View Full Version : Mount Stewart Quadrant Tower??

10-05-2012, 12:52
I have attached some pictures of what I believe to be a Bombing Range Quadrant Tower beside Mount Stewart House in County Down.

There are also the 3 tree trunks which have one tall one with two smaller that are of the same size. I suspect this may have been some form of sineage realting to the Tower / Bombing Range.

The walls show evidence of having been painted cream and light blue and the remains of a wooden door is lying beside a very small stoorroom behind the steps.

Any help in confirmation / information would be very much appreciated.

Peter Kirk
10-05-2012, 20:20
What an amazing find. I would say with almost 100% certainty that it is a QS for Mount Stewart. Well done for finding it and do you have a grid reference for the QS?
I have found a little circle marked on a 1945 map at Mount Stewart, I will post an extract when I locate it.
The "unknown" ranges in Northern Island are being whittled away.

11-05-2012, 08:30
Very good! I had some problem navigating the NI Environmental website (very slow viewer) but I think this is it recorded by them as 'POST COMPLEX'

The Grid Ref is (of the item I can see) J5478069770

Yes, there is little doubt that it is a QS but which range? South Island Range?

How nice that the internal walls were cream and blue; more like a dairy than an OP!

11-05-2012, 10:42
It would be closest to South Island.8819

I have attached a picture of the precise location.

Are the 3 tree trunks relevant as I have thought?

Peter Kirk
11-05-2012, 20:52
The range is Mount Stewart as South Island is a different range. Mount Stewart is actually named in a post war document along with the grid reference 534 693. As the Irish grid hasn't changed I suspect that is J534693 and these grid references usually referred to the target area (roughly).
I have no idea what the tree trunks were for and can't say they are definitely related to the range.

11-05-2012, 22:41
That is an excellent find. It's what I would expect the two Cold War era quadrant towers on the Burton Marsh range to look like, they were on a very similar bank.

In it's Cold War re-incarnation (not the WW2 configuration) the Burton Marsh Range (Welsh Dee Estuary) used railway sleepers ( 4 - 6 - 8 ) stuck on end in the ground as distance to the target indicators, and a burning barrel of tar for wind direction indicator.

There are also two tree trunks stuck in the marsh on the (distant) side of the target, no idea if they are connected or not with the bombing range.

However, there are actually two sets of targets, approx 50 yards apart, and the two trunks (for a better word !) are on a line bisecting the two targets.

Burton Marsh is also living proof that the design manual wasn't followed to the letter.

The pictures below are in the "bombing run order".


The third set of railway sleepers are (assumed !) underneath landfill.




One of the targets can be seen at the top between the two posts.


12-05-2012, 05:07
It would be closest to South Island.8819

I have attached a picture of the precise location.

Are the 3 tree trunks relevant as I have thought?

Yes, that is the image that I found and that is marked on the NI Defence Heritage database. If there is one QS extant there may be another so if I have time I will look and see if the Target (presumed at J534693) and a second QS are also recorded.

So this range was post-war? Used by whom?

Peter Kirk
12-05-2012, 05:50
I have only found written evidence of Mount Stewart in a couple of lists with no other details. This extract fron a 1947 map shows the area. The "A" prefix indicates aircraft used and the numbers are the height in thousands of feet. The solid red dots indicate explosives storage.


The circle for Mount Stewart (If that is what it is) looks to be a tad too far north. I would have expected it to be a floating raft target and since the tree trunks are on the shoreline it make them unlikely targets. Sadly a lot of ranges have the merest of mentions and the odd mark on the map so there is still a lot to uncover. The only onther bit of info is that it was used by Flying Training Command according to a 1946 list.

12-05-2012, 06:24
Thanks Peter. I can't find any other records on the NI site. The one for the extant QS is not under the Defence Heritage layer but under Sites & Monuments Record!

12-05-2012, 12:55
It was seeing this post previously that got me thinking about the tree trunks. I will have to have a look around to see if there are any more.

Peter Kirk
12-05-2012, 18:31
The example that a10694 has shown is on marshland so is more adaptable to different targets. The beach at Mount Stewart is too close to roads or houses to be a target area. The tree trunk might be range related but something less exciting maybe? Warning boards and red light maybe?

How do you go about ordeirng 1940s aerial photos of Northern Ireland? (or have we covered this)

13-05-2012, 04:23
Looking again at the pix, I note that the QS is Temporary Brick construction, rendered externally and partly(?) internally with a flat slab concrete roof. Smacks more of WW2 austerity than post-war even though cash was still tight.

13-05-2012, 17:57
According to PNK, the original Burton Marsh WW2 ones were timber, the replacement Cold War QS were brick, according to the locals (and the piles of old bricks where one of them was situated).

14-05-2012, 06:13
Thanks. The main feature is the slab concrete roof to protect against 'off-target' practice bombs. One of the QS I worked in (tropical) was timber construction as was the roof and a PB (25 pounder) did come through the roof and passed through two floors (three storey) fortunately without injury to the occupants.

Peter Kirk
15-05-2012, 13:22
The posts regarding 25lb practice bombs have been moved to a new thread here http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?8601-Practice-Bombs

Peter Kirk
23-10-2015, 10:46
The Mount Stewart range was to be brought back into use in 1950 as a replacement for Ards (South) and the following is a précis of the state of the range on 14th September 1950. It was out of use, probably since 1946 although once record states it was reopened in June 1950! It was to be administered and parented by RAF Aldergrove.

Right Hand Quadrant Shelter (Grid Ref: 528707 - translated to J 52825 70725)
This is a single storey brick building of type design. The outside door was locked but the interior could be seen through the windows. There was no equipment or fittings inside. All windows are broken and the door and frame of the latrine is missing. Apart from that, the building appears to be serviceable.

Left Hand Quadrant Shelter (Grid Ref: 548697 - translated to J 54792 69753) - EXTANT
Same state as the RHQ

Target (Grid Ref:534692 - translated to J 53425 69225)
A 16ft floating raft target in good repair. Maintained and serviced by the Civilian Moorings Contractors.

Signals (Assumed to be adjacent to RHQ?)
Ground signals in concrete. Arrow could be used as directional arrow. It requires painting. There are no telephones fitted and no lines could be found.

Source: AIR 2/12786

Such a shame it is difficult to get hold of 1946 coverage for NI as there are a few ranges that could be confirmed this way.

24-10-2015, 11:37
I have had a look at the Explosive Storage locations and the lower one would be near Crossgar. - This is now used by Thales Air defence Systems.
The upper one is in Belvoir Park.

I have visited both locations and there is information and pictures on my website.