RAF Douglas Wood

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RAF Douglas Wood was one of a series of Chain Home air defence RDF (as radar was then called) stations around the British coast that had opened by the time war broke out in September 1939.

Four 360 foot steel lattice towers held the transmitter aerial array and four 240 foot receiver towers were placed some distance away from the transmitter towers.

Chain Home gave early warning of incoming air raids up to 80 miles offshore. On 16th October 1939 Douglas Wood was one of two radar stations that detected the formation of German bombers heading for the Forth and the first air raid over Britain of the Second World War. Spitfires were scrambled from RAF Turnhouse (now Edinburgh Airport) and RAF Drem in East Lothian and two of the raiders were shot down.

Douglas Wood successfully vectored RAF Hurricanes and Spitfires onto small groups of attacking shipping off the east coast and later, in March, April and May 1941, the radar station tracked large formations of enemy aircraft heading for the heavy raids on Clydeside. Finally, on the evening of 10th May 1945, Douglas Wood tracked three German aircraft approaching from Norway. Bound for RAF Drem, they carried German officers whose mission was to arrange the surrender of all German forces in occupied Norway.

A chain home radar station is situated in Douglas Wood some 400m NE of The Brackens. Annotated as the 'Scout Hall' on the current edition of the chart copy OS 1:10000 scale map (1972), the transmitter (and receiver block? ) is at NO 4877 4146.

The radar station at Douglas Wood is spread over three areas, the transmitter block and aerials at NO 4877 4146; the reciver block and aerials at NO 4844 4115 and the accommodation camp at NO 4954 4175. The installations were protected by at least five pillboxes. All the elements of this site are visible on vertical air photographs (RAF CPE/Scot/UK/304, 3079-3080, flown 1947).

The radar station at Douglas Wood is situated on the W side of the B978 near Downiebank. Many brick and concrete buildings and masts supports are extant over the area. The radar site is now in the wood and is now used a Boy Scout Camp.

Douglas Wood POW camp
Douglas Wood POW Camp
Douglas Wood had a Prisoner of War (POW)  'hostel', recorded as opened July 1946 with 152 POWs. Site described as "Hutted. Ex RAF Camp and next to an RAF wireless post". It was a sub-camp for the main Balharry Camp 63.The last record in file was dated January 1948, I believe it closed before March.

Douglaswood Campsite and Training Centre is completely enclosed with several original war structures. There are two accommodation buildings, the Larg Centre which has a sleeping capacity of 34 people in bunk beds and the Carolina Lodge which can sleep 24 people also on bunk beds, both buildings have free password protected wifi.

The camping areas can hold approximately 350 campers and is split up into 10 individual sites. Each site has its own wood pile and nearby water tap. They also have altar fires and tables which are easily accessible from the site.

Research note:
•  Douglas Wood was possibly named for the Douglas of Brigton family.

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024