In the latest in our series of special reports to mark RAF 100, we have been investigating a network of former bases which have now closed, uncovering their pasts and discovering what they’re being used for today.
RAF Bawdsey is one of the most significant bases in the world, despite having no runways or a control tower.
It was there where much of the work was done on the development of radar and was home to the first ever working radar station used in defence.
The Suffolk base was also where Sir Robert Watson Watt, the pioneer of radar, conducted the bulk of his research.
Bawdsey Manor was built in the late 1800s by Sir Cuthbert Quilter - a wealthy businessman who went on to become an MP but sold the entire site to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1936.
It was then that the first research teams working on the development of radar arrived.
Today parts of the base have been transformed into a museum dedicated to explaining the history of radar.
In the 1930s, pressure was building on the government on how to deal with the Luftwaffe, with all kinds of ideas for new weapons being looked at.
Graham Randall, Chairman of the Bawdsey Trust, said:
"The government put forward a suggestion to try and find an idea on how they could generate a death ray to take down pilots of incoming enemy aircraft.
"Sheep were put forward as a test case - if someone could kill a sheep at 100 yards, you would win £1,000.
"Nobody managed to do it - so no sheep were harmed in that experiment."
Mr Randall says after that failed attempt they realised they couldn't generate enough energy to generate a death ray.
This meant they had to change their initial concept.
"They came up with the idea of detecting an aircraft by reflection of radio signals - which launched the story of radar."
Nearby, there is a slightly less grand house with a secret to tell.
A structure, built to look like a farmhouse but beneath containing a secret bunker used during the Cold War.
Mr Townsend worked inside the bunker and explains what it was like being called in for exercises:
"At times it was frustrating - you were called in during the middle of the night on exercises, pretending that somebody was going to attack so you had to get everything running - everything had to be perfect."
"You stayed on alert throughout the night."
While working there, he was never able to tell anyone what he did for a living.