R12 building to bite the dust

The demolition of a building at RAF Boulmer, which housed state-of-the-art radar equipment at the height of the Cold War, began this week.

The work, which started on Monday, will see the removal of an aged and disused radar building with the aim of recycling 95 per cent of the building and returning the land to grass.

Station Commander Group Captain Paul Atkinson at the demolition of the R12 building at RAF Boulmer.

Station Commander Group Captain Paul Atkinson at the demolition of the R12 building at RAF Boulmer.

The R12 building was built in the 1960s and housed the large and then state-of-the-art Type 95 radar.

Constructed of reinforced concrete, in case the Soviets came calling, the building occupies a space similar to that of a football pitch and covers three floors, including a basement.

Radar technicians, security, engineering and administrative support staff worked in the building, manning shifts 24/7.

One of those at the base on Monday morning for the start of the demolition was Mac Graham, from Seahouses, who worked in the building from 1967, not long after it started, on and off until he retired in 2002.

He recalled it being very hard work, as the equipment was never 100 per cent reliable, and labour-intensive, with four shifts of 30 people working at a time.

“It’s a bit sad to see the old building torn down as it holds some fond memories of my service, but it is now a relic of a bygone era as there have been so many advancements in radar technology,” he said.

The demolition is due to be completed by April and it is predicted that there will be a ‘very slight’ increase in traffic in the local area, approximately three to six vehicle movements per day, but these will be limited to weekdays. In order to ensure minimum impact on the community, noise will be monitored and any dust will be kept down by the use of a fine water spray.

RAF Boulmer Station Commander, Group Captain Paul Atkinson, said: “The demolition o the R12 is a milestone in the development of the RAF Boulmer estate as our technology evolves.

“The R12 and the many people who worked in it served their country well over many years. Its passing will leave a gap on the skyline, but also shows how the RAF values the nvironment.”