View Full Version : Thunderbird

30-05-2011, 01:25
Please excuse if this is in the wrong bit but I think I just had a revelation!
For more years than I can remember, I have had an enduring image of missiles pointing skyward near Southend on Sea.
It would have been around the mid-sixties and as my grandparents lived in Wakering we would spend the Saturday shopping in town (my Dad worked away all week) followed by a trip along the seafront to see the illuminations and then through Shoebury to see 'the folks' where Dad and Grandad would go for a pint (to see how deep the snow was they told me) at the Red Lion.
I knew from this memory I have that we were well past the illuminations and that as the road bore left the missiles were right in front of us.
Since joining here the other day I have now put the story together and it appears that there was indeed a missile site here, called Horseshoe Barracks that held 36th & 37th Reg RA which was equipped with Thunderbird Mk1.
Mystery solved!
Some pics on their site at http://www.36regimentra.org.uk/PAlbum/id19.htm
Admittedly it's not an actual airfield but it is the defence thereof.
There are still bits to see on GE. Just follow the seafront from the pier, all the way along past Thorpe Bay and as the road bears left the site is dead ahead.

Alec Beanse
12-02-2012, 15:05
If you can get hold of a copy of "Guns and Gunners at Shoeburyness by Tony Hill" it mentions the Thunderbird and may have some photos - long time since I've seen a copy and it's out of print I believe.

12-02-2012, 15:59


The English Electric Thunderbird is Britain's mobile anti aircraft weapon system and is in service w ith the British Army, An even more advanced version of the Thunderbird is now completing its development, Employing advanced techniques and retaining its full mobility the new version will provide, among other advantages, better performance against low level attack and increased range, ENGLISH ELECTRIC THUNDERBIRD - ENGLISH ELECTRIC AVIATION LTD - GUIDED WEAPONS DIVISION, LUTON STEVENAGE - WOOMERA"



13-02-2012, 06:44
How deliciously 1960's, very Gerry Anderson...

Alec Beanse
14-02-2012, 08:22

Looks like a Bofors carriage that the Thunderbird launcher is mounted on.

16-02-2012, 09:39
Thanks Alec I'll have a look around.

17-02-2012, 07:25
Rather than airfield defence, for which the fixed-point Bloodhound system was developed, Thunderbird was designed for defending Army formations, hence the need for mobility.

Alec Beanse
21-02-2012, 20:28
Turns out that there is only one photo in 'Guns and Gunners':


23-02-2012, 08:49
Ex British Army Thunderbirds were exported to Saudi Arabia and installed at Khamis Mushayt airbase in the far south to counter attacks from over the border in Yemen. As I recall this was part of the 'Magic Carpet' contract that also provided a limited number of ex RAF Lighting aircraft.

20-12-2012, 00:07
Well I was out in the van last week picking up 400/4's and had a pick up in Leigh, so decided a trip along the front wouldn;t go amiss and sure enough I got to the corner I remember and there was what remains of the barracks. Looked a lot tidier back in the 60's though.

Paul Lloyd
08-05-2013, 09:51

Thunderbirds at Woomera, South Australia, July 2006