All posts by atchistory

EGPD Aberdeen (Dyce) ATC Control Tower

Graham Innes has sent me two early photos. The first is the very early flight office that would have contained a Watch office, the second the tower that pre-dated the Ziggurat.

Flight Offices 5740 37

Watch Office WA15 40 43

Early Days at Aberdeen civil ATC in the second Watchroom.


Is that an Ekco radar that Bill Bain is operating?

ATC staff were housed at Kirkhill Dyce in old army huts on the edge of the runway. Bill Bain, Bill Walton and Vic Oldcorn were all housed here in early 1950s. All eventually moved to Redbrae.


HRH Princess Elizabeth arriving at Dyce 1951 with Bill Bain (photos above from Heather Bain, Bill’s daughter.

Aberdeen Tower training 1982 with Ken Wood

From Doug MacLean “Attached are 2 pictures from Aberdeen estimated to be taken in late 1982. I am the Tower trainee in the foreground and Ken Wood is my mentor. Ken retired from ATC and established Insch airfield which is about 20 miles north west of Dyce. Ken is fully engaged in running Insch as an excellent grass airfield. We think the Tower ATSA behind Ken was Brian Imrie
The other picture (below) was the Aberdeen Tower DFTI. The pictures were almost certainly Polaroid instant print taken by ATCO Cyril Lofthouse

DFTI Aberdeen 1982

The new Tower the “Ziggurat”

“Built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, the ziggurat was a pyramidal structure with a flat top”

the 1984 Aberdeen ATC Brochure gives snapshot of their task in the mid 80s

ATC at Aberdeen brochure 1984

A “flight” around the tower

EGPD Ziggurat (5)PD1

EGPD Ziggurat (4)PD2

EGPD Ziggurat (3)PD3

EGPD Ziggurat (2)PD4

EGPD Ziggurat (1)PD5

more zig tower (2)PD6

more zig tower (1)PD7

more zig tower (5)PD8

The chap in the waistcoat at dusk is John Reynolds, who later moved to EGCC and later EGPX. – Steve Balfour

more zig tower (7)PD9

more zig tower (6)PD10

The next four photos were dated from 1981

EGPD Tower august 1981 (2)PD11

EGPD Tower august 1981 (1)PD12

EGPD Tower august 1981 (4)PD13

EGPD Tower august 1981 (3)PD14

EGPD Radar (2)PD15

above and below, 264 radar at Perwinnes Hill.

EGPD Radar (1)PD16

three pictures of Perwinnies Hill radar site by Alan Dodson


PD16a  Bertil Ohlson possibly at Perwinnies Hill





approach radarPD17

A walk through the Approach Room

EGPD approach room (1)PD18

EGPD approach room (5)PD19

EGPD approach room (4)PD20

EGPD approach room (3)PD21

EGPD approach room (2)PD22

EGPD approach room (7)PD23

EGPD approach room (6)PD24

PD25 – A Dyce Christmas Card candidate

My beautiful picture


pictures above and below taken by Chris Stock in 1982

My beautiful picture




Concorde Operations at Heathrow, TMA South and the BRistol/S23 sector suite

Thanks for your help in providing material; Keith Miller for his comments, Malcolm Hemming for the heritage MATS Part 2 pages and Barry Davidson for the links below. Now one controller has furnished us with a warts and all opinion (that I’ve toned down a bit). We’ll retain this as a post that captures the procedures but also shows the additional responsibilities that controllers had for the economic success of each flight.

Thanks to Barry Davidson for these two postcard scans

and now one controller’s opinion from a controller who actually controlled the big white bird

The aircraft was actually a pain in the arse. It required special handling, contrary to how it was presented to us.

250knots in the hold, instead of 220 knots maximum.

Once committed to an acceleration to supersonic speed, it was not possible to issue radar vectors to Concorde aircraft. All other minions had to be coarsely hauled out of the way.

The telephone calls to obtain clearance for London and Paris to New York Concordes were the stuff of legend, with Portland range, Chef de celle in Paris, plus Shanwick OACC all in the loop. Much flustering of feathers was needed to ensure a minimum of 15 minutes time separation at the Oceanic entry point, which of course actually ensured 120 nm (!) longitudinal spacing even at subsonic speed.

After the modifications required following the Air France crash, the fuel available was reduced. This caused a problem with holding at Ockham, and BA negiotiated with the TC supervisor to divert all the delays onto other company aircraft, thus ensuring a smooth arrival for the rich.

RAF Colerne

Gloster Meteor F.III EE341 of No. 74 Sqn in the summer 1945. 1947

from Barry Davidson.  Gloster Meteor F.III EE341 of No. 74 Sqn , dated 1947. In 1947 74 Squadron seem to have rotated between RAF Lubeck and RAF Horsham St Faith. The squadron was at Colerne in 1946 and studying photos of Colerne tower and the relationship to other buildings we think this is the location, and that is now confirmed by Richard Hladik who says ……. “Having served on 238 OCU in the ASF hangar behind the control tower, I can assure you it is Colerne. When I arrived Aug. 1954 the wartime tower was fully operational. I would go there when on my ‘voluntary’ week of Crash Crew duties.”


UK Airways, AERAD and Low Flying MAPS

My beautiful pictureUKAWY1 1977

My thanks to Adrian James for the following maps, three from AP3192E and the green map from NW Eur Enroute Hi. Adrian has a site inspired by Airway Green One at and another on low flying mapping at

image descriptionUKAWY2 DEC 1953

image descriptionUKAWY3 1951

image descriptionUKAWY4 1952

image descriptionUKAWY5 1971

Steve Balfour has added to the collection of airways maps

Colours Replaced Late 1980s_early 1990s_UKAWY6

Colours Replaced Late 1980s_early 1990s_

Late 1990s_ EGBB CTA enlarged and Cotswold CTA Added.UKAWY7

Late 1990s_ EGBB CTA enlarged and Cotswold CTA Added.

Mid 1950s_UKAWY8

Mid 1950s

Perspective diagram, latest NATS versionUKAWY9

Perspective diagram, latest NATS version




Perspective map details. Fligh 18_07_1952UKAWY10a

UK Airways Perspective Diagram 1984.UKAWY11

UK Airways Perspective Diagram 1984.

UK Airways WEF 01_08_1950UKAWY12

UK Airways WEF 01_08_1950

and from Dave Smith a download of a similar map from the Aeroplane magazine for April 1951

UK Airways System 1951

Steve also sent this set of scans of an AERAD chart from the 1970s



















from Adrian again this early Green One map (also see the Uxbridge and Southern Centre postings for other early London Airways maps) and some low flying maps

image descriptionUKAWY13 1957


LARS 1 Lower Advisory Radar Service

_AFCENT LFA Chart c1969 Pembs (915x1280)LOWFLY 1

AFCENT LFA Chart c1969 Pembs

_LF Map 67LOWFLY 2

Low Flying Map 67

_LOw_Fly_1975LOWFLY 3

Low Flying Map 1975

some more maps from John Douglas


UKAWY14 UK controlled air space


UKAWY15 London FIR






UKAWY16 Refuelling Area 6 in the North Sea


UKAWY16a TACAN ROUTES (date not known)

sst tracks


uars old


UK CAS 1951

UKAWY18 1951 (love this one)

and a file showing these boundaries in 1948 from Dave Smith



UKAWY19 UK Routes


Steve Balfour sent in these topo maps about which he says “These are the pictures I took of a 1956 Northern England topographic chart which they had in EGPX Ops back in 2010.”

Two of them won’t  reduce too well  so we’ve left them full size, over 4 MB in size.
big 6950
 small 6952
small 6956
small 6958
small 6960
small 6951
small 6954
small 6957
small 6959

Barton Hall, Preston Air Traffic Control Centre (now with early RAF at Barton Hall too)

Preston Air Traffic Control Centre was located at Barton Hall and controlled the old Northern FIR from 52.30N to 55N. Barton Hall was one of three domestic ATC centres in the UK. It closed in the early 1970s as part of the reorganisation of area control services when the West Drayton air traffic control centre opened.

preston ties

Preston ATCC ties – Pete Clarke

New in from Steve Balfour are many more photos of the Preston Air Traffic Control Centre EGNN at Barton Hall. Steve says that the picture with the sheep is dated 1951, the second one has no date, but it looks as though whoever printed it has made an attempt to remove the crossed antennae at the top of the mast. The third one Steve judges to be in the 60s  the looking at the cars,

EGNN !951BH1



Scan_20160426  BH4 1969

initial photo courtesy of the ‘Old Bartonians’ Facebook group  and now this copy updated by Les Tranter

EGNN 1970s n BH5 1970s

there is a new bit which has been constructed over the ‘bay-window’ feature on the first floor and the original comms mast appears to have been replaced with a taller structure.


above is part of the O.S. 1:10,560 sheet, dated 1961-’68, showing the location of Barton Hall, (indicated). Also of note is the M6, which as the ‘Preston By Pass’ parts of which were still under construction at that time.


EGNN 1966 1BH7

The landscape-format one above shows the site in relation to the M6. The portrait format below is an enlargement, showing the layout of the buildings, with location of the mast.

EGNN 1966 3 [339015] BH8

the source of the maps is   ‘Old’,

Preston Air Traffic Control Centre was located at Barton Hall and controlled the old Northern FIR from 52.30 n to 55N. Flight plan infomation arrived at the data extrcation cell on the left. and the Air Traffic Control Assistants (old title) prodced a starterBH9

Flight plan infomation arrived at the data extraction cell on the left. and the Air Traffic Control Assistants (old title) produced a starter. At the far end of the room was the FIR position

Preston ATCC D side 2BH10

Preston ATCC D Side 1BH11

I don’t know the (nearest? – JL) chap, but the gentleman in the dark jacket is Gerry Hall, behind him is Dave Schofield and then Jock Burnett. Sitting back on the chair is John Whyte. All 4 re-located to EGCC. Steve Balfour

Preston ATCC D Side 3BH12

EGNN [241898]BH13

is that Tim Russian far left alongside Jock Deans?

EGNN HBD [241897]BH14

Steve Balfour sent in the two photos above

On the picture with the ATCOs facing to the right, the chap at the far-end in the white shirt is Bob (Percy) Walton. The other shot is , Steve believes, the same ‘D’ side, taken from the opposite end of the room. the gentleman with the beard is believed to be Cec’ Springate, while the gentleman at the far end he believed to be Dixie Dean. Looking at the hair-styles, possibly late 1960s/early 1970s? (Dixie has confirmed it is indeed him – atchistory 6/12/2015).


BH14a Preston A side

Steve also sent in the next nine photos on behalf of courtesy of Tass Cotton of the ‘Old Bartonians’ Facebook group. atchistory has now updated some of these thanks to Les Tranter who has contributed to some superb hard copy originals.

Scan_20160426 (2)BH15

Civil Ops Room

Scan_20160426 (3)BH16

FIR Controller left, with with ATCA and Movements Clerk on the right.

Scan_20160426 (4)BH17

 Communications Room

Communicatos CubicleBH18

 Communications Cubicle

EGNN Military ATCO in front of triangulation mapBH19

 EGNN Military ATCO in front of triangulation map

Miltary movements.BH20

Miltary movements.

WRAFS on AOC Parade.BH21

WRAFS on AOC Parade.


PBX (telephone exchange)

Multi channel Tape Recorder.BH23

Multi channel Tape Recorder.

These next 4 shots are reportedly of members of staff during their time off, which came out of an MACC-closure history event, featuring among others, Frank Byatt, John Dale and Paul Ravenscroft. The shots with the huts in the background were taken on-site.

new preston (2)BH24

new preston (4)BH25

new preston (5)BH26

new preston (6)BH27

Screen Shot nBH28

what where these huts were for, possibly accommodation for RAF staff and/or is this the civil hostel?.

Bob Ochonski tell us

“The huts were part of the men’s hostel. There were more ‘billets’ of a more solid construction sited in the area of the photographer which were ‘inhabited’ by such as Pete Wilde, Paddy Holt and the unit hedgehog [Andy Petch] during the  year or so of my residence. Not all of the ‘rooms’ in the wooden buildings were used as accommodation and I recall one of the worst being used by Laurie Grimshaw to rebuild his motorbike!”

Preston closure NOTAM

new preston (3)BH29

new preston (1)BH30

                                  The End

The local press covered the closure. BH2 PRESS CLOSURE 1  the accompanying two photos are below BH30a and BH30b


or not quite –

the current Preston Tx site in September 2011.


IMG_0682 (1)nBH32

two more photos from Paul Funnell

Preston Centre No 8

BH33  Preston Centre: No. 8 Cadet Course members & training section staff in this photo taken outside Preston Centre August 1966.

Left to Right:
Paul FUNNELL, ‘Wally’ WALLACE (we think, Training Officer), Pat HARPER (Training Assistant), F R (Mike) HUNT (odd-numbered cadet course supremo), Roger BUDGEN, Colin SMITH (ginger hair) and Penny MANT. John GILBERT was behind the camera.

Geoff Wild says he is very grateful to Paul Funnell for identifying Pat Harper in his August 1966 photo (BH33). Pat was the second person Geoff met in air traffic, and he recently came across a 1953 article in the Lancaster Guardian (she lived in Morecambe) about her “Mysterious Coronation Medal Award.” Another article in the Staffordshire Advertiser (she was born in Leek) carried the same story. Both those articles briefly mention her service in the Observer Corps during the war.   He remembers the buzz going round the Ops room in 1969 when news that Pat had been awarded the British Empire Medal became known. The award was announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette on 14 June 1969.

Pat Harper awards sources

Geoff was sad to learn that Pat died in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on 1 November, 2015. She was 90.

Terry Clark thinks Pat Harper had an MBE . He remembers seeing it on her nameplate on the door of her office during his brief stays at Barton Hall in late ’72 and early ’73 during his Area Control Training.  She, like Terry, was a member of the Royal Observer Corps and he had a few long chats with her about that. Does anyone else remember if Pat had a further/third award?

Preston No 8 outside Centre


No. 8 Cadet Course members taken outside Preston Centre August 1966.

Phil Holt sent in the photo of the Preston ATCC club Membership card below

BH35 a and b

and his recollections of Barton Hall

“Hi everyone, I thought I’d share my experiences of Barton Hall. I’m referring principally to the Barton Hall post and in particular to photo’s BH9 to BH14.

Upon arrival I was given the excellent news that I was promoted from ATCA 2 to 3 (or was it 3 to 2?), to be trained as an FPBA (Flight Progress Board Assistant). I had to go on a course in the training section, ran by the Unit Training Officer, Jack Day and his assistant Pat Harper. Interestingly the Centre superintendent was George Jones and you can see both George and Jack on the GATCO 40th photo under Manchester Airport and Sub Centre posts.

I thought I knew how to write fairly quickly until I had to do the first practice strip sequence!

(Interestingly, the training section used perforated strip sheets and had the prototype strip loading machine of the type which I had previously been using at LATCC!). A thorough knowledge of the routes and Compulsory Position Reporting Points had to be mastered first (you certainly didn’t have time to study maps!), then practice in “putting the wind up” your strips to calculate speed / time. The upper winds were posted on a bulldog clip above your board and a type of “Dalton Computer” used to read off the elapsed times. You also had to learn coordination procedures and passing of estimates.

Once Pat assessed you were ready for “validation” a board was organised. An ATCO was rostered as your ‘D’ man and joined Pat & Jack to form the board members. My ATCO was Jock Deans. He is pictured on BH13. There is a “before” and “after” story here. Before – I was an Air Training Corps Staff Cadet on number 10 Air Experience Flight at RAF Woodvale for 2 years before joining the CAA. Jock was a pilot on the flight (as was Pete Reggate – hope that’s the right spelling – and Pete Holland). After – Jock became Chief Officer at Edinburgh in the mid 80’s and I was his Unit training Officer.

The “starter” strip came over from DEC (Data Extraction Cell) via the ancient (and noisy – they had the line the cell with noise absorbent tiles) 1950’s telex machines. In photo BH9 you can see this clearly – also the drawer open on our “stored fpl’s” box. Each regular flight had an index card to make the starter strip! Once the strip sequence was live following a departure time or entry point estimate, you had to get the strips over to the ‘D’ side quickly. The route requiring the most strips, if my memory is correct (ex FPBA’s check this) was Blue 1 east to west FL130 & below – BLUFIR, DOGGER, OTTRINGHAM, MILLBROOK (2), ABEAM BARTON (2), WALLASSEY, POINT LYNAS, LIFFY. 2 strips were required for MILLBROOK and / BTN, the second for Sector 5 (Manchester TMA ATCO). It also got very intense if the NAT tracks were northerly as our upper sectors were very busy with overflights. One piece of coordination I remember well on sector 3 (Irish Sea) was to pass a “Mid-Point” estimate to the Eskmeals Range controller. Advisory Route Delta White 11 went straight through the middle of it, between Carnane and Dean Cross and the estimate was passed to stop them firing whilst the aircraft passed through! Quite a daunting responsibility for a 20-year-old ATSA!

Preston was the place for characters. Here are names I remember from my watch (which I think was “D”) – Norman Alty, with the ever-present Betty or “Bettykins” “yes Normsie”. Denis “where you from and where are you bound” or “Golf alpha mappa mappa pike” Brown on the FIR? Louise from Oswaldtwistle and her cats. Eric “lampost” Lampkin. Who can forget Jim Woodman? You certainly knew he was in the ops room even if you couldn’t see him! He was always sparring with all of us, especially Ron Tuck – “come on Tucky, get your finger out!”. He had the habit of setting fire to a FPS then sending it down the tube used to deposit “dead” strips and their holders! His surname was apt as he looked more like a lumberjack than an ATCO. There was more than one rendition of Monty Python’s “I’m a lumberjack…” heard in the ops room!

I’m not going to expand upon the goings on in the on-site accommodation – I’ll leave that to anyone brave enough to put pen to paper!

Barton Hall Club! I still have my last membership card signed by Eric Holloway, counter stamped to show I’d paid to attend the famous closing down function (see photo elsewhere). Well, that was the official one – there were many unofficial ones – less said about those the better! The Salthouse’s ran the club, George was bar man and handyman and his wife (Mary?) and her team did the cooking. I remember cursing the hot pies left for night shift staff upon returning home one morning. I had indescribable pain in my lower abdomen – but it turned out that my appendix had burst a few days before on a Viscount flight back from Jersey and it was peritonitis! The “one armed bandit” in the bar helped subsidise the club’s income. The food & drink at the final ‘do’ was incredible, as the remaining money from the “bandit” had to be spent.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and at 0001 on 30th January 1975, we handed over control to Manchester Sub Centre (FL130-) and LATCC. I have a memory of the ops room at that moment. I’m looking for further accuracy on this, but I think John Penwarne was the single “D” man on duty. John Hollingsworth was supervisor. As midnight approached quite a few who had been “languishing” in the club came in. I think John P graciously allowed Roy Quale to “work” the last aircraft as he was, at that time, the longest serving “D”. The aircraft was an Aer Lingus 737 EIDW / EGCC or it could have been EGCC / EIDW. The crew were very sombre when Roy informed them that they were the last aircraft. A plaque was presented to EIN ops – does anyone know if it’s still there? We waited for the first aircraft to call on 127.45 and at first, he got know reply, then a disembodied voice announcing “London Control” answered by much booing! It was a BEA Vanguard Merchantman EGPH / EGLL doing the paper run. John H waited 15 minutes to make sure our services were no longer required, then broke out champagne which he’d secretly stored in the safe (making sure George Jones had left!).

Incredible memories, incredible people, incredible changes over the last 46 years!!

Phil Holt ATCA 3/2.  ATCO 2 (ex 35 course)”

Lost military/aviation site near Barton Hall?

One of our visitors as been having a dialogue with some of our regular readers about a site he passes during his runs. The site isn’t recorded as an airfield or landing ground, a wartime decoy site, gliding or radio control flying site in the usual sources.

I went yesterday for a quick run / investigate as I’ve not been here since Sept 2020. A few changes I noticed straight away like brand new gates entering the field next to the footpath stile. I have a few photos taken yesterday so I’ll send them on a few emails. Hopefully the quality isn’t too blurry. Interestingly I’ve found google street view taken in 2019 showing the orange windsock, and being able to stand on Barton lane looking south down the main north south runway. But yesterday the road side hedge is now 8ft tall and no windsock exists, just the pole.

Airfield run sept 2020 – map box satellite image on Strava.

We had a definitive answer in a comment”it is/was a private airstrip that dates back no more than 20 yrs for current owners microlight use”

RAF Luqa, Malta

Here is a copy of the RAF station brochure, published after 1953 the latest date mentioned in the Text.

RAF Luqa information booklet 1954 or later

RAF Luqa 1950s

RAF LUQA in the 1950s, the tower in the background. Three Vikings on the apron, on the left two Hunting Clan aircraft and on the right a Trek Air Coach System Viking. Luqa 6

USAF Fairchild C-119 “Flying Boxcar” 12608 on No 2 Aircraft Park

Luqa 7

Plenty of BEA activity on No 1 Aircraft Park, the military No 2 Park is in the distance with a Britannia and maybe a Valetta parked up. There is a Hastings on the Runway.

RAF Luqa

Lightnings of 74 Squadron at Luqa.

Royal Air Force de Havilland DH106 Comet R2 XK659 at RAF Luqa. the aircraft was originally registered to British Overseas Airways Corporation as G-AMXC on 8th January 1953, was purchased for the Royal Air Force on 2nd March 1955
It was purchased by the Compass Catering Company on 13th May 1974 and flown to Manchester Airport on the same day where it was disassembled for movement to Pomona Dock for use as a restaurant. It was eventually scrapped in late 1981


Luke Dougan thought some people may find this link interesting. It’s a news report from 1984 concerning the Radar site(s) at Mt.Gabriel, Co.Cork,Ireland.

putting the present before the history for once

Completion of UK radar network replacement project

On the left below is Clee Hill, identified by Steve Balfour. Some help please from radar spotters, where is the right hand radar?

….and secondly you will find some new photos below of other remote radar heads

Below are some early maps and a list of early radar sites in 1945 and the mid to late 1950s. Most were military but some were to become military and civil air traffic control units or to act as remote radars to military and civil air traffic control units.


home-chain-south   both via Dave Smith

gci-radar-station-sites-in-the-uk   from John Freeman


The Type 84 (?) aerial at RAF Neatishead, now the site of the RAF Air Defence Museum

here is the  brochure issued in 1988 entitled “Great Dun Fell – completing the chain of new radar stations”

Great Dun Fell brochure

Photos of some of the remote long range area radar stations.

Great Dun Fell


great dun fell 1


great dun fell 2



Scan_20150826 (2)RR2



Clee Hill

Clee Hill 1980s (1)RR3

Clee Hill 1980s (2)RR4

Clee Hill 1980s (3)RR5

Clee Hill 1980s (4)RR6

mobile receiver van checking signals and inteference

Clee Hill 1980s (5)RR7

Clee Hill 1980s (6)RR8

Clee Hill8a

Clee Hill 1980s (7)RR9

more Clee HillRR10

small PICT1139

RR10a this and the next three Clee Hill photos by Alan Dodson. The next three taken on the occasion of Clee Hill becoming fully operational

small PICT1083

RR10B  Ian Macey  and Dave Richards

small PICT1084

RR10c  Ingvar and Ian Macey


RR10d  Eddy Dapre and Ingvar Uvsgood (Alan’s spelling)


Cossor SSR on HSA Debden (1)RR11

Cossor SSR on HSA Debden (2)RR12

Cossor SSR on HSA Debden (3)RR13

Fitting a Cossor SSR aerial to the HSA primary radar head

debden RADAR 1982



Cromer (1)RR14

Cromer (2)RR15

Cromer (3)RR16

Gailes (Area Radar unit for ScATCC Rebrae)

gailes radar site

RR16a photo Ray Draper

Gailes 1966 (1)RR17

Gailes 1966 (2)RR18

Gailes 1966 (3)RR19

Gailes 1966 (4)RR20

Gailes 1966 (5)RR21

Gailes 1966 (6)RR22

Ventnor Radar, St Boniface Down, Isle of Wight

Ventnor (1)RR23

Ventnor (2)RR24



Ventnor (3)RR25

Ventnor (4)RR26

Ventnor (6)RR27

alt Ventnor (5)RR28

alt Ventnor (7)RR29

alt Ventnor (8)RR30

Ventnor (9)RR31

Burrington Radar

Burrington (1)RR32

Burrington (2)RR33

Burrington (3)RR34

Two of the four aerial installations at the Burrington Radar site with the Cossor 700 series interrogator in the foreground and the Plessey AR5 primary radar in the background.

Burrington (4)RR35

Burrington (5)RR36

Burrington (6)RR37

Burrington Equipment Room

Part of the Burrington Radar site equipment room with the duplicated Plot Extractor (PPSX100) and monitor console in the background

Burrington (7)RR38

Cossor twin SSR 700 advanced secondary surveillance system


RR38a Burrington was located at Hartland Point, home to RAF Hartland Point

Lowther Hill

Lowther HillRR39

RR39a a selection of photos by Alan Dodson



Lowther h 2


lowther h


St Annes

Ops room


St.Annes Marconi 264A


st annes 1

RR41a this recent photo and the next from Pete Clarke who says that “It is still turning away across the road to the east of Blackpool Airport. The old moss road to the radar site is being upgraded to a link road to the M55 so a lot of re-routing of cables has had to be done before the major work could commence.”

st annes 2



RR41c from Alan Dobson

I only have this one picture, which is of a bearing change on the 264 radar. Not over exciting in it’s self, but I installed the MK2 Stansaab plot extractor here in the 1980’s, and it was the only one of the plot extracted radar sites in the country that I programmed in the Plot filter.  CAA HQ had been told that it took the Swedes a year to programme their extractor, but HQ didn’t read the programming instructions correctly, it took me about 4 weeks.
So St Annes was unique . I found out that when St Annes closed, the plot extractors
went to the “Secret Nuclear Bunker” at Nantwich, and in order to get some more
photos of the installation, I paid a visit. The Nuclear Bunker is a joke, one medium sized HE bomb would have wiped it all out, however, the St Annes extractors were definitively there.
Whilst asking the curator of the site if I could get to the extractors and pull out some
boards for photographs (which I did), I asked (politely) how much he paid to aquire
the equipment, he said nothing, but that was the word he said, he paid nothing.
Hardly believing my ears, I echoed him and said “you paid nothing for the plot
extractors” he said no, “I paid nothing for the whole radar station”. It seems the only cost to him was about 40 workmen for 3 months and transport.

and not quite so remote Pease Pottage/TEE Gatwick

TEE Gatwick HSA radar




Military (later Joint) Air Traffic Control Area Radar School at RAF Sopley (1960-74?)

We’re scanning in a large archive of photographs of RAF Sopley that belonged to the late Squadron Leader Brian (BC) Jones that were bought on e-Bay. Some are from the pre ATC days and may be passed on to the RAF Sopley website. Others are of the unit generally or of the activities of the Air Traffic Control Squadron and will feature on an updated RAF Sopley/JATCRU Southern posting on this site. There was also an area radar training school at RAF Sopley used initially by military controllers but also later by civil controllers too including some cadet courses whose area course radar component were split, half at CATC at Hurn and half at Sopley.

matcars (4)

matcars (1)matcars (2)matcars (3)

Flt Lt Al Barnet

Flt Lt Al Barnet

Flt Lt Bill Baggaley

Flt Lt Bill Baggaley. (The equipment lower left is we understand a SSR/IFF training aid. The models of a  Gloster Javelin and de Havilland Comet help date it).

Flt Lt Brian (B C) Jones

Flt Lt Brian Jones

Scan_20190402 (6)

Brian Jones again with (possibly) Flt Lt R C Ives

Flt Lt Colin Rutter

Flt Lt Colin Rutter

Flt Lt George Rollings

Flt Lt George Rollings

Flt Lt John Broadbent

Flt Lt John Broadbent

Flt Lt Mac McDonald

Flt Lt Mac McDonald

Flt Lt Phil Phillips

Flt Lt Phil Phillips

john Dougan Chief Instructor dated 4 10 65

John Dougan, Chief Instructor dated 4th October 1965

two more pictures of John. On the left John in July 1970 to mark his new appointment as Chief Instructor Area at the College of ATC at Hurn. On the right John in September 1969.

Lou Parton civil liaison officer

Lou Parton, Civil Liaison Officer

Sqdn Ldr Dave Emery, the C.O

Sqdn Ldr Dave Emery, Commanding Officer

Scan_20190402 (4)

Phil Phillips has confirmed that this is the OC RAF Sopley and that it is Wing Commander Peter Wood. The photo is dated 7th December 1973.

Group photo of No 16 JATCAR course from 1962, photo from John Douglas

16 course jatcars

Course photo No 50 Joint Air Traffic Control Area Radar Course, 7th August – 16th September 1967

50 course sopley area radar school (1)

sopley area radar school (2)

Con Lee lecturing

sopley area radar school (3)

Flt Lt Max Pemberton demonstrating the SSR teaching aid

Simulator pseudo pilot operators

these are believed to be of the school and are scanned from small contact prints., It so looks like the former Fighter Control plotting room (marked 5) was in use as a classroom or exam room.

sopley area radar school (13)

a civil student undergoing live training in Cabin 1, airways.

RAF Shawbury ATC and the Central School of Air Traffic Control

In the beginning….      from John Douglas, a lovely historical perspective from 1952 “introducing” the modern concept of ATC to Military pilots.

Central Navigation and Control School article.   CN and CS 1952_JD

 Air Traffic Control Training in the Royal Air Force

Barry Davidson has just sent in a brochure about Air Traffic Control Training in the Royal Air Force at the Central School of Air Traffic Control that also includes the tower and its interior. Anyone like to estimate the date of publication and indeed contribute more stuff on Shawbury activities generally?

and a second brochure about the station as  a whole

EGOS Shawbury Brochure

and a third item, a CATCS brochure


and a fourth item, a 1970s (?) information handout

RAF Shawbury brochure 1970s

Barry is also scanning in some notes from the ARTS Course 1980-82 that we’ll produce in sections and also to follow a 400 page set of the Joint Air Traffic Control Course circa late 60s-70s.

CATCS Shawbury ARTS Course Notes 1980-82

Section 1

ARTS intro       ARTS Notes 1 and 2         ARTS Notes 3 and 4        ARTS Notes 6

ARTS Notes 7   ARTS notes 8 9 10          ARTS Notes 11                  ARTS Notes 12 13 14

ARTS Notes 15 16 17 18                 ARTS Notes 20             ARTS Notes 21

ARTS Notes 32                                 ARTS Notes 33-36

Section 2

ARTS 2 Notes 1-10

Section 3

ARTS 3 Notes 1-9

Section 5

ARTS 5 Notes 1-6

Section 6

ARTS 6 Notes 1-9

Section 7

ARTS 7 Notes 1-3

Section 8

ARTS 8 Notes 1-10

Section 9

ARTS 9 Notes 1-9

Section 10

ARTS 10 Notes 1-6

Section 12

ARTS 12 Notes 1-5

Section 13

ARTS 13 Notes 1-8

Final Section 14

ARTS 14 Notes 1-4

Also from Barry Davidson

Shawbury 1

Dutch C-130 G-781

Shawbury 3


also from Barry, a first day cover and postcard

RAF Shawbury 4RAF Shawbury 5

RAF Shawbury



and a photo of one of the Vampires (XH274) used to help train controllers. Some of these were converted night fighters.

Bruce Williamson has now added to the above with a history of the Central Air Traffic Control School that he wrote a few years ago for the Shawbury station magazine. Bruce says that “It’s a bit out of date now, but gives a flavour of the general history of the place.”

from Bob Pearson, a photo of his GCA/PAR Course
shawbury-gca-courseBob tells me that Flt Lt Howells later gained a civil licence and worked at Boscombe Down. This photo was taken sometime in the winter of 1970/71…
Rhys Davies has sent in photos of his grandfather at Shawbury.

SAC Francis VINER RAF Shawbury.jpeg

SAC F Viner ATC Course Shawbury

“First group picture my Grandad, SAC Frank Viner is sat 4 from right front row next to the Sgt.

2 SAC F Viner ATC Course Shawbury 2

The second group picture, he is front row sat far left. I believe these pictures are 1959. He left Bawtry as a steward in 1958 sometime and was posted to St Mawgan after the transfer to ATC in 1960 ish.”