Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From my Inbox – Phil Hall remembers Bukit Gombak

The photos of Bukit Gombak; especially this one, that I posted here brought back memories for Phil Hall who emailed me saying:

I was in the RAF at Bukit Gombak circa early sixties, before the large dishes in the photos were installed. Probably before many readers on this blog were born!

There was just a large rotating back to back radar to give bearing and distance and a nodding rotatable radar to give height. There was a radio building each side of the site. As per the photos the site was protected by double fencing the insides of which had to be cleared continuously.

Entrance was only by one gate with a guardroom. The operations room was the first building, with several admin rooms in a wing attached. Various other buildings were along a circuitous road leading to the top.

Two outstanding memories of the site were the strange secured door dug into the hill on the right hand of the road leading up from the dual carriageway: there was some suggestion of this being an arms dump. Not reassuring for us working on the top.

More importantly were the snakes on the hill!

Often we had to walk across the hill with just the moonlight. On one occasion I was with a colleague who was wearing flip flops and I happened to glance down and see his foot descending on a large cobra. All I could do was instinctively hit him out of the way, for which he berated me until he saw what I was pointing at.  At first light after a cooler night many snakes would be lying on the black tarmac of the road which had retained its heat overnight.

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