Twin Bases - RAF Bentwaters, RAF Woodbridge


RAF Bentwaters - Building 560, inside the WSA


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9 September 2003

Taken while visiting the base with Walter E Smith, ex LE from B/W, 1960s

This is a series of pictures that were requested by someone who gave me his name but who requested that he remain anonymous, but he said "I spent many nights inside this facility I couldn't count them all."

Building 560 is an apparently defendable building at the east end of 'hot row,' inside the WSA - Weapons Storage Area. The area in which 560 stands is surrounded by anti-helicopter(?) poles. The 'windows' are like mediaeval arrow slits - only large enough to poke a weapon out of.

Captions by Linn Barringer, additional information supplied by the requester, and another anonymous contributor.

Building 560, the Alert Fire Team Facility.
A view of Building 560, the Alert Fire Team Facility. The smaller part of the building, on the left seems to have been a garage for a vehicle (fire tender? - no, see below).

"This is an Alert Fire Team Facility. This housed a four man fully armed security team, part of a special group of security patrols that were on duty 24/7 to guard this area. This is at the end of the "600 row" as it was known, also affectionately known at the 'hot row'. "

"Not a fire tender, but a fully armored Armor Personnel Carrier (APC), also known as a peacekeeper (or as we used to call it, the sleepkeeper). That vehicle was assigned to the four man fire team permanently assigned to the building."

Taken from the top of Bldg 398, the important storage facility at the end of 'hot row' which contains a safe. The floor in Bldg 398 is marked to facilitate the correct storage of "inert" and "live" EDM materials. EDM - Explosives Destruct Mechanism or detonators, inside a very secure building, away from the weapons.

"It appears the building has not been painted in the years since I had been there (83-85)."

"Nor during the time I was there. The color was called "General James" Brown because one the command's generals liked the color. Almost all the UK bases at one point were painted this color. I cannot comment on what Bldg 398 was for."

 

A view of the right side of the building 560.

On entering the front door, walk ahead and turn right, this is the view of the right side of the building. On the right is a small room which seems to have contained control and communication consoles.
In the center, you can see the facilities - lavatory - and in the corner are kitchen facilities.

"There was a pool table in the main room, a TV, as well as a dart board to the right of the bathroom, and the kitchen was fully furnished including a stove, refrigerator and just about anything a "normal" kitchen would contain."

"This room was called Alternate Central Security Control. This was also manned 24/7 by a specially trained security cop. The main Central Security Control facility was located outside the WSA in the same building as the Armory (cannot recall the bldg number though but it was on the edge of the old Fox area). In the event of anything heppening to the main CSC facility, this facility would activate until such a time as the primary could resume full service."

"There was also a computer for the troops to conduct training on and that kitchen got a lot of use. We had some real cooks in our squadron and the occasional home cooking day was normal."

 

Interior of the small room shown projecting from the right, in the previous picture.
This is the interior of the small room shown projecting from the right, in the previous picture.

 

A cupboard (closet) housing the utilities - electrical switchgear and telephone distribution frame.
A cupboard (closet) housing the utilities - electrical switchgear and telephone distribution frame.
It is just out of shot to the left in the first interior picture.

 

Lavatory, or whatever you wish to call it.
Does this need any explanation?
Well, maybe it does. There is a gun-barrel slot in the wall, so you could continue defending the place...

"There is an explanation for the gunport. It was not just there for the toilet. If someone was unfortunate enough to be in the bathroom when something happened, well... Every AFT that I have seen has a "final denial fire" gunport in the facility. This one just happened to be in the bathroom."

The back of the garage attached to building 560 in the WSA.
This is a shot of the back of the garage, the door from the main building is on the right, with the reflective gas-mask sign disappeared because of the use of photo-flash. In the rear left and rear right (behind the door) are the massive counter-balances for the thick steel up-and-over garage door.

 

The front of the garage, showing the heavy door and, in the ceiling, the runners for the cables, leading to the counter-balances.
The front of the garage, showing the heavy door and, in the ceiling, the runners for the cables, leading to the counter-balances in the back of the garage.

 


 

Collecting and sharing contributions about the Twin Bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England since 1995. Copyright © 1995-2009 Linn Barringer, All Rights Reserved.