For our August meeting, we travelled east to RAF Holmpton near Withernsea on the East Coast. The building of the facility started in 1951 and the bunker opened in 1954 as an RAF Master Radar Station. In 1985, it was massively refurbished to form a new RAF HQ and, in 2003, became home to the Defence Archives Agency.
The bunker is entered via a steel door in what appears to be a bungalow and is entirely underground, covering some 35000 square feet. Our guide, James Fox (the Principal Officer) took us through the operational areas and, with the help of exhibitions, film and video shows, gave the account of over fifty years of the bunker’s RAF use. Given that most of this period was during the Cold War, the ROC role got a significant mention.
One interesting fact (which few if any of us knew) was that until 1997, two ROC Officers from Bentley Priory were based there, allegedly looking for new roles for the Corps.
The visit was something of a first for our Section since, in addition to our own members and personnel from the post at Ashover, we had a good turnout from the “top brass”; three former Group Commandants – Leslie Mitton (Coventry), Peter Jex (Lincoln) and Jim Millington (York) plus Coventry’s penultimate DGC, Mike Rose.
The bunker is open most weekends from April to mid-October and there are two guided tours (approx. 2 hours) for the public at 11 am and 3 pm. Private visits such as we enjoyed can be made at other times.
Contact details are 01964 630208; www.defencearchives.org; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that new opening times are now available on our new website at www.rafholmpton.com
For contact use our email at: email@example.com
The old defence archives website has now gone.
We now host a new multi page history site on our website
We have also just completed the restoration for 2006 of the ROC/NBC operations area at Holmpton.