Radar comes to Dorset

In May 1940, the RAF were operating and further developing radar at their newly established base in Worth Matravers. It was known as the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) in November 1940 – and was situated 4 miles west of Swanage.

*This was part of the technical infrastructure which led up to the preparations for D-Day

It is agreed by basically all – that the most significant developments in radar – were developed at Worth Matravers, 2 miles from Swanage. But after 2 years of phenomenal and frantic work – it was believed unsafe to stay there any more – as the Germans had reached the coast of Northern France. It was feared that there would be raids – radar equipment captured – and bombings from being detected – and this caused an immediate and urgent need to move back from the coast to a safer and far less obvious area. Thus the whole elaborate TRE establishment – with so many very best young scientists fresh from universities – alongside older and very experienced scientists – at Worth Matravers and the surrounding areas – felt that they had no other choice – but to move from the absolutely beautiful, idyllic small town and surrounding areas of Swanage. The Germans arrival at the North Coast of France was very rapid – approximately one day – from breaking through the Maginot Line. Absolutely striking rapid advance – which took everybody by complete surprise. It was then immediately agreed that the whole intricate and elaborate by then complex establishment – should immediately move to Malvern in Worcestershire England. Later of course – this idyllic area of Swanage and its surrounds – would be occupied by many from the American 1st Infantry Division – who had come over from fierce fighting in Sicily and Italy – arriving in November 1943 – battle hardened and being prepared for their next destination – completely unknown to them at the time of course – The Normandy Landings.

I will be going into this – in very extensive and intricate detail – focusing especially upon the times in Swanage and the surrounding areas, Dorset.

If one visits Swanage today – it is just such a peaceful calm and idyllic place with beautiful high rugged hills where one can look over a vast area of the English Channel – the peacefulness and natural beauty – are such that one could never imagine – that this was vast military base – right across the county – with a purpose so great – that of the liberation of Europe from tyranny.

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