Bawdsey Radar

On 24th September 1937 RAF Bawdsey became the first fully operational Radar station in the world.  This was only just over eighteen months after the first experiment, conducted by Robert Watson Watt and Arnold Wilkins, established that by using transmitted radio waves it was possible to detect an approaching aircraft. 

Bawdsey continued in the development of Radar until the outbreak of the Second World War, on 3rd September 1939, when the scientific team was moved from this vulnerable east coast site to Dundee.  RAF Bawdsey remained an important Radar station and later a Bloodhound Surface to Air Missile (SAM) site until 31st March 1991, when it was officially closed.

The Magic Ear Exhibition tells the story of a technology and an institution which helped win a war – and shape our future. It reveals how scientists came together in total secrecy before World War 2 to prove that radio waves could locate aeroplanes, ships and other targets and how their invention dramatically affected the course of the conflict. It explains how their work laid the foundations for the age of electronics and the computer.

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