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The 360 foot tall masts that were used by the RAF aerial erectors for training in the 1950’s in Canewdon were at the ‘T’ (transmitter) site located in Gardiner's Lane in Canewdon.

Although many of the structures survive on the ground the oblong enclosure seen in Paul’s photo of their bus on the ground far below is not clear any more. However this structure was shown on the 1972 O/S maps as seen here:

When the map opens up remove the blue background by clicking the icon in the top right corner that says "Switch Print Extent Off". It may thereafter be possible to magnify the map one level by clicking the + arrow on the left. If you go too far then click the - arrow (RDCA-Admin).

Using this map and the modern satellite photos on Google maps, here:

along with a 1948 aerial photo it is possible to identify that Paul climbed the northernmost tower at the site in 1956.

From what Paul told me when I spoke with him there was only one tower remaining on the site at the time of his test in 1956. Previous to seeing this photo and talking to Paul it was not known what one of the three towers at Canewdon was the one that was disassembled in 1958 and moved to Great Baddow. But now we know it was the northernmost tower in the group as that was the only one that survived until 1958.

There were at first four 360 foot steel transmitter towers at Canewdon. The idea was that each one would provide a different frequency for the radar to operate on so that in the event of the Germans jamming one frequency another could be selected. However in the event the Germans did not jam any frequencies, as they just had no idea what the transmissions were for! So the need for four frequencies was reduced to three per site and the most southern tower at Canewdon was quickly dismantled and used at another site. So for the majority of the war and up to the mid 1950’s there were only three 360 foot masts at the Canewdon ‘T’ site. (There were also four wooden 240 foot receiver towers at the ‘R’ (receiver) site to the north and a shorter 160 foot steel tower at the emergency transmitter site located to the east of the T site at the right angle turn in Gardener's lane.)

By B Meldon
On 17/09/2013
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