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Thread: Site near Matching Essex

  1. #1
    Senior Member Denis's Avatar
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    Default Site near Matching Essex

    There is known locally a site just near Matching village. It was not connected with the airfield at Matching in any way. The largest building is known as the 'test hut'.

    It has a picket post on the access road. This road leads to several small buildings, the larger looks like a workshop of some sort. all have concrete flat roofs. Ther are four round pads linked by a concrete track some ten foot wide.

    I have no images of the buildings as I have yet to gain permission from the Farmer to enter. Any clues as to its former use? I have a hunch it could be a wartime searchlight battery.

    One was in the area during 1940 as a Luftwaffe crew gave themselves up to it in September of 1940 after being shot down by a nightfighter from 25 Squadron. The Heinkel crashed no more than half a mile to the northeast.
    So, did we have radar guided searchlights in 1940?.
    http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=51.78....3&r=0&src=msl
    Last edited by Denis; 26-07-2009 at 17:10.

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    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    It was certainly there just after the war and there is what appears to be a radar mat in the centre.

    Searchlight batteries could do with a thread of their own as I am sure there are many still visible.
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    Last edited by Peter Kirk; 26-07-2009 at 16:53.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Denis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Thanks for the quick reply Peter. firstly what is a 'radar mat' please? I'm not familiar with anything remotely radar
    Does the layout resemble a searchlight battery? do you have a known S/L battery site visible on flashearth to compare it against?
    Regards.

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    Senior Member horrocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Denis, I have always been aware of the concrete service road leading off of the Tye road, and have always assumed the this was a Matching Airfield dispersed site of some kind.

    Did your enquiries draw any conclusions?

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    Senior Member Denis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    No Horrocks,
    It is definately not Matching airfield related, The one fellow who does know is in a long term illness.
    We will find out though!

  6. #6
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Denis,

    Just noticed I didn't reply to your question from July. Apologies.
    If you haven't already found out what a radar mat is then all I know is it is for radar guidance of AA guns and in this case Searchlights. I think it was to help with prediction of targets so that shells could be fired more accurately to "meet" the target aircraft. Not sure how this fits with Searchlights as they tend to travel as the speed of light!
    The mat itself was a mesh, probably chicken wire, and its exact funtion is best explained by a radar expert. I think it was answered somewhere on the forum.

    Peter

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    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Quote Originally Posted by PNK View Post
    The mat itself was a mesh, probably chicken wire, and its exact funtion is best explained by a radar expert. I think it was answered somewhere on the forum.
    Aerials would work much more predictably if the 'earth' on which they were mounted was made of steel, or copper, or some other very electrically conductive medium. As they proved with the SBA transmitter, you could calibrate the system only to find that everything changed when it rained. If the ground got uniformly wet it might just be acceptable, but sand and clay mixes behave very differently when moist and are completely unacceptable.

    Solution - make an artificial ground covering using chicken wire. As in the Faraday shield, if the wavelength of the radar is larger than the holes in the chicken wire, it's as good as a solid sheet of metal.

    Graham

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    Senior Member Denis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Quote Originally Posted by PNK View Post
    Denis,
    Just noticed I didn't reply to your question from July. Apologies.
    Peter
    No problem Peter, So if my understanding of yours and Grahams explanation is correct, it could well be a Radar controlled searchlight site.
    My other question still stands as to if we were using radar controlled searchlights in 1940. That is if the site was not adapted from normal controlled searchlights, to a radar controlled type at a later date of course!

  9. #9
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Quote Originally Posted by Denis View Post
    My other question still stands as to if we were using radar controlled searchlights in 1940.
    My understanding is no we weren't. Again hopefully someone knows for certain.

  10. #10
    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Site near Matching Essex

    Quote Originally Posted by Denis View Post
    My other question still stands as to if we were using radar controlled searchlights in 1940.
    My guess would agree with PNKs, but a search through Colin Dobinson's AA Command shows otherwise. 'Elsie' (searchlight control SLC) began in late 1940 and was well underway by the spring of 1941.

    Some good diagrams and pictures of the 'GL' mat in this book.

    Graham

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