View Full Version : Great Bromley

27-07-2011, 18:59
Currently editing a document on this station. The CH site was here (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.89316680475008&lon=1.052835324003961&gz=17&oz=8&gt=1).

There was evidently also a GEE installation. Same site?

To the west there may have been something here (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=51.899574704331386&lon=1.0190141201019287&gz=17&oz=8&gt=1)

Any thoughts welcome.

P Bellamy
27-07-2011, 21:28
I'm not aware of Bromley being a GEE station, unless it was an backup Monitor Station for the Eastern GEE Chain.

Eastern Chain
Master (A): RAF Daventry
Slave (B): RAF Stenigiot
Slave (C): RAF Gibbet Hill
Slave (D): RAF Clee Hill
Monitor: RAF Barkway


Southwestern Chain
Master (A): RAF Sharpitor
Slave (B): RAF Worth Matravers
Slave (C): RAF Sennen
Slave (D): RAF Folly
Monitor: RAF Trerew


Northern Chain
Master: RAF Burifa Hill
Slave: RAF Scouseburgh
Slave: RAF Windyhead Hill
Slave: RAF Sango
Monitor: RAF Buifra Hill


The location you linked to west of Bromley appears at first glance to be a piggery.
I'll check my notes for anything more.

All the best,

Paul Francis
27-07-2011, 21:34
I agree its a piggery!

Richard Flagg
28-07-2011, 00:26
The site at Great Bromley on streetview;

28-07-2011, 11:53
From the Bromley Messenger’ February 2006

The Great Bromley Pylons
These were erected from 1932 and were six in number, three large and three smaller
masts. There was a story which went the rounds that from these went a death ray which
stopped engines of cars on the Harwich Road. Radio Direction Finders were operating for
The masts were guarded by the RAF Regiment when World War II broke out and the
WAAFs engaged on the equipment were accommodated in the Hutments near the school.
Later the local Home Guard took over the duty from the RAF. The Royal Observer Corps
at Colchester sent sighting reports to the Pylons.
Bombs were dropped near the site by German planes on 24th August, 1941.
The equipment was upgraded in 1943 with magnetron-based-centimetre sets and Great
Bromley became headquarters for “GEE”, the first radar-guided-bomber navigational
Demolition took place in June 1970 but masts were left for use by the police and Marconi.
John Appleby

1932? Six masts? HQ for GEE?

28-07-2011, 14:50
TNA: AVIA 7/1251 Gee monitor station, Great Bromley 1941-1945

Guess that explains it.

julian foynes
06-01-2012, 21:40
Not too sure whether reply I just typed went through.

I thoroughly researched the radar and radio sites at Gt Bromley many years ago and published a detailed 92-page booklet on the subject in 2009 (copies still available). My research was mainly done at the National Archive and RAF Museum. I have a fair collection of photos, site plans and technical diagrams of the various Bromley sites, towers, etc.

Some of the above contributions are wide of the mark, I'm afraid.

Gt Bromley was a Chain Home radar station from late 1937 to 1949--the fifth in the country. It was the first HQ and monitoring station for Gee until these moved to Barkway late in 1942.
From 1941 to 1956 there were 9 towers at Bromley, of three heights.
Bromley was not linked to the Colchester Observer Corps, but to the CHL radar station at Walton and the GCI at Trimley.

Marconi's used the old Transmitter Site from 1947 to 1970, the Police from 1948 to 2010, and the USAF from 1966 to 1992.

As for the piggery, it only opened a few years ago!
The real outlying parts of the wartime Bromley station were two small Buried Reserve sites (on Park Farm), the B or domestic site ("Bromley Camp") alongside the Lodge, and for a time the mobile reserve behind Frating Church.

Julian Foynes

Peter Kirk
06-01-2012, 21:49

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the explanation. Hopefully some memebers will contact you regarding the booklet.

HF Dave
06-01-2012, 23:58
The Marconi company rented the station from the Air Ministry in 1946, with it being used for various experiments and a work-in-progress store for the Radar Division. Ivor Salway was site superintendent for many years, living on the site with his family. In 1955 during a spell of particularly hot weather the static water tank adjacent to one of the masts was adapted for use as a swimming pool.

Paul Francis
07-01-2012, 00:22
Some of the above contributions are wide of the mark, I'm afraid.

Can you be more specific please?

julian foynes
07-01-2012, 17:37
Hello Norwich Paul

Looks like you could be replying to the duff message I sent off before my laptop ran out of juice so I had to go back and edit.
Full message is now above.
My booklet (sorry to plug) spells it all out, date by date, site by site, and even piece of equipment by piece of equipment.
Dave is quite right about Ivor Salway, whom I allude to (without a name) in my booklet.
As a boy I did not know him but I did know others who worked for Marconi's on the T Site. I have details and of several quite important experiments that Marconi conducted there between 1947 and 1966.

Recently the owners of the old R Site (whose parents had also owned it pre-1936) gave me a guided tour of their bit, including the old receiver block. There are no fewer than 3 good sets of photos of both sites online, by the way, though they do not show much awareness of what exactly the various structures were for.

Incidentally I am contactable on 02085700534 if you're keen on Gt Bromley.

Julian Foynes

04-03-2012, 15:38
Please excuse me if slipping in sideways to your site
I am interested in Great Bromley History and have been told that Great Bromley Lodge ( now Hamilton Lodge ) was used as a decoding station
does anyone have any information on this I do have some recent photos of Great Bromley Lodge and some of the derelict buildings of the camp if they are any use

05-03-2012, 07:25
Welcome to AiX, felixmum, all photos' gratefully recieved on here. Post away, look forward to seeing them :)

julian foynes
05-03-2012, 16:11

I went round the Lodge area that you mention some time ago and took several photos. But if yours are older, I'd be keen to see them

My booklet explains the whole set-up at GB in detail. The huts and air raid shelters in the trees at the south-eastern corner of the Lodge were the radar station accommodation site. The Lodge itself was, I believe (and I do not have 100% proof of this) the HQ for the Bomber Command "Gee" radar navigation system from Feb.1942 to Nov 1942 (Wing-Cmdr Phillips, Squadron Leader Alleston). The actual "Gee" beam monitoring was done from 2 wooden towers and 2 huts on the main R Site, along Honeypot Lane, near Wenden's Farm.

I think that the idea that the Lodge was used for decoding could be a myth: a)because that is not a function of GB station as recorded in the Air Ministry and RAF files; b)decoding would mean receiving German radio signals, and as far as I know GB did not have the sets or aerials for that; c)a decoding centre is unlikely to have sat alongside a an accommodation site. GB monitored signals, true, but Allied radar transmissions which did not carry messages.

However, I'm interested to find out more about the Lodge, such as if it had any RAF or other military use before or after the "Gee" period.
Please get in touch.


julian foynes
05-03-2012, 16:13

See my additional post today, in answer to yours.


05-03-2012, 22:47
truthfully I have worked at Hamilton Lodge formerly Great Bromley Lodge for the last 20 years and live close by I know the Camp well now mostly demolished and the site for a luxury home
could I purchase a copy of your booklet, as my interest is in general history of the village

julian foynes
22-12-2012, 16:51
Hello Felixmum

Haven't visited this website in a while.
Yes, I can certainly post you one of the booklets (newly updated). It has 98 pages including photos & maps. I also have photcopies of many original documents.
I'm phonable on 0208 570 0538 or my work e-mail (so as to avoid putting private one up) is jpf@latymer-upper.org.
I'd be interested in any additional info on the Lodge and the "Camp".


04-01-2013, 20:59
Hi Julian, I would love to buy a copy of your book about the Gt Bromley site. I am just across the border in Suffolk and drive past the place at least once a week. Can you please PM me?


julian foynes
19-01-2013, 18:02
Hello Rerun 57

have lost track of who's contacted me! Can certainly put booklet in post if you can send me address or phone no, or phone me 0208 570 0534.


06-04-2013, 16:18
Anyone got a picture of the surviving mast?

06-04-2013, 16:39
As it's such a lovely day, I'll just pop out and take one - back soon!

06-04-2013, 17:16
Photos as requested!

Great Bromley is a very interesting site with plenty left to see but I'm not sure how keen the owners are on allowing visitors!

Julian Foynes' book is a superb record of this very important Radar site - well worth buying!


06-04-2013, 19:23
Peter that is fantastic, may I use the shot of the tower?

06-04-2013, 19:55
Help yourself!

06-04-2013, 21:57
Thanks, PM sent with a request.

24-11-2013, 21:13
Peter that is fantastic, may I use the shot of the tower?

This for Julian Foynes and anyone who knows WWII Bromley.
There was a reference, long since lost from my shorthand pad, that the USArmy had a WWII sigint facility in Bromley - perhaps about the time that Patton was lecturing the ladies of Kent on American manners. But I do recall that the site had some relationship with the USArmy unit presence adjacent to Bletchley Park even though I can't find what that unit was called either.
The Yanks would have located their Bromley intercept site (they might have called it a 'US Army Field Station' within their Army Security Agency) well away from a high powered transmitter of the GEE type or similar.
The Americans would have needed one on more towers
This would be in the era when American airmen wore the brown uniform of the USArmy; an independent USAF was yet to be born.
Does this trigger any memories.?
from behind the Greendoor

28-11-2013, 21:03
Could it have been part of First US Army group AKA FUSAG? This was part of plan FORTITUDE which was the deception plan for OVERLORD.

30-11-2013, 19:30
Could it have been part of First US Army group AKA FUSAG? This was part of plan FORTITUDE which was the deception plan for OVERLORD.

Thank you Canberra. It certainly might have been, but without a unit id there is little hope of confirming this solution in the complex documentation showing the ORBAT of the FUSAG. The recent posting of the 'piggery' to the east of Bromley (on the GEE thread I think) would be a move in the right direction but there is nothing in the crop marks to suggest a substantial site.

from the behind the Greendoor

04-12-2013, 17:47
Now I have to apologize for confusing Bromley with Bexley Heath
There was certainly an American Y-site operating from early 1944 thro' to war's end from an Elizabethan manor house called Hall Place, Bexley Heath, Kent. It was feeding raw intercept back to Bletchley Park for processing.

< www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20070923/NEWS01/70921012/‎ >

By May 45, there were about 500 Americans doing sigint in UK

Sorry for duff-gen, I'll put a proper post on the Y-site thread

from behind the Greendoor

P Bellamy
17-01-2015, 23:31
Great Bromley GEE installation drawings, 1942:


(Source: ARG Archive)

julian foynes
02-04-2015, 12:38
P Bellamy

Excellent Gee site plans. What does "ARG" stand for?

I have 3 plans (found after hunt at RAF Museum) which date from 1939, 1942, 1944. The 1st is a cabling diagram for the Receiver Site, the 2nd is both sites, the 3rd is both sites and the B (domestic) site near Gt Bromley Lodge. The 3rd one includes the various "Type 7000" Gee structures. No.2 seems identical to yours, but your own was obviously drawn up by or for Gee.
Unfortunately No 1 is the size of a tablecloth and hard to copy for this website--besides the RAFM will have copyright.
I also found (and hand-copied) another plan at Hendon which shows the water piping for R and T sites.
I have copies of 2 photos which are actually wartime--one shows the 3 wooden masts used for receiving, and judging from the aerials must be either summer 1940 or mid-1942, the other is of 2 receiver personnel standing either just outside the R Site fence or possibly the R Block (it's hard to tell).
I used to go past the place almost every week decades back and regret that I took only 2 photos.
My big unsolved questions are still:
1)Does anyone have a photo showing the wooden towers (demolished in the late 1950s) as opposed to the taller steel ones?
2)Can anyone confirm whether when "Gee" had its HQ at Bromley (1942) this was housed in the Lodge, as opposed to wooden huts? Everything points that way.


Peter Kirk
02-04-2015, 13:16
ARG = Airfield Research Group

Have you tried looking at the "Britain from Above" website? I don't know about Great Bromley but I have noticed some that include radio masts, some as the main photo and some incidental. As most are oblique so they are ideal for masts.

The other would be to get a search for aerial photo coverage by Historic England (formerly English Heritage) at Swindon. If you are lucky this may include wartime obliques and also post war ones although these tend to be after the 1950s.

julian foynes
02-04-2015, 16:08
Thank for the suggestion. I do have an aerial photo of the whole set-up taken by the RAF in 1953, in which the different structures cast long early-morning shadows and all 9 towers are clearly visible. Will see if I can track down an oblique or horizontal view. The annoyance for me is that a kid I used to look across at the whole site every time I went to and from school.
Does ARG have a particular contact person or radar specialist?

HF Dave
07-04-2015, 21:16
They are visible in the far distance of photo EAW024344 from 1949 (http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/eaw024344?search=EAW024344&ref=0)

The four Tx towers are in a row, one behind the other, but the Rx towers are nicely spaced. You can also see the smaller reserve Tx tower.

Unfortunately nothing at closer range.