A MAJOR army base is nestled in the countryside - and there is every chance you may have driven past it.

Right on our doorstep, the "top-secret" US spy base RAF Menwith Hill is playing its part in monitoring conflict around the world.

With its large golf ball-like domes, the site sits on the busy A59 between Harrogate and Skipton in North Yorkshire.

Read more: Darlington FC to wear yellow and blue to support Ukraine

Set over more than 650 acres of dedicated land, it is hard not to notice but very little is actually known about what exactly goes on inside.

The Northern Echo: The entrance Picture: GOOGLEThe entrance Picture: GOOGLE

But there are a few public details which help give a pretty good picture of the role it plays - and the role it could play amid the Ukraine invasion.

According to the American news site, The Intercept, the site is the largest overseas spying base for the US National Security Agency.

Read more: This County Durham business man is travelling to Ukraine to help the war torn country

It is actually owned by the Ministry of Defence, but the land is available to the US under the Nato Status of Forces Agreement 1951.

The site is largely used by personnel from the US National Security Agency, but also staff from the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters.

The Northern Echo: The huge radomes Picure: PAThe huge radomes Picure: PA

Established in 1954, the site was created to act as a "communication intercept and intelligence support service" for both the UK and the US.

Recognisable for miles, the giant "radomes" are large white weatherproof structures which are actually designed to shield and protect vital radar equipment.

It is understood that the bulk of the operation includes the intercepting of communication and acts as a missile warning site.

Back in 2020, the Prince of Wales, Charles visited the site with a glimpse of the operation made public.

Charles, patron of the Intelligence Agencies at the time, addressed staff and met workers to recognise the importance of what they do.

He also toured the operations centre and was briefed on the station’s history, mission and partnerships.

Squadron Leader Geoff Dickson, Commanding Officer at RAF Menwith Hill, said after the visit: “The delight on the faces of our employees reflects the honour we all feel in seeing His Royal Highness come to RAF Menwith Hill to see first hand the work that we do, particularly in the year in which we are commemorating 60 years of operations.”

It comes as today (March 2), Downing Street said it was possible that war crimes were occurring “almost hourly” in Ukraine.

Asked whether the Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarded the Russian attack on the Kyiv holocaust memorial at Babi Yar or the targeting of apartment blocks as war crimes, his official spokesman said: “I think all of those you’ve listed could fall in that category.

“Obviously, formally it will be for a criminal court to make that ruling but I think no one can be in any doubt that what we’re seeing daily, almost hourly now, are horrific acts that would certainly appear to be war crimes.”

The spokesman confirmed it was the first time No 10 had explicitly stated that view.


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