Opened – July 1960
Closed – October 1968Explored as part of an ‘8 ROC Posts in one day’ tour sadly this was one of several sorry looking posts we came across. ‘Decorated’ my local morons in a fetching yellow and blue colour scheme, some smoke damage to the roof tiles and a shattered sump grate welcoming us below ground. The cupboard had been partially destroyed but there was an intact hand operated siren crate.
The compound was in a fantastic location on the edge of a cornfield and contains the demolished remains of a brick Aircraft Observation Post, also in the compound are several beehives….complete with LOTS of bees….needless to say we chose a swift and different exit on the way out as we had accidentally disturbed them on the way in.
Yet again I was experimenting with camera settings (epic fail on most which got deleted…) so apologies for the quality on some shots.
Opened – February 1962
Closed – October 1968Even more from the ‘8 ROC Posts in one day’ tour. We knew in advance that this one was badly trashed and that was certainly the case but we needed to visit to tick off some remaining Northants Group posts.
As previously stated I was experimenting with camera settings (epic fail on most which got deleted ) so apologies for the lame shots.
Also present at this site was a brick Aircraft Observation Post from an earlier time in ROC history, this would have been linked up to HQ with a land line using a Magneto Telephone.The other unusual item in the pictures is a very old cashbox from a BT pay-on-answer public phone box, quite what that was doing up here I don’t know, unless it was robbed then dragged up here to be prised open…
Opened – October 1959
Closed – September 1991More from the ‘8 ROC Posts in one day’ tour. Once we caught sight of the telegraph poles disappearing into a field we were well happy as this was a Master Post but sadly on reaching the compound it was a major disappointment as it was seriously locked down (pictures elsewhere show this to be very tidy inside). The exterior was a lovely shade of green though with no obvious damage to anything. Not sure if they built this too low by mistake but the FSM tube has an extension and the hatch is well low in the ground!!
Supposedly this has been bought by someone but I don’t know for sure. Whoever is taking care of it has secured it very well and as we were tight on time we couldn’t really spend time finding out.
A Tube Cam was also out of the question unless we had a monster can of EAC Plus Gas and a spare day…..we had neither 🙁
Opened – March 1960
Closed – September 1991Another post visited as part of an ‘8 ROC Posts in one day’ tour, Parson Drove had been ingeniously locked with a cleverly fitted mortice lock so became our first ‘fail’ of the day in respect of underground shots. The post was recently sold on eBay to someone in Oakham, Rutland but it looks like nothing has been done to it apart from the fancy lock.
Never one to be outwitted I broke out the Tube Cam Kit and did some ‘remote photography’. The interior looks to be the same as its always been with the red spray paint noted by Sub Brit back in 1999. My Tube Cam Kit is due to be modified in the future to provide precise shots, these ones are a bit poor but its better than nothing.
The famous Shetland pony is still there, it crept up on us and was attempting to eat Winch It In’s Canon kit while we had our backs turned doing the Tube Cam !!
Opened – July 1961
Closed – September 1991Explored as part of an 8 ROC Posts in one day tour we were surprised to find this site totally overgrown as supposedly someone had bought this post and was going to restore it, obviously something has gone wrong with this plan!.
The long paving slab path that runs from the compound to steps up to the main road was covered in a thick hedge and the compound itself is several feet high in brambles and nettles. As stated on Sub Brit this post was totally dug up and rebuilt during the 1980’s and it shows, the walls and interior are in superb condition and a damp-proof membrane is evident at the base of the hatch. Internally the air vents are of a different design, we couldn’t even see the rear, above ground vent due to undergrowth but pictures on Sub Brit show this to be of a different design too. Toilet area was fitted with slatted shelves and the ‘desk’ seemed different to many other ROC Posts.
I was experimenting with camera settings (epic fail on most which got deleted!) so apologies for the quality on some shots.
This was a bonus find while we were out on a ROC Fest day last week (8 ROC Posts in one day!!), I’ve not seen anything like this before but its believed to be a Starfish Bombing Decoy Control Bunker related to the (relatively) nearby RAF Wittering
If you know different the please post a comment and let me know.
The building has three rooms, one small room at the front, which is now buried and was possibly either a generator room or more likely a toilet, a 12ft x 10ft room to one side of the entrance corridor and a large 30ft x 12ft room. The large room has a ladder on the end wall going up to a hatch in the concrete roof which looked like at one time it had a brick surround. At various points in the roof were large circular holes and on the large flat concrete roof was evidence of mounting points, possibly for a ‘Micklethwaite’ type device or maybe another small platform/canopy. Surrounding this site are piles of broken brickwork and at least one Blast Wall which may well have covered the main entrance originally.
All in all an interesting find and despite the graffiti the place had a nice feel to it.
Visited this some time ago and kept a lid on it out of respect. It seems its now been outed elsewhere online so there’s no harm in posting these pix up now. This ROC Post had been deteriorating gradually over recent years and a couple of Cold War enthusiasts have fully restored the post to its former glory. If you are curious about the ‘stairs’ I have it on good authority that the original Chief Observer suffered from Polio so had these fitted decades ago to help getting in and out of the post. Getting all the items together has taken these guys ages and respect is due for the time, effort and cost required to do this restore.
I would like to add (and I know this to be true as I know the guys who restored this post) that NOTHING is left in this post in between ‘open days’ and the post is locked and alarmed.
This was only a quick visit so no underground shots on this occasion (we will be back for these another day). In the compound are what looks like the concrete steps for a Visual Reporting Post (Aircraft Observation), there are also some of the poles from this laying on the ground.
Straying from the Cold War theme slightly here is my attraction to old airfields, I’m not big on WW2 stuff but these places provide a certain draw to me and I’m lucky to have many old RAF/USAF sites very near to my house. A full report on one of these sites will follow in the near future but for now here’s a small article on Cantilever Pillboxes.
Cantilever Pillboxes, more commonly known as Mushroom Pillboxes are found only on airfields and mainly in the East of England, they are of a circular design, partially sunken into the ground and have a 360 degree embrasure (opening) to allow weapon fire to be layed down in any direction. Just inside the embrasure and attached to the brickwork is a circular gun rail so a machine gun could be moved almost anywhere in the pillbox to lay down fire.
The construction of these two are of a circular brick built base with a central cruciform wall which in turn supports a poured concrete dome. The example in the photo’s below is from RAF Grafton Underwood and was in a defensive position at the north end of the No.1 Runway. A second Mushroom Pillbox is also present on this site but the roof has sadly collapsed.
The airfield was opened in 1941 and was first used by the RAF Bomber Command 1653 Heavy Conversion Unit with Liberators. The original runways were approximately 1,600 yards and 1,100 yards in length. The runways were not suitable for the operation of heavy, four-engined bombers so the airfield was upgraded to Class A, including the lengthening of the runways to the required 2,000 yards for the main and 1,400 yards for each of the others, started in late 1942.
As a result of this Grafton Underwood was assigned United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force in 1942. Its designation was USAAF Station 106. The airfield became a major base for the USAF and many squadrons were based there during WW2 – 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light), 97th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 96th Bombardment Group (Heavy) and 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy).
Duston forms part of the Bedford 30 Cluster – Brixworth 30 (Master Post), Crick 31 and Duston 32 and came under ROC Group HQ No 7 Bedford
With the fast rate things were being removed from here and more importantly the imminent demolition of this entire site to make way for a major urban development plan (the ROC Post is the little grey square in sector O) we decided now was the time to visit before the post is gone forever.
Expecting a stripped post we were pleasantly surprised by what we found. If anyone is interested there is also the lower half an Orlit Post in the same compound.