View Full Version : Archived: Barham ROC Post - (Kent Group) - October 2009

22-03-2010, 10:12 PM
In August 1917 Major-General Edward Ashmore, after leading 1st Brigade RFC was was appointed Commander of the London Air Defence Area. He was to devise improved systems of detecting enemy aircraft. The Metropolitan Observation Service was created although it stretched into Kent and Essex and his system of aircraft spotting and detection was fully functional by summer 1918, two months after the last air-raid on London.

After the war, Ashmore played a vital role in ensuring that a network of observation posts became part Britain's air defences and experiments were carried-out with 'sound mirrors' at New Romney and on the Weald; the first two Observer Corps groups were formed in June 1925 at Maidstone in Kent and Horsham in Sussex and the 'Observer Corps' was inaugurated in August of the same year.

By 1938 the Observer Corps was a nationwide network, run by the Air Ministry and manned by volunteer special constables. They were called upon at the outset of War in 1939; their ranks were swelled by recruits from all walks of life to man the posts 24 hours a day, spotting and tracking aircraft, reporing their information to Control Centres but also guiding friendly 'lost' aircraft to safety.
It was during the Battle Of Britain that The Observer Corps was given its 'Royal' title.

The ROC was stood-down in May 1945; reformed in 1947 but the increased speed of aircraft made recognition very difficult and by 1955 A new role for the ROC began when it was announced that observers would be trained to detect, measure and report radioactive fallout in the event of a nuclear explosion. This would mov their posts underground so 1965 saw the end of the ROCs aircraft spotting duties all together.

The ROC was finally stood-down between September 1991 and March 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union; the nuclear reporing cells closed four years after that.
Barham ROC Post. Closed in 1991.