RAF Rudloe Manor
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|Corsham, Wiltshire, England|
|Battles/wars||Second World War, Cold War|
RAF Rudloe Manor, formerly RAF Box, was a Royal Air Force station located north-east of Bath, United Kingdom between the towns of Box and Corsham, in Wiltshire. It was one of several military installations situated in the area and covered three dispersed sites.
The station held various roles during its lifetime. The site has now been absorbed into the Joint Support Unit Corsham.
The station was built on top of quarries from which Bath Stone had been extracted, in the 1930s some of the tunnels were converted for use as a Central Ammunition Depot. The vast caverns had some 2,250,000 square feet (209,000 m2) of space, divided into many smaller chambers.
An area was used for No. 10 Group RAF Headquarters, named RAF Box. A communications switching centre was also established. The members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force who manned this post were billeted at nearby Hartham Park.
Also within the tunnels the Ministry of Aircraft Production built an aircraft engine factory, to act as a fallback should the factories in Bristol be damaged through bombing. Despite being built the factory was not actually used.
Following the end of the Second World War the site continued as both a communications hub and home of various administrative units. No:1 Signals Unit was established to manage all UK terrestrial communications infrastructure for the RAF. With the launch of the UK Satellite Communications System, Skynet, in the late 1960s, the site of Controller Defence Communications Network (CDCN) was established. A spacecraft operations centre was established by 1001 Signals Unit, the spacecraft operations organisation, on a small enclave within the site, known as Hawthorn.
The headquarters of the RAF Provost and Security Service (P&SS) was established in the Northerly of the three sites, although on the closure of the station it moved to RAF Henlow.
RAF Rudloe Manor was the location of Headquarters Southern Area Royal Observer Corps (ROC) from 1952 until 1980, when it was relocated to Lansdown near Bath. Co-located with the ROC was Headquarters Southern Sector United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation responsible for the now defunct Four-minute warning in the event of nuclear attack during the Cold War.
The station was closed in 2000 with the Defence Communications Service Agency (DCSA) assuming responsibility for the sites. The northerly site was closed and sold, with DCSA taking responsibility for the remaining two: RNSD Copenacre, which had closed in 1996, and Basil Hill Barracks.
Administrative responsibility for the consolidated site is now undertaken by Joint Support Unit Corsham.
|No. 10 (Fighter) Group RAF||1940-1945||Responsible for the defence of Plymouth and other south west ports, also naval dockyards and channel conveys.|
|Fighter Command Control & Reporting School RAF||1945-1948|||
|Headquarters Southern Sector RAF||1950-1957|||
|No. 81 (Training) Group RAF||1952-1958||Fighter Command training group.|
|No. 24 (Training) Group RAF||1958-1973||Part of Training Command later Technical Training Command, controlled all schools of technical training.|
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