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Thread: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

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    Default Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Is anyone aware of a list or map of navigational beacons in the U.K. in 1944? I believe that airfields would have had pundit beacons, but would there have been other similar beacons elsewhere to aid navigation.

    Thanks
    Daz

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Good question and I look forward to the answer.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    The standard 1:500,000 RAF Edition: Aviation Map of Great Britain sheets show, separately, two sets of symbols for combinations of aerial lights, beacons, nav beacons plus radio ndbs and landing approach beacons: the beacons are marked on each map.

    There are 8 numbered and titled sheets, of which I have

    Sheet 7 SW England, a 1940 edition (my father's copy).
    In past time, trimmed heavily: there is a reference symbols set on the rear face of the back card cover (with also the Sheets key).
    There was also plainly a more descriptive set of symbols on the map lower margin, sadly all-but trimmed away, indicating that 3-letter radio call signs were also shown where appropriate.
    Too large and too fragile to scan.

    Sheet 6 North Sea subtitled RAF (War) and Fourth Edition, with indications of 1942 or later (a local purchase in recent years at modest cost).
    This copy has lost it's front and back card covers so lacks any form of symbols ref key, none being repeated in the bottom margin (untrimmed).
    The usual beacons are marked on the map as such.
    Again too large to scan.

    Copies of individual sheets do appear on the market from time to time, eg books and militaria dealers but plainly caution needed in checking completeness (for card covers, key, eg)
    It seems the British Library has some digitised copies, but access via the site defeated me.
    Otherwise RAF Museum, I suggest - but currently, not available for email enquiry, at last site check.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 20th September 2023 at 22:56.
    Toujours ŗ propos

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Don: would these be available at TNA in some file or another?

    Edit: I think the answer to my question is “Not likely”

    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...e+dates=Refine

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 20th September 2023 at 02:48.

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    TNA: no, not under the expected title.

    Web Search on
    "Aviation Map of Great Britain 1944 1:500:000"
    found

    University of Texas Libraries digital collection online
    With local title
    "Great Britain (Aeronautical) 1:500,000"
    https://maps.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams..._aeronautical/
    Lists all eight sheets, held as hi-res jpg images. Examples

    Sheet 6 North Sea subtitle RAF (War) Fifth Edition 1943
    https://maps.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams...-north-sea.jpg

    Sheet 7 SW England, subtitle RAF (War) Fifth Edition 1943
    https://maps.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams...sw-england.jpg

    Prints are of that RAF edn for US Army Map Service use.
    Each map has the key, incl beacon symbols, in the map bottom margin.
    Large files, excellent resolution, easy to enlarge, slowish to load, worth keeping a digital copy of each.
    Easy done, with image on screen, right click/save image as. Each map saves as a jpg file of about 6MB.
    Even at 1:500,000 scale for aeronautical use, the beacon symbols can be hard to spot in the busyness of the map: Bicester & Upper Heyford being good examples, others on the coast easier.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 20th September 2023 at 04:32.
    Toujours ŗ propos

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Hi Daz, I’m away at present but I’m fairly sure the SD158 and SD300 instruction detail navigation beacons etc. I can look next week if you haven’t found answers before then.

    Richard

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    78SqnHistory (20th September 2023)

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Hi Daz, Iím away at present but Iím fairly sure the SD158 and SD300 instruction detail navigation beacons etc. I can look next week if you havenít found answers before then.

    Richard
    Richard
    That would be great, thank you.

    Daz

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Thanks to all who have posted, very interesting. the 1:500,000 map sheet is indeed very busy and I can’t imagine using it at night onboard an aircraft, but I guess people did.

    Thanks again
    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 20th September 2023 at 17:16.

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    Don Clark (20th September 2023)

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Briefly, along with map sheet/s with course/s already marked, there'd be a separate list of radio beacons and light beacons, appropriate for the sector/s and sortie, with call signs and light sequences. Part of pre-sortie briefing. Not to mention radio aids: from basic morse QDM signal (requesting bearing to steer to station) to more sophisticated aids, cockpit instruments and radar guidance.

    Also depends on the crewing of the a/craft: easier with Observer (later Navigator) and W/Op, or Navigator/Wireless.

    The 1:500,000 scale was chosen for convenience in the air: sheet size v coverage v speed over ground.
    Typo I guess (fixed, ta Daz!), but if 1:50,0000, you'd need 100 sheets to cover the same area as the single 1:500,000 sheet.

    Beyond the maps, not really my field, but that's a rough recall.
    See eg Chisholm, Cover of Darkness, on eg early Beaufighter night ops over UK at night vs late war Mosquito ops over Europe by night.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 20th September 2023 at 23:02.
    Toujours ŗ propos

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    Default Re: Locations of navigational beacons 1944

    Mm, would beacons be viable during WW2? Surely if that was the case would they not have been of equal use to German aircraft? I thought Bomber Command navigation aids were primarily GEE, GEE-H, OBOE, LORAN.

    Edit. There's a readable article on WW2 navigation at https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...in-the-RAF.pdf, (page 52 et seq) which, if I've read it correctly, does not mention beacons, an aircraft's position being determined on a navigator's dead-reckoning.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 20th September 2023 at 15:14.

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