Role in World War II
of Newport, Gwent, South Wales recalls how a radar facility
at Walmer's Hawkshill Down ensured precision bombing. He writes:
"I can find
very little about the history of Walmer during the war, a
period when many of its residents were evacuated because of
its close proximity to the French coast and the threat of
German activity. Shelling from Cap Griz Nez was a persistent
danger in this part of 'Hellfire Corner' of Kent extending
from Sandwich almost to Folkestone.
"As a radar
mechanic in the RAF, I was posted in early 1943 to a newly
built radar station sited at Hawkshill Down. The South Forelands
strip of the Kent coast provided the nearest point as the
crow flies to the heavily industrialised Ruhr area of Germany.
Attempts to bomb this prime target in the early part of the
war had been mainly a failure using the navigational systems
available to the RAF up to that time. The radar research establishment,
having moved to Malvern College from Dorset, contrived a radio
navigational system known under the cover name of 'Oboe'.
This enabled mosquito aircraft to mark targets with a 90-yard
accuracy at 250-mile range. These would be the pathfinders
for the masses of heavy bombers now guided by coloured flares
dropped by the pathfinders.
down radio navigational beams, working with a sister station
in Norfolk, and together they revolutionised the RAF bombing
success in attacking German industrial and military targets.
The part played by this site in helping to win the war was
Cyril later added
"As 'Oboe' developed and enlarged, new units were set up
in Kingsdown using magnetron transmitters, not easily jammed
by the Germans. From the original small complement of RAF types
installed in private houses (I found myself with a nice family
in Walmer Castle Road near the Drum public house), the station
expanded its WAAF complement taking over some of the many large
empty houses in the area."