dave Pitman (ATSA2), Bill Wright (ATCO2), Bob Johnson (ATSA2) & Paul Winstanley (ATCO2).

1988 Mar, Abels tour of Watton for Eastern civil staff

EAS15   A day or so after the closure the Eastern (Civil) staff were given a farewell ride around Watton on the horse and cart owned by local removal firm Abel’s.  Mike Frampton and Steve Jones seen admiring the horses, while those on the cart include Alan Sandison, Paul Winstanley, Bob Johnson, John Horn, Bill Hastings, Geoff Brown, Stacey Wilby, Pat Phillips, Val Wilton & Barbara Long.

First OC Eastern Radar

above, a short summary of the career of Eastern’s first CO Sdn Ldr Don Newall RAF via Barry Davidson


EAS 16 Station Plan 1965

plus two downloads. First the above plan as a larger PDF file   Watton station plan 1965

and the 1965 RAF Watton Station Brochure    1965 RAF Watton Station Brochure


  1. Looking at Google satellite maps of Northern and Midland radars, I have found both the radar head and the Ops room buildings. Having been stationed at both – lucky me – I knew where to look. However, I can’t find any trace on the maps of the buildings housing Eastern at Watton. Have they been demolished, or am I looking in the wrong place? I assume they were essentially the same.


    1. I would guess that they have been demolished. From what I can gather most of RAF Watton has been demolished.


    2. I was I visited Watton in November 2019. The Ops building and radar head were gone. The officers/sergeants mess had just been pulled down and all the hangars were gone.


    1. Maurice R Heard Eastern Radar Watton 1969/70—I don’t remember sacw collingwood but I remember a blonde girl sacw Swan can’t think of her first name but we all used to hang out in the civvy cafe just up the road from camp , hope this helps


    1. Border Radar moved into the Watton ops room in late 1989 and closed in December 1992. The unit kept its operational area using the Claxby and Great Dunn Fell Radars, or 180 degrees of each. Great fun


      1. Thanks for that. Mind you it does beg the question as to why Border moved to Watton?


  2. Mike Sargent transferred from Northern Radar, Lindholme, another T82 JATCRU, which was very similar inside except that NATS staff occupied 3 radar positions (Mainland, North Sea (joint with Watton) and Northern Joint Radar Service Area – forerunner of Pennine Radar – operated jointly with Boulmer aka Border Radar.
    After the closure of the civil task at Watton, Pam Bufton was posted to Farnborough before moving on to the college.


      1. Jon, here in Northern Michigan, it is cold (28°F), snowing and generally miserable. Your comment just made my day 🙂


  3. Yes it is Pam Bufton! I have similar photographs taken in the last days!
    Colin Smith ex Northern Radar, Stanstead, Belfast, West Drayton, Eastern Radar, Boscombe Down, Manchester and ex Head of ATC MoD (PE)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s