The Observer Corps

The Great Offley 'Post'

By J.D. Sainsbury

The Great Offley 'post' 1937
By J.D. Sainsbury

The Observer Corps was mobilised as part of Britain’s anti-aircraft defences on 24th August 1939 and served throughout the Second World War. There were fifteen posts in Hertfordshire, from which details of the type, course, height and speed of enemy aircraft were reported in order to supplement with local detail the ‘plot’ provided by the chain of radar stations.

The Great Offley ‘post’ in the picture are taking part in an exercise in 1937.

For more on the Observer Corps – designated ‘Royal’ in 1941 – in Hertfordshire see ‘Observers’ Tale – the Story of the 17 Group Royal Observer corps’, available in the Local History sections of some libraries in Hertfordshire.

This page was added on 04/06/2009.

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  • This is a wonderful historical photograph, the Post was situated at the side of the A505 at the top of the hill. The Corps was awarded the title ‘Royal’ by HM King George VI in 1942 following their success in the Battle of Britain not only for identifying enemy aircraft but also helping many home-coming ‘planes who had lost their instruments.

    In the 1960s an underground Post was erected nearby for members of the Royal Observer Corps to detect nuclear fallout in the event of a nuclear war.

    By Edwina J Holden MBE (04/03/2017)