|GZU forms part
of what was Sopley RAF Base, built at the begining of World
War 2 to monitor and control coastal radar against foreign
attacks. Sopley was operational 24 hours a day, every day,
with a three watch system of staffing.
In 1941, Sopley had become the most effective intercept
station with over one hundred successful night interceptions
which were achieved by the fighter controllers at Sopley
working in conjunction with Bristol night fighter squadrons
who destroyed 27 enemy aircraft, more than twice the success
rate of any other intercept station.
Sopley operated throughout the second world war using the
callsign 'Starlight' and gave radar assistance and control
to many squadrons operating initially from RAF Middle Wallop
and later from RAF Hurn.
By 1950, the threat of the atomic bomb had caused a serious
rethink in the organisation of air defence and a plan, codenamed
ROTOR, was instituted to replace many of the existing stations
with new protected underground operations rooms. The new
station became operational in the summer of 1954 using the
callsign 'AVO'. A new domestic camp for 450 personnel was
built near Bransgore village.
The 100ft deep underground tunnels are still in operation
today, being used by the government to transfer and sort
magnetic media to digital media. This project is named 'Iron
Mountain', and rumor has it there are still underground
tunnels beginning somewhere within Sopley camp, that lead
to this underground facility.
In early 1974, Sopley Air Traffic Control Centre became
surplus to requirements and RAF Sopley closed on 27th September.
Between 1979 - 1982 the camp was used as a reception and
resettlement centre for Vietnamese refugees fleeing from
the oppressive regime in their country.
is pretty easy to move around, and let's face it it'll
be quite hard to get lost in a building, but please feel
free to grab the site map below.