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Author Topic: RAF West Kingsdown Wireless Intercept Station  (Read 4575 times)

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Re: RAF West Kingsdown Wireless Intercept Station
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 22:09:17 »
Operation Corona was initiated by the RAF to confuse German night fighter pilots during raids on Germany. Native German speakers* would impersonate enemy air defence officers and, via radio, countermand orders, redirect them and give false information. Poetry or recordings of Hitler's speeches were also played to add to the confusion.

The operation was based at Kingsdown and broadcast via GPO VHF transmitters, three at Rugby and one at Leafield.
"Corona came into use on the night of 22/23 October 1943, and immediately drew blood. The target on this occasion was Kassel and before the end of the evening there was chaos in the enemy night defence organization. A furious German ground controller was warning his aircraft to beware of another voice and not to be led astray by the enemy."*

When, in a bid to regain control, the Germans introduced female controllers on the night of 25/26 November 1943, Kingsdown, having guessed what the Germans would do, were able to immediately introduce its own German speaking WRAF's. "The remarks which followed from the German side are quite unprintable."*

There is the possibility that the German Junkers Ju 88 G-1 which landed at RAF Woodbridge on 13 July 1944 was guided to that airfield by Corona. See Autobiography of Gerhard Heilig. (Near end of 'Ops in a Fortress.')

Two of the German Corona Speakers at Kingsdown, Heinrich Schmitt and Paul Rosenberger, were defectors from the Lufwaffe.
On 9 May 1943 a Junkers Ju 88R-1 nightfighter of IV Gruppe, Nachtjadgeschwader 3, was intercepted by two Spitfires of No.165 Squadron from RAF Dyce in Scotland. The Junkers lowered its undercarriage, waggled its wings and shot off very lights, whereupon the Junkers was escorted to Dyce where it landed safely.
Equipped with the latest German airborne radar, the Junkers was a welcome gift for the British.
Two of the three crew members, Oberleutnant Schmitt and Oberfeldwebel Rosenberger, had little liking for the Nazis. The third crew member, Oberfeldwebel Erich Kantwill, had not wanted to desert and had to be held at gunpoint until the aircraft had landed at Dyce.

Heinrich Schmitt had been a British agent since at least 1940, supplying information to Britain via his father. He was among the German pilots who made secret landings, and returns, at British airfields. These were 'official' flights. Prior to the German invasion of the USSR, Hitler had been desperate to make a peace pact with Britain.

The Ju 88 is now on display at RAF Cosford. (PDF file 94KB.) 

* Many of the German speakers were Jewish, having fled Nazi Germany for the UK. Speaking with a native German accent, they proved to be very valuable to RAF Bomber Command.
    (Off topic. There is a good account of Jewish RAF Special Operators in 101 Squadron @

* From 'War in the Ether' a type scrip issued by Signals Branch RAF Bomber Command, October 1945.

Also 2003 History Conference - Air War Europe. RAF Bomber Command, "Y" Service (B.26 Group) by Peggy West. @


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RAF West Kingsdown Wireless Intercept Station
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2015, 23:35:59 »
RAF West Kingsdown was the headquarters of the RAF Y Service with a network of stations across the UK.
The main role of the West Kingsdown network was to listen in on the radio telephone traffic of Luftwaffe aircrews, as well as intercepting wireless telegraphy traffic. All the traffic was sent to Bletchley Park while important operational intelligence was passed direct to RAF Sector Stations.

The first location of RAF West Kingsdown, from mid August 1940, was in an old toy factory on Fawkham Road. In early 1941 the station moved to Hollywood Manor on School Lane, with a secondary station at Wrotham. The station moved to Canterbury in July 1944.

Operation Corona started from RAF West Kingsdown in October 1943. German speaking personnel at West Kingsdown would break into and countermand the orders of Luftwaffe controllers and feed in false information. This battle of words led to some interesting exchanges........................
'A German controller was trying to direct his aircraft to Kassel. Kingsdown's 'ghost' was trying to stop them and told them not to take any notice of the Englander who was trying to confuse them. After an exchange or two, the German became pretty agitated, lost his temper and swore. Our 'ghost' replied, 'The Englander is now swearing' and was met by an infuriated shriek from Germany: 'Its not the blank Englander who is swearing, its blankety-blank me'.
Described by Peggy West.

There is a very good article on RAF West Kingsdown @

Dalma Flanders served at West Kingsdown and Capel-le-Ferne. See her memories @

Royal Air Force radio-countermeasures.
IWM (CH 16682) Corona operating position at the Headquarters of the RAF 'Y' Service, Hollywood Manor, West Kingsdown, Kent. A German-speaking operator is speaking into the 'ghost voice' microphone (top) while a WAAF Flight-Sergeant records the exchanges on a German receiver. The gramophone turntable was used for jumbled-voice jamming on Luftwaffe radio frequencies.


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