A Conversation for Isle of Wight Radar During The Second World War

Possible Y-Station at Ventnor

Post 1

splodgit

I believe that the octagonal concrete enclosure behind the houses above Whitwell Road, Ventnor, may be the retaining wall of a Y-station tower and if so I think it may be the only surviving example in the UK. Y-stations were featured in a BBC Coast (series 3) episode about the north Norfolk coast which included a visit to the site of a Y-station at Beeston Bump and a WW2 photo of a complete tower. Basically, a Y-station was a DF receiving post and had a steerable antenna mounted on the roof of a small operating cabin containing receivers which was supported on a wooden tower within the octagonal concrete walls. Not only was DF information obtained, in our case perhaps on signals transmitted by enemy shipping in the channel, but signals intelligence was also gathered with data often being sent to Bletchley Park for analysis. The Ventnor tower was present in 1943 and Roy Brinton, who lived nearby, once told me that it was operated by WRENs who were based at the nearby Heights Hotel where other equipment and operators may have been located. On 15 July 1945 a V1 flying bomb (the last on the Island) exploded on the Down nearby and the blast knocked the tower over, leaving only the concrete enclosure. It was never replaced. I have in my mind that I heard of an associated and nearby hutted camp occupied by the WRENs but I cannot locate this. An obvious place would be Watcombe Bottom, but I do not have evidence of this. You comments will be appreciated.


Possible Y-Station at Ventnor

Post 2

Bluebottle

I'm afraid that, as I'm a someone with an interest rather than someone with technical or first hand knowledge I do not know for certain. If you find out, please do let me know.

<BB<


Possible Y-Station at Ventnor

Post 3

splodgit

Correcting my earlier posting, I now know that it was not RB who told me about the V1 destroying the tower, but I cannot remember who it was. There is no doubt that a Y station "manned" by WRNs was located at The Heights Hotel, Whitwell Road, with additional accommodation at a nearby house named Chilonga. The octagonal brick structure we see on Rew Down, behind the hotel site, is the blast wall which encircled a wooden DF tower about 30 feet high. A large crater about 32 metres distant is presumably where the V1 exploded and it is little wonder that the tower was destroyed. The survival of the blast wall is testament to its design. I do not know what injuries resulted from this event but my informant did say that windows in the houses along Whitwell Road were blown out.
Splodgit


Possible Y-Station at Ventnor

Post 4

Bluebottle

Thanks for keeping us updated with that - if you find out more then please do let me know.

<BB<


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Possible Y-Station at Ventnor

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