RAF Harrington Thor Missile Site

Location on Flash Earth

27th August 2007

(Click on pictures for larger version)

RAF Harrington was a air base during the second world war from which the SOE operated. Post war in 1959-1963 part of it was used as a launch site for nuclear armed Thor missiles. There were three launch pads in what is now a farmers field.

If you turn right at Lamport heading North towards Market Harborough you will find the site on the left near the Draughton Road there is a footpath to Harrington which runs along the old perimeter Road.

Most of the site has been dismantled and all you can see in the field is the remains of the blast walls at the launch pads and the remains of the control bunkers, they are not too clear as the ground rises towards them.

To see them properly you have to leave the footpath, this is private land so beware you will be trespassing. I chose to have a look at the middle pad as this was accessible by going up the side of the farmers field. You could see the structure of the blast walls more clearly as you get closer.

The blast walls are about 12' high and about 5' thick. They are a pair, have two walls, about 30M long at right angles and are positioned with the corners right up to the launch pad.

The blast walls are surrounded by a trench about 1M deep which I presume was water filled.


All the hard standing that was needed is still there and on some of the pads the farmer uses it for parking equipment and trailers. This is the concrete base where the retractable hanger used to slide back into the distance to allow the missile to be raised to the upright position for launch.

This shows the blast wall from the back with the launch pad just out of shot on the right.

Standing in front of one blast wall looking at the other showing the remains of the mounting for the launch pad which has been removed.

Looking back at the launch pad from the end of where the retractable hanger would retract too.

Remains of a bunker. This was positioned about 100M behind the retracted hanger and about 200M from the launch pad. Each pad had the same layout with its own bunker. I don't know if these were for control or not as most control was done from a control trailer. Maybe this was where the final launch control was done from.

The Thor missiles were liquid fuelled and needed to be fuelled just before launch the fuel was Lox/Kerosene you can see two fuelling pipes still next to the remains of the pad. The steel Kerosene one in the background and a stainless steel one in the foreground for the liquid oxygen.

Closer detail for the Stainless Steel LOX pipe. Still as shiny as the day it was decommissioned in 1963

All pictures copywrite Maurice Boland 2007