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Martlesham Heath

Last modified: 24 Jul 2019

Country: United Kingdom    Region: Suffolk

Latitude: 52° 3' 7" N     Longitude: 1° 14' 23" E

Area use / Military Branches: Closed


Martlesham Heath; former Chain Home radarstn; later ETA comms unit. In 1961 the USAF set up a radio signal station near the south-west corner of the airfield, just within Kesgrave parish, officially also called "Martlesham Heath". It relayed radio communication between the USAF and other US bases in the USA, Iceland, and the UK on the one hand, and Germany and Italy on the other. It linked via SHF voice and morse radio to Hillingdon, West London, and via large UHF tropo-scatter dishes to the ballistic early warning base at Fylingdales (Yorkshire), Flobecq (Belgium) and the Hook of Holland. Eventually, with additional capacity in mind, it acquired six steel masts. Its personnel were supplied from the nearby Bentwaters airbase. From 1966 its main building housed one of the two "Autovon" (US radio telephone automatic exchanges) in the UK. Between 1988 and 1990 it progressively shut down, though the buildings and 3 masts remain.

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