RAF Bempton

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Royal Air Force Bempton
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Located near Bempton, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Royal Air Force Bempton is located in East Riding of Yorkshire
Royal Air Force Bempton
Royal Air Force Bempton
Coordinates 54°09′00″N 0°10′40″W / 54.1499°N 0.1778°W / 54.1499; -0.1778Coordinates: 54°09′00″N 0°10′40″W / 54.1499°N 0.1778°W / 54.1499; -0.1778
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Built 1940 (1940)
In use 1940–1972

RAF Bempton was an RAF station situated at Bempton in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Bridlington. During the Second World War it was established as a radar station and in later years became part of the Chain Home Low network.

Operational history[edit]

  • 1940 The first CHL radar station was installed in early 1940 a few hundred feet from the lighthouse at Flamborough Head. This was at an elevation of 130 feet (40 m); at this height performance proved to be very unsatisfactory. A new higher site was found four miles up the coast on the 350 feet (110 m) cliffs at Bempton.[1]
  • The new site was opened in July 1940 as RAF Bempton. It was a CHL station.[2]
  • 1941 became a CHL/CHEL radar station.[3]
  • It disbanded on 1 August 1945.
  • 1945 - Air Ministry Experimental Station Type 31
  • 1 June 1949, re-established as a CHL/CHEL radar station.
  • 17 February 1950 - transferred to RAF Fighter Command.
  • On 1 November 1951 it was renamed as 146 Signals Unit Bempton rebuilt as a CEW radar station, part of the ROTOR Programme.
  • The 146 Signals Unit was disbanded on 1 December 1961
  • Bempton became a satellite station of RAF Patrington until final closure in April 1972

The site was also used for a secret High Speed Passive Array RADAR codenamed 'Winkle'.[4][5] The distinctive Y-shaped concrete stanchions on the clif edge are indicative of Winkle.[6]

Current use[edit]

The site was sold in 1980/81 and is now privately owned. Because of trespass, the stairs down to the bunker were removed and other entrances were sealed over with concrete.[1]

In the 1970s, a satanistic cult were known to be practising their rites in the tunnels and open spaces of the former bunker. In 2010, a teenager from Hull went missing after his car was found abandoned by Bempton Cliffs. Police conducted a search for a missing person around the cliff area and inside the former bunker as the teenager had been given a memory stick detailing the pornographic artwork that the cult had painted on the walls of the bunker.[7]

Despite the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service later searching the area again for a body, no trace of Russell Bohling has been found.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Airfields". Hull & East Riding at war. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "British Air Defence System". Bomber History. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Historic England. "RAF Bempton (1415819)". PastScape. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "RAF Bempton, Centrimetric Early Warning Station, Yorkshire". Timechamber. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Simons, RW; Sutherland, JW (1988). "Forty Years of Marconi Radar from 1946 to 1986" (PDF). Radar Pages. GEC review. p. 15. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  6. ^ Brigham, T; Jobling, D (January 2011). "RAPID COASTAL ZONE ASSESSMENT YORKSHIRE AND LINCOLNSHIRE Bempton to Donna Nook English Heritage Project 3729 PHASE 2" (PDF). Historic England. p. 34. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "Student may have been lured to ‘occult’ bunker, father fears". Yorkshire Post. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  8. ^ Campbell, James (6 March 2015). "Family of missing Russell Bohling 'still clinging to hope' five years on". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 

RAF Operational Record Books

External links[edit]