Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker – Updated

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Photos from 2003 before the guard house building was badly damaged by fire.

The mound behind the house holds a two storey ROTOR R2 bunker built in 1951, and destroyed by fire in 1958. The underground areas reached through the red door in the floor are flooded and contaminated with asbestos.

Further info on ‘RAF Goldsborough’ (‘JEX’) R2 CHEL

Goldsborough ROTOR bunker 2003Goldsborough ROTOR bunker 2003Goldsborough ROTOR bunker 2003Goldsborough ROTOR bunker 2003Goldsborough ROTOR bunker 2003

Update Dec 2007 :

Some more photos showing the badly damaged guard house in late 2007

Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker - Post Fire

Update Feb 2009 :

Geoff Pallett has kindly provided me with a picture of the site taken in the early 60’s, he can be contacted directly at GEOFFREY.M3UXB@GMAIL.COM, there is also much discussion of the site in the comments section.


33 thoughts on “Goldsborough ROTOR Bunker – Updated

  1. Dear Sir/Madam.
    There was a camp on the East Barnby road which took its name from RAF Goldsborough,which is dipicted as being on the Kettleness road, I know this as in 1960/1 I was billeted at the camp which is now run as a outdoor persuits base for children.
    During that time I was a senior aircraftsman on 5131 Bomb Disposal and frequented the journey to clear ordinance off the Fylingdale moor so contractors could get on with safety, building what is now known as the balistic early warning station.I used to walk at weekends down to the pub at Kettleness and what a walk it was….I have a photograph of the Rotor Gear at that time errected on the bank at the rear of the building..if you dont have one I can furnish you with a copy. that is all for now I would be grateful for any further information on the site, my wife and I visit the area three times a year and call in to the old campt to see if anyone has left a message who were stationed there. happy times I am geoffrey Pallett. changed my name to powell for family reasons..thank you


  2. Just to say I was Geoffrey Pallett SAC 4261739 ,5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron ,RAF, changed my name to Powell after I came out of RAF for family reasons, Geoff

  3. Sir, Myself and my brother were well into hidden locations in teeside and this bunker was memorably mentioned in an archaeology magazine around 1999.

    Before this date, the bunker was relatively open, no warning signs were erected in relation to asbestos and it was unmanned.

    We arrived a week after the article was published and fences were erected, asbestos warning signs were present and more. I seem to remember the magazine not mentioning the radar station, instead concentrating on the intensely more interesting fact it would have been a nuclear bunker.

  4. I was a radar mec. at Goldsborough in 1953-54 when it was brand new. The domestic site, from the air, looked like a holiday camp and it was like living in one. The name ‘bunker’ seems to have been given to the tech. sites of the c.m.s. stations now they are out of service. They were under ground for protection against air attacks. There was only 1 rotor head,(which I learnt to leap into from the gantry while it rotated at 6 rpm).The elevation heads were at Bempton where I was moved to in 54, sadly after just meeting a lovely girl from Whitby. I wonder what happened to her. We used to hold dances in the mess, bringing girls up from Whitby in the R.A.F. trucks. There were only about 60 of us on camp but joined in the local football and table tennis leagues. The pitch on camp did not get finished and we played every game away, same with TT. I don’t remember ever losing. I do remember a 5-2 result on Whitby Town’s ground and our best win 14-2. I used to train, running up and down the cliffs at Kettleness between and into the two tunnels, surely this railway should have been preserved. I also remember a defence exercise. I was put in charge of radio communications at transmitters (just visable on the map north of the crossroads, the receivers were south of the crossroads). After nearly 4 hrs, with 1 minute to go and no enemy on the horizon I phoned this message to receivers “What a bloody waste of time, run the gear down, I’ll see you in the mess”. No sooner was this done, than the enemy appeared. In my defence I argued that the Russians would not attack with only 1 minute to go. I live in Australia now but would love to see a photograph of that radar head and hear from people of those days.

    • Hi Geoff. Just come across your post from 2008. A Client of mine is looking to acquire the site. Do you have any historic photos of the Goldsborough bunker in operation. Alan

  5. Hi, I am the Chair/Sec of the RAF Bomb Disposal Association RAFBDA, I am doing some reasearch on the task of BD at RAF Goldsborough. I have had a chappie call me who was om the BD Flt by the name of Harry Ramsay under a Flt Lt Toty.Noew I have his name in my records but alas nothing on the tasking at the Stn He wanted some info, so your name came up when I trawled the WEB, have you any info you could fill me in with to assist this chappie, who I may add has”memory problems” and is using it as a therapy to try any get his mind back “into gear”. Hope you can help me in my request.
    Kindes Regards

  6. Walked past this building a number of times. Thanks for letting us know exactly what it was for, I thought it was just a burnt out house.

  7. Will be going past there tomorrow,stopped and looked on a number of trips
    and always admired the building, shame its the state its in

  8. I too was an SAC Armourer on the BD Sqdn on attatchment to RAF Goldsborough in 1961 through 1962 tasked with clearing Fylingdale moor for the new Early Warning radar Stn to be Built. For Freds’ info there where two Flts 6226/6217, our respective HQ flts were at RAF Colerne and RAF Newton. The Station was recomissioned from a mothballed state for our domestic purpose, with the necessary infrastructure/back-up facilities to enable our primary task on the moors which where pretty bleak in winter months, we even had to go out on rescue missions to assist snowed in drivers and accomodate them on camp one winter. The camp itself was rather unique. We had our own all ranks bar (The Virgin Inn) happy days. The task finished in 1962 and our Flt 6226 went back to the real World RAF at Lindholme our HQ being moved there and 6217 wet back to Newton, I believe the camp was decomissioned and the other Trades dispersed into the RAF in 1962. Our Flt C.O. was Flt Lt R.P. Mudge. Flt Lt Totty was the other.

  9. I stayed at RAF Goldsborough around 1977 but knew nothing of its history. I was a young man still of school age. The guard house was being let out at that time to school groups etc for outdoor pursuits. When i first arrived at this place i presumed it was a pretty normal house. The place did have steel shutters over the doors and windows which seemed weird at the time. After a few days staying there i became suspicious about a new looking wall in a coal celler that had been breeze blocked off. Being young and nosey i managed to gain an entry into what i now know to be a long tunnel to the bunker. At that time i remember a small room to my left this may have been used as a small armoury due to the security put in place. I probably went as far as the internal blast doors and gave up. In 1977 the part i went in was not flooded or show any real sighns of fire damage on the concrete walls. I presume the fire that has been there in 1958 was in the bunker beyond the blast doors. I can tell you i feel sorry for anyone who was stationed in the guard house it was really cold. The wind is very strong in that area and it would come through the roof straight onto the bunks. Due to this and some kind of mould growing on the beds we had to sleep in the warm room downstairs. Happy days lol.

  10. If you want to see what the Underground part of the Goldsborough ROTOR station looked like here is an intact one used as a Museum to the Cold War

    Sub Brits entry on the site

    Look through some of these links for lots of underground pictures of various ‘ROTOR” stations.

    It’s an Irony that they were obsolete before they were all finished (Why Goldsborough was abandoned after the fire.
    Fast Jet Bombers made the old WW2 method of fighter and AA direction too slow.

    Goldsborough was a Chain Home Low and Fighter Direction station in WW2, connected with the Chain Home station at Danby Beacon.

  11. Dear Sir,
    I like the up-dated site , Just great, Can you ask Mike Hodge to send me an e-mail / Get in touch My kind regards Geoffrey Powell, Formally Pallett.. THANK YOU…I HAVE SUBMITTED TO THIS SITE.. THANKS

  12. Dear Sir ,
    Ive written on the site and indeed my article submissions are still on the site, Please be advised that I have changed my email server it is now . please would you update my pages thank you Geoffrey Powell.. Formally Pallett . Name changed for family reasons Ex SAC Geoffrey Pallett , RAF goldsborough.. thank you…

  13. I have been putting together a website for the last 2 years covering all the rotor sites in the UK. Have just finished putting together the history of RAF Goldborough which covers its period of operation 17th October 1952 – 30th September 1956. Would be great to hear from anyone who served at the unit during this time.

    I have amassed a great deal of information, including names of personnel (Including commanding officers) who were stationed here over this period.To give you a bit of background about my interest in the subject, I spent 30 years in the RAF as Radar operator, most it underground in former ROTOR bunkers. Please do get in touch if you have any information you think would be of interest.

    Kind Regards Kev Lloyd-Jones

  14. I was lacated at Goldsborough from about September 1953 to August 1954 when I was shipped to Germany to help start the North German Gee Chain. I was a Junior Tech, out of RAF Yatesbury where I took the Heavy ground Radar Mech. and Fitters courses. I remember arriving at about 7 pm one Sunday to a relatively empty camp. The CO cooked my supper! I spent my time there learning the new system, studying in my spare time for my college exams and taking on a teaching job for local Air Cadets. I don’t remember names of the people, except F/O Pink?, who for defense put me in charge of a Bren Gun atop the Radar Head! I felt that , if attacked I would be lucky to get up there, let alone do any good. One of my Mechs, from Cheshire was a pole vaulter, I think. Another came from a coastal town up the coast in Durham I think. The fellow under me in the lower bunk was the station driver who was dyed yellow by nicotine. I never had problems waking, I was usually smoked out of the sac!
    I used to hitch home nearly every weekend to Welling in Kent and come back on the overnight train from KC to York then on the Flyer to Whitby. Needless to say, the TV series Heartbeat was of great interest to me because of the time frame it was set in. It was very well done. Apart from the week end trip, I seldom went out; I was not a drinker and saved up for the day I would marry the first and only girl I met on a social occasion. We did later and spent 51 years together til she passed away nine years ago.
    Microwave started my career and also television transmission. I later worked where the PO tower is now in London then got a job in Canada as an Engineer. The training in the RAF, colleges and The GPO gave me an edge over Canadian engineers and I became something of a microwave and TV transmission Guru, with sessions in Laboratories, microwave system design. TV transmission engineering, lecturing in the company Engineering school and attending or chairing many committees in N America and Geneva. Life in Goldsborough was easy really, although my first real experience in the RAF in the field and it consolidated my interest in Microwave to set me off on a lifelong career. TV was an accident but augmented the microwave side, helped by experience from the london swirching center. As a kid I wanted to fly but the RAF would have none of that for a three year man and My motor functions were much too slow. So I have notched up over a million miles travelling the world as a back seat driver.
    My time in Goldsborough was quite brief really and I did not fit in with RAF life, being a non drinker and something of an academic and with absolutely no interest in sports of any kind. The people I met in the North and in Germany opened my eyes in regard to what I thought was the typical English character, and I was not particularly impressed, especially after meeting some Germans, who seemed to work like Beavers.So, coming back to strike bound England with its snob culture, them and us etc, I took the first chance I had to get out. I guess I could not have made a better move. However, I still feel grateful for the education and experience the RAF gave me, with Goldsborough sitting at the base of that experience that led to a very interesting career and life in this world.

  15. I currently still live with my parentsin Runswick. I would like to know who owns the property is it the Military still? I have always admired its position and view over the Bay. I would love to acquire the land and build my first home on the site!

  16. Kris Moore, I’ve also admired the view from the property across the fields, and the view from upstairs must be amazing, however, the site is contaminated with asbestos, and there are mazes of rooms and tunnels beneath it and beyond. Surely it would be a huge challenge to clear the area successfully of contamination, and fill the tunnels and rooms beneath. before any foundations could be laid for a new property. Good luck if you do though, it would be an idyllic place to live.

  17. I remember staying there at the age of 14 in 1983 as the high school I was at rented this building for us to stay there for 5 days. We used to have a set of canoes that were left down on the top of the beach at Runswick Bay and we stayed in the old guard house and some tents outside on the grass. I remember when it was out turn to stay inside that we stayed in the very top part with the round window and this had tow sets of bunk beds. Now as for the underground section of this it was blocked off with a wall but there had been a small hole broken through by someone and it was big enough to get through. This if I remember right was accessed from the boiler room below. We we asked who wanted to go in to see what it was like there and a teacher took us and escorted us below. It was partly flooded and the floors were missing in paces due to the fire but the main beams were still there and a lot of the old metal structures. The blast doors were intact and you could make out something wich maybe had the radar screens in them as they were a metal structure with a big circle cut into them to house the screen
    It’s was a very bleak damp place and you could see there had been a fire at some point. We walked right through to a set of stairs at the other end that we were told let upto a hatch out onto the surface but sadly the stairs were partly demolished and there was a load of rubble preventing any access. It was very intrest in for a 14 year old boy as we were told it was an early 4 minute warning centre but later on after coming across it by accident on a site I found out the full history of it and that it was an old rotor radar from early on and not the nuclear 4 min warning that I was told by the teacher. Still a very inesting place to see and always wonder what it was really like before the fire. We spent a lot of time in the big room with the metal shutters all on the windows and also the big kitchen area preparing dinners.

    • I could have been the teacher. The school was minsthorpe high school. My name is Mr wordsworth. Before we started the field centre in the old building we renovated it including the roof. Many happy and rewarding weeks were spent there. We rented the building I believe from Lord Dalby. I presume his descendants are still the owners. Hope someone reads this. It is a pity the building is in such a poor state of repair.

      • Yes it was Miinsthorpe High and you was one of the teachers there and I do believe it was you that took us down into the bunker.
        My.full name is Terry Stapp and I was in Mr Donaldsons form for registration in the science block.
        I loved the time we had there and found the building very interesting. I do remember the story of sweaty Albert who was ment to haunt the place and spent a lot of time in the canoe down Runswick bay. The midnight walks and ghost stories in the big room as well
        Happy memories

      • Mr Wordsworth,you.was indeed the teacher who took us down there if my memory serves me well.
        Happy days were spent there and the story of sweaty Albert who was ment to haunt the place.
        I loved the midnight walks and the canoeing down Runsick Bay.
        It’s a shame how it is now as it was a great place to go,even if it was cold.
        I remember you helped me with my eyes as I got really bad hayfever and got a film over my eyes while there.

        What a small world and my name is Terry Stapp.

      • Wow Mr Wordsworth! You taught me A Level English at Minsthorpe in the mid 90’s. You and Mr Whitham. Fabulous times. I do hope you are keeping well.
        J. Bretherton.

  18. I was on the first bomb disposal flight to move in to Goldsborough camp our task was to clear Fylingdales moor of old explosives as the work progressed it became clear that one flight was not enough so a second flight was posted in. our arrival at the camp was during the worst winter for years and we endeared ourselves to the local by rescuing them from snowdrifts and giving the food and shelter, The people of Whitby accepted us as friends,

    • Hello Alan,I vaguely remember you , You arrived at about the same month as myself,I have lots photos of the time I was there , Do you remember anyone named Roy Peters, Someone named Carlton, Cpl Wallace , Tony Tottey, Pete Hindmarsh, Ron Carr ,Garth Bill Elsey, Cpl Robson,Sgt Laurie ,Ken ,Joe Pass ,Omerod , Errol Atherton, Sgt Reardon, Cpl Hodgson, the CO Frearson to name a few ,please have a look on East Cleveland Archive for photos Alan..I have lots photos of personnel Alan, if you contact Webmaster he will furnish you with my email.. regards Geoff Powell, formally Pallett, Changed name for family reasons..location Tamworth Staffs.. Geoff…..p.s Webmaster please forward details to Alan Holmes of my email address now changed….Thank you

  19. Hi, I recently stayed at the outdoor pursuits centre that is now at East Barnby – the camp where you were billetted Geoffrey. We were there with cubs and scouts and one of the leaders told me a story about when she was there a few years back with beaver scouts and cub scouts and they were staying the ‘fourth dormatory’ which is the first block on the right as you go into the site. She woke during the night and say a figure in royal blue with a black head moving away from her and through the door opposite – she assumed it was one of the beavers our of bed and jumped up to sort them out and when she went in their firm they were all asleep and realised the figure had passed through the closed door. She mentioned it to one of the staff there and thetbsaid they had been told similar stories.

    I wonder if anyone knows of anything that happened there as we are all intrigued!


  20. Hi Nicola,
    I was looking at the entries on site, I was stationed there and paid a few visits in the late 90s , I never experienced anything while I was there, I have many pictures / photos of RAF personnel and the best one is when I had my Black Labrador who has passed on photographed outside the right hand side bottom accommodation block, I am 76 now and after leaving the RAF I changed my name for family reasons from Pallett to Powell..I was a Senior Aircraftsman at the camp.. If you need any info you can contact me or anyone on location Tamworth Staffs.. Thank you .. Geoffrey./.my new email is Gmail..

  21. out of interest I had a nosey at this place tonight! in the fog! lol!! the house in now shuttered off. so I just had an external look… now then id love to have a nosey at what is underneath… surely the site if of ‘special interest’ or to be given ‘protection’ in my opinion it needs the house revamping to its original status and the underground area pumping out and again revamping to original status.. who ever owns the site could make mega bucks in opening it up as a museum doing tours… I am 100% sure the site is owner by the marquis of normanby aka the Mulgrave estate in lythe

  22. My father was stationed here for much of his RAF national service in the late 50’s. Before he died he shared his recollections of the station with an historian, especially the infamous fire at the site.

  23. This post has finally proven that I wasn’t imagining staying here in the 1990’s. I stayed here for a short time while my Father repaired some toilets. He was employed by Minsthorpe high school, to renovate them. I never did understand why. However, after recently wondering if I’d dreamt it all, thought I’d do some digging. I have memories of looking out of the circular window while I should have been sleeping on those bunk beds!
    Thanks for explaining it all!

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