Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Fylingdales Moor, North Yorkshire

This is not a page about the famous early warning system, RAF Fylingdales, that dominates these moors (once three huge "golfballs" now replaced by a type of "pyramid"). But instead the little told story about the moor itself which was used for training during the Second World War.

 

In September 2003 a huge fire swept across the moors and it uncovered not only prehistoric features but also relics of the moor's use from WW2 and into the 1950's as a training area for troops. Features such as "foxholes", shell craters and tank tracks could be seen clearly for the first time in sixty years. The archaeology found after this fire is covered in the excellent book 'Fylingdales - Wildfire and Archaeology' by Blaise Vyner which not only looks at Fylingdales Moor but also the adjacent Howdale Moor.

 

Howdale Moor still has, according to the book, 'foxholes' "around 2m long, 40cm wide and up to 1.5m deep". Along with "spent cartridge cases and bits-and-pieces of rusty metalwork" as further evidence of their military use. According to Wikipedia "[RAF Fylingdales] was sited on a former wartime mortar range on Snod Hill, which had to be comprehensively cleared by RAF Bomb Disposal before building could begin". Howdale Moor's use for gunnery and mortar training is mentioned in Vyner's book and a photograph of one of these exposed shell craters is shown.

 

At the eastern edge of Howdale Moor is a modern communications mast which is near the site of an early pre-war experimental radar site later (1937-39) replaced during the Second World War "by a Short Wave Aircraft Beam (SWAB) site. This was used to guide planes to and from missions over enemy territory. Other installations included one of a chain of stations which guided aircraft in distress to the nearest airfield." (Vyner 2007).

800px-RAF_Fylingdales_golfballs_1989 RAF_Fylingdales_Radar.jpeg

ABOVE: Photo by Alan Denney from London - RAF Fylingdales (courtesy of Wikipedia)

BELOW: The newer "pyramid" replaced the "golf balls"

SAM_4311 (640x480) SAM_4303 (640x480) SAM_4300 (640x480) SAM_4298 (640x480) SAM_4318 (640x480) SAM_4307 (640x480) SAM_4315 (640x480)

BELOW: From 'Fylingdales - Wildfire & Archaeology by Blaise Vyner:

Picture 1: A "foxhole" exposed by the fire. Picture 2: "1943 A squadron of MKII Valentine tanks passes a platoon digging foxholes". Picture 3: "The communications establishment at Ravenscar, as it might have looked in WW2 (1940-45)".

Picture 4: "The tracks left by carefree tank drivers show that their vehicle got bogged down and had to be extricated backwards". CLICK ON A PICTURE TO EXPAND IT.

Bent Rigg, Ravenscar - WW2 Coastal Defence Site.

According to Pastscape.or.uk: "The site of a Coastal Defence/Chain Home Low (CD/CHL) radar station at Ravenscar. It was built by the British Army to monitor shipping and aircraft during the Second World War. CD/CHL sites opened from 1941 and comprised a brick or concrete operations block with an aerial gantry mounted on the roof and a separate standby set house for the reserve power. The site was upgraded by the Royal Air Force in 1942 and fitted with a centimetric radar to become a Chain Home Extra Low station, called site K47. The site is divided into three areas: one includes the remains of the technical and support buildings; the second contains the footings for the domestic and administrative buildings and the third includes the site of of the latrines.

Adjacent to the railway track lie the foundations of 5 buildings. These are interpreted as barracks built to house the station crew. North of this group are the footings for a further 5 buildings, which may have included a mess hut, the station commander's accommodation, offices and stores."

 

To learn more about these early radar stations - TRY THIS SITE: http://www.radarpages.co.uk/mob/chel/chel.htm

BELOW: Photos of what remains of the Ravenscar site, including an Observation Building overlooking the coast.

Interestingly, Pastscape's description of these buildings does not tally with those in Vyner's book. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Blakey Topping

Just south of RAF Fylingdales is Blakey Topping, a sacred hill worshipped in prehistoric times. Part way along Blakey Rigg, we found this wartime (possibly post-war) relic. (RIGHT and BELOW)

It looks like the "turret" of an armoured vehicle. If anyone knows exactly what it is - PLEASE CONTACT US.

 

There is a slight mound around it but how much else exists is unknown. When we were there the last time the mist was low and nothing of the prehistoric landscape could be seen. Blakey Topping itself was shrouded in the gloom. Just this remnant of more recent history existed.

 

Further down the page is another possible Second World War relic found nearby.

These two building bases (BELOW) may be nothing to do with WW2 - BUT, we have seen so many similar over the years that they look like very likely candidates. The corrugated cocrete piece looks interesting - not seen that before.

But what was any of it for? Any ideas? - PLEASE GET IN TOUCH