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Ward Hill Radar Station Fair Isle

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Ward Hill Radar Station was a World War II radar station located on Fair Isle, one the most isolated, inhabited islands in Britain. The island lies mid way between the Shetland and Orkney island groups of the Northern Isles. Substantial sections of a crashed Heinkel He 111 have also been reported on the island (but no details have been identified).

The station was operational between 1940 and 1945, on Ward Hill, 217 metres (715 ft), and appears to have consisted of two sites, Fair Isle North and Fair Isle South. RAF aerial photographs from 1942 show the station with a transmitter and receiver block, masts, huts and supporting facilities. The photographs also show what appears to be three light anti-aircraft posts and a machine-gun post. A modern communication system and mast has ben installed on the lower site, reusing one of the original wartime buildings.

Significant remains of a number of the station's buildings have survived on the site, possibly due to its isolated location.

While some buildings have been reduced to rubble or low walls, those on the lower part of the site appear to have survived in near complete condition, as seen in the photographs provided in the external links below. The upper and lower sites were connected by a steep railway, provided with a winch at the upper site, presumably used to raise heavy equipment to the highest location. The collapsed radar tower still lies at the summit of Ward Hill, complete with the motors which would have powered the assembly.

CDU - Coastal Defence U-Boat

In late 1939 a scheme was proposed by Vice-Admiral Sir James Somerville to set up radar stations to cover the Fair Isle Channel against U-boats passing through the channel to or from the Atlantic; Somerville was appointed Director of Anti-Submarine Weapons and Devices in January 1940. In the spring of 1940 this scheme was extended to the north of Shetland and to the Pentland Firth. Within this scheme, the six stations, known as Admiralty Experimental Stations, were located at Sumburgh, Fair Isle (two stations), Saxa Vord, South Ronaldsay and Dunnet Head, and were operated by the Royal Navy.

The system is further described along with Dunnet Head Radar Station.

North Haven Military Camp

Assumed to have been provided to accommodate personnel posted to the Fair Isle radar stations, North Haven camp was located southeast of their site. RAF photographs taken in 1942 showed the camp to have some 16 huts, sited just west of the isthmus between North Haven and South Haven.

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Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-

 

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Aerial views


Map

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