The National Trust is renovating the surviving buildings at RAF Defford near Pershore, Worcestershire in association with the pleasure gardens at Croom Park. The old Sick Quarters now house the dining area and exhibitions. Work is going on to restore other nearby buildings. A short walk takes you to a redundant but well kept church, and gardens with the ultimate water feature, a scale model of the river Severn.
The Capability Brown parklands was developed into RAF Defford early in the second world war and was known chiefly for its testing of Radar apparatus developed by TRE (Telecommunications Research Establishment) in Malvern. This included Airborne Interception, on-plane devices that plotted the whereabouts of enemy aircraft, early warning radar, ground-plotting radar (H2S)to identify bombing targets for more accuracy, and so on. The Pathfinder squadron was developed here (Air Vice Marshall Bennett) so that high flying planes with H2S could pinpoint factories and mark them with coloured flares. This reduced the numbers of H2S equipment that might be shot down and copied by the enemy. The core of many of these devices, the magnetron oscillator, was after the war developed into microwave cookers. Much of the big radar equipment formed the basis of the Jodrell Bank observatory, and Sir Bernard Lovell, who worked with TRE, has always been a close friend of RAF Defford.
Description by Robin Brooks in Herefordshire and Worcestershire Airfields in the Second World War.