View Full Version : Royal air force radio station at newtownbutler
I have been doing some research and have learned of Royal Air Force ground staff manning a radio station at Newtownbutler in County Fermanagh "On a hill along a little road from Mullanahorn Bridge in the townland of Killyroo"
Does anyone have any information relating to this?
I have just found this on the "Whitehaven News" website regarding the radio / radar station.
RICHARD FISHER (Lance Corporal), Wartime Forces Arm: 940 IWT Amphibious Regiment, Royal Engineers.
Mr Fisher now lives at Applethwaite, near Keswick. During the war he served with the Royal Engineers between March 1943 and September 1947.
He landed in Normandy on Sword Beach in the British Sector with an amphibious regiment on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Sword Beach was the most easterly of the five landing beaches just to the north of Caen. During the Battle of Normandy his unit was involved in some of the heaviest fighting against the Germans.
“We had a few near misses as they bombed Tilbury. During that period I went to East Ham Labour Exchange for a medical and asked to join the RAF as a wireless mechanic. Everybody wanted to be a Spitfire pilot but my height and poor eyesight ruled that out. I was a wireless enthusiast and had completed a correspondence course for radio engineering.’’
The following year Harry joined RAF Cardington. “That was quite a shock – living conditions were very basic. We were given uniforms and a short haircut, inoculations, medicals and lectures on personal hygiene.
“There were Brummies, Geordies, Scots, Scousers, Welsh and Northerners and they all spoke strange languages and universally hated Londoners!
“We quickly settled down and were posted for six weeks’ basic training.
“I went to Skegness, which was very cold – physical training along the promenade, arms drill and all the usual disciplined activities followed and we were all billeted out with seaside landladies who did their best to give us short measures, in food and heating.
“They were not paid very much and I don’t suppose we were that well behaved!
“After that I was posted for a 17-week basic radio training course at Woolwich polytechnic, a dream posting for me, quite close to home at Grays for weekend leave and billeted in comfortable civilian houses.
“We didn’t know it then but the course was to train radar mechanics, the new top-secret technology.
“After Woolwich I was posted to Yatesbury in Wiltshire for more training, as an RDF (Radar) mechanic.
“We were sworn to secrecy with blood-chilling threats of being shot at dawn if we breathed a word.
“Radar was a complete revelation, producing pulses of radio-waves to locate enemy aircraft.
“History has shown that this was the secret weapon that helped our Hurricanes and Spitfires win the Battle of Britain in 1940.
“I was very happy to be working with this equipment and became a qualified technician after six weeks.
“Next, I was posted to a small radar station at Newtownbutler in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
“The country people were extremely poor and hospitable far beyond my experience.
“Our accommodation was basic and the food poor and it seemed to rain every day for the first six weeks.
Still does not tell me what the purpose of this station was but at least confirms I have succeeded in locating it.
Any Ideas what it would have been for??
Newtownbutler was a temporary Chain Home Mobile Radio Unit station, commissioned in February 1942 along with a similar installation at Crosmaglen.
In November 1943 Fighter Command advised that it was on the list to be dismantled.
I will have to find the Crossmaglen one now!
Please take a look at the attached picture.
These Royal Air Force personnel, along with one American sitting front centre, was taken in 1943.
It was taken in Main Street, Newtownbutler in County Fermanagh which is a considerable distance from any of the closest Airfields.
There was a Chain Home Radar Station commissioned near Newtownbutler in 1942
My question is - Would this be the type of compliment for such a Radar Station?
Does anyone recognise anyone in this picture??
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