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Royal Air Force Danby Beacon

Ensign of the Royal Air Force

near Danby, North Yorkshire, England
Type Radar station
Coordinates Latitude: 54.4746
Longitude: -0.8656
Built 1937 (1937)
Height 360 feet (109.7 m)
In use 1937–1954
Demolished 1957

RAF Danby Beacon was an early warning radar station that formed part of the Chain Home network of radar (or Radio Direction Finding (RDF)) stations built by the Royal Air Force immediately prior to the Second World War.


The receiving masts were 240 feet (73.2 m) high timber structures and the transmitting masts were 360 feet (109.7 m) steel masts. The construction of these masts was the work of the RAF controlled, but civilian staffed, No 2 Installation Unit of No 1 Maintenance Unit (1 MU).[1]

Second World WarEdit

During the first part of the war the station was under the control of 13 Group of Fighter Command. On 3 February 1940 it was a plot from Danby that led Hawker Hurricane aircraft from Blue section, 43 Squadron stationed at RAF Acklington to shoot down a Heinkel 111 bomber over Whitby. This was the first German aircraft shot down over England during the war, the British aircraft being under the command of (then) Flight Lieutenant Peter Townsend.[2]

Soon after control of the station passed to the newly formed 60 Group but its information was passed to 13 Group headquarters in Kenton, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Cold WarEdit

In 1946 the station moved to the control of 90 Group and continued to function in the early warning role until 1954 when the station ceased operating.[3] The masts and buildings were demolished in 1957.[3]

Danby Beacon - - 1331846

The tablet on the stone reads - Danby Beacon. Site of R.A.F. Radar Station 1939-1954. The mound behind this marker housed the equipment which led to the shooting down by Flt. Lieut. Peter Townsend of the first enemy aircraft to fall on England, 3rd February 1940


None of the structures remain but the site of the station is now marked by a memorial stone.


  1. Clark, Ted (16 December 2003). "My Experiences of Radar Installation". WW2 People's war. BBC. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  2. Pears, Brian (1994–2010). "Firsts". North-East Diary 1939-1945. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Beacon lit for heroes". 16 April 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 

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