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Royal Air Force Stanbridge

Ensign of the Royal Air Force

near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England
Type Communications Centre
Coordinates Latitude: 51.910833
Longitude: -0.638889
Built 1939 (1939)
In use 1939–March 2013 (Planned Closure Date)
Ministry of Defence
Open to
the public
Controlled by Royal Air Force

RAF Stanbridge is an RAF station situated on the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England[1] and located 1.6 miles (2.6 km) west of the village of Stanbridge, Bedfordshire

It is a satellite site of RAF Henlow and is one of the smallest RAF Stations which looks after the Supply Central Computer System.[2]


Second World WarEdit

During the Second World War the station was a major base for secret communication traffic. A large number of underground tunnels filled with what was state-of-the art equipment were used to protect the equipment.[1]

Cold WarEdit

During the Cold War the station was still used as an vital communications base.[3]

In the early 1970s RAF Stanbridge had satellite sites at RAF Bampton Castle (Receiver site), RAF Edlesborough (Transmitter site), RAF Greatworth (transmitter site) and RAF Stoke Hammond (Receiver site). Stanbridge was then known as the Communications Control Centre (CCC or CommConCent) and was the hub of the Defence Communications Network (DCN). The main building hosted Systems Control, a tape relay centre and later a Telegraphic Automatic Routing Equipment (TARE). The DCN connected sites all over the world by HF radio links using the two diverse transmitter sites and the diverse receiver sites. The Distant Terminals of these links included Canberra, Gan, Cyprus, Ottawa and Malta. Other UK sites involved were the RN site at HMS Forest Moor and RAF Oakhanger with its satellite earth-station.[citation needed]

  • RAF Bampton Castle was a technical site only, equipped with HF radio receivers and an aerial farm and parented by RAF Brize Norton.
  • RAF Edlesborough was a technical site only, equipped with HF radio transmitters and a large aerial farm and parented by RAF Stanbridge.
  • RAF Stoke Hammond was a technical site only, equipped with HF radio receivers and an aerial farm and parented by RAF Stanbridge. It closed in the mid 1970s and the site was returned to the owner, leaving Bampton Castle as the only receiver site.
  • RAF Greatworth had its own accommodation but was administratively parented from RAF Stanbridge. Like Edlesborough it was an HF radio transmitter site with a large aerial farm. The site opened in the 1930s and finally closed in 1992. It is now an industrial park known as Greatworth Park.[4]

These sites were equipped with radio equipment made by Marconi and Racal. During the 1970s the transmitters used were the Marconi HS series (HS31, HS51 and HS71) and their more modern MST series. The power of these transmitters ranged from 1 kW up to 30 kW and the two transmitter sites operated as a RED path and a YELLOW path to provide diversity to cope with atmospheric conditions, HF radio being at the mercy of the ionosphere. Aerials were of the dipole, rhombic or biconical designs being usually fed via twin wire feeders.[citation needed]

Post Cold WarEdit

Prior to 1999, RAF Stanbridge was responsible for providing Communications Support to its now closed satellite site at RAF Edlesborough.[citation needed]

Current useEdit

The base was one of the smallest RAF Stations having only two Station buildings and 24 married quarters. It was part of a bigger site which was sold off by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1999.[citation needed]

The last station commander was Wing Commander M G Brown MBE MSc BEng RAF.[5]

The site was due to close in 2013 but the formal closure ceremony happened during June 2012[6] with the personnel and families moving to RAF Wyton.[5]

RAF Stanbridge closed finally on 21 June 2012.[6]

Future useEdit

Reports indicate that the site may be sold off for development in 2013.[7]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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