Top secret piece of WWII history untouched for decades on Lizard

7:00am Friday 11th January 2013

Deep in the heart of the Lizard Peninsula a piece of World War Two history has lain untouched for decades.

Now, however, archaeologists have begun investigating Twenty Acre Plantation, at the edge of Crousa Downs near St Keverne, which contains the remains of wartime radar station RAF Trelanvean.

The land has entered into Natural England's Higher Level Stewardship Scheme and as part of this there is now a proposal to convert one of the bunkers into an educational room for visiting school groups.

To guide the potential building works, Cornwall Council's historic environment projects team has been commissioned to carry out an archaeological assessment, oral history project and photographic record of the site.

Charles Johns, senior archaeologist at the council who is leading the project, is calling on any residents who may have memories of working at the site during or after the war to come forward, so that he can record their recollections.

He said: “Chain Home Low radar stations formed part of an early warning system against low flying enemy aircraft during World War Two.

“RAF Trelanvean saw additional use in the Cold War and was finally closed in 1958.”

Mr Johns said that because the radar station was top secret there are very few records and no known original plans, but he hoped that there may be memories he can record for posterity.

In the years since the war the site has been covered by a tree plantation, which until recently was thick with rhododendron.

This has now been removed, opening up the site for the first time in many years and allowing access to a number of the buildings including a well, toilet block, stores and possible guard hut.

These are dominated by three earth covered bunkers that once housed generators, transmitters or receivers. Further military remains such as camp barracks and radar mast positions lie to the north and south of the plantation.

Mr Johns can be contacted by calling 01872 322056, emailing chjohns@cornwall.gov.uk or writing to him at the Cober Building, Old County Hall, Station Road, Truro, TR1 3AY.

 

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