Rew Down Y-station


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Post Sat May 11, 2013 1:08 pm

Rew Down Y-station

Since the range of World War II activities at Bletchley Park have been disclosed, the field operations that supported it have also come under scrutiny. The Isle of Wight Industrial Archaeology Society have recently been researching the remains of a rare wartime structure called a Y-station on Rew Down, which was part of a radio receiving network linked to the code-breaking at Bletchley Park. The Society believes that it could be the only one remaining with walls above ground level and many of the fixings still intact.

Y-stations acted as wireless listening posts, intercepting enemy VHF radio transmissions and, if encoded, forwarding them on to Bletchley Park for processing. Y-stations could also be used for radio direction finding, a means of locating enemy ships by using the bearings of their radio broadcasts to obtain a triangulated position. On a more local level, Y-stations were useful in monitoring the movements of German E-boats through their radio transmissions, a function that was particularly significant for the Isle of Wight.
Like other Y-stations, the one on Rew Down is octagonal with a 2 ft channel running across the middle of the floor. This trunking channel housed all the wiring for equipment. There is a single-skin brick perimeter blast wall that forms seven of its sides, with an opening on the south-east side. About 4 feet away from each corner, there is a concrete base set in the ground that originally held a timber brace, set at a slant towards the structure. These wooden beams acted as supports for an octagonal wooden hut, now gone, about 25 feet high, that sat upon a low internal masonry wall and housed the aerials. The iron bolts and bracket plates that secured the hut still remain embedded in the low foundation wall. The operators occupied the ground floor of this structure, while the top housed a double H-shaped aerial that could be rotated according to the strength of the received signal.
A document in the National Archives, listing Y-stations and their locations, includes the Rew Down Y-station as part of "Southern Command" and names it as "Ventnor". It was operated by the Navy and described as a "D/F Tower 200 yds. from Stn." The main station itself was located in The Heights Hotel and operated by Wrens. It is visible on a 1945 aerial photo as a dark tower and is also marked on a 1942 map as "tower".
Very few remains of Y-stations exist today as most were dismantled after the war. Here and there, the concrete base of one can be seen appearing through overgrown grass and indeed an almost identical base, but without its walls or any detail, can be seen at Beston Hill, near Sheringham in Norfolk. It is this extreme rarity that makes the Y-station on Rew Down so nationally significant.
If radar could be described as the eyes of Britain, Y-stations were its ears, and, as with radar, their operators are some of the unsung heroes of World War II. As part of their continuing research, the IW Industrial Archaeology Society website carries a request for contact with anyone who has associations with the Rew Down operation.

More info - http://ystations.webs.com/

Sources;
http://www.iwias.org.uk/
http://freespace.virgin.net/roger.hewitt/iwias/home.htm
Attachments
newsystation.jpg
External and internal views of the Y-station on Rew Down. At right, a wartime photo showing how this type of station originally appeared.
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Site Admin

Posts: 35

Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:01 pm

Post Sat May 11, 2013 5:59 pm

Re: Rew Down Y-station


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