Welcome to RAF Menwith Hill! This category contains information and items that are especially important or unique to this installation.
Location...................... : RAF Menwith Hill, United Kingdom
Located in the Yorkshire Dales in England, U.K., RAF Menwith Hill is approximately 8 miles North West of Harrogate, 20 miles North of Bradford, and 222 miles North of London.
Time.......................... : Greenwich Mean Time
The U.K. is five (5) hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (i.e., at 0800 Eastern time, it will be 1300 in the U.K.).
The mission of RAF Menwith Hill, which is a U.S. Air Force installation, is to provide rapid radio relay and conduct communications research. Much of the station consists of an antenna field with the land beneath the antennas sublet to local farmers for grazing. The land is owned by the Ministry of Defense and leased to the United States Government.
The DSN prefix for RAF Menwith Hill is 314-262-XXXX. The 314 indicates the DSN phone system in Europe. All commercial dialing in this SITES file is listed with the international dialing numbers when dialing from the US to the UK(hence the 011-44-prefix which is the international code dialing from the US to the UK). When dialing within the UK, drop the 011-44 designator and add a 0. For example: 011-44-1423-777-730 from the US becomes 01423-777 730 within the UK. When dialing from other countries, you must use their international dialing codes and end with 44-1423-XXX XXX. If you have any difficulty, call your international operator for assistance.
The generally accepted meaning of the name Menwith is woodland. This is appropriate since the area is included in the region known as the "Forest of Knaresborough." The area surrounding the station is now largely treeless farm, and moor land. A colorful legend involves Dick Turpin who, around 1720, was caught trapping a rabbit on land owned by an English lord. Unable to pay damages, the lord seized Turpin's cottage, farm, horse, and other personal property. In reprisal for this injustice, Turpin stole the lord's favorite horse, and became a legendary highwayman. An old farmhouse, and barn across Route B6165 from RAF Menwith Hill is named "Turpin's Lair." The ghost of Dick Turpin allegedly returns occasionally, and haunts the occupants. The land occupied by RAF Menwith Hill was acquired by the British War Office in 1954, and was subsequently leased to the U.S. to build RAF Menwith Hill.
British electricity is 240 volts, 50 cycles, as opposed to the American system of 110 volts, 60 cycles. This means that certain American appliances won't work exactly right or at all. In order to run American appliances in off-base accommodation you will need to use a transformer but this will only convert the voltage. It won't alter the cycles, and as a result large appliance motors (i.e. refrigerator, washers, and dryers) may not last as long as they would back in the States (washers, dryers, and refrigerators are available for command sponsored personnel for the duration of your tour through Housing Supply). Smaller appliances such as toasters and irons should do all right. Stereos and computers will also work OK with transformers.
The monetary unit of Britain is the pound sterling. The exchange rate can vary on a daily basis, it is regularly valued between $1.60 and $1.90. Current conversion rates can be obtained from most banks. Britain has a full decimal system. There are bank notes of 5, 10, 20, and 50 pounds. There is no 1 pound note. The 1 pound coin is easily distinguished by its size, weight, and shape. The pound is divided into 100 pence (p), and there are coins of 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1 penny. In converting dollars or traveler's checks to British currency, you will lose a few cents as a service charge. Banks will give you a better exchange rate than currency exchange desks in hotels, and department stores, but they may require a passport for traveler's checks. The U.K. does not use the Euro currency.
American television sets are not compatible with the British transmitting system, and cannot be converted. Televisions are readily available to buy or rent, either through the base exchange or through local shops. You may use your American television to play American VCR tapes. American televisions will neither receive from British VCRs nor play British tapes. If you have a television receiving British TV signals (either a British or a multi-system TV) you must pay a TV License fee or be subject to a large fine. The tax covers one year's use, and is good for any number of TVs in the same house. The fee is payable at the British Post Office.
FOOD STAMPS AND WIC
Food Stamps are not available overseas at this time. The Woman, Infant and Child Overseas(WICO) program is available at RAF Menwith Hill. This program provides benefits while women are pregnant and after they deliver their babies. WICO provides nutritional benefits for children, helping them achieve a wholesome balanced diet. Eligible children may participate up to five years of age.
UK VISA POLICY
Effective 13 Jan 2004 Military dependants and all DoD Civilian and Contractors moving to the United Kingdom must have a UK Entry Clearance VISA prior to departure or they can be denied entry into the United Kingdom. Military members whose dependents do not get the Visas prior to the RNLTD could be required to proceed and their dependants stay in the states until Visas are received. All personnel should contact their orders producing official to ensure their new UK Visa is requested prior to departure. Estimated time frame needed to apply and receive a UK Visa is approximately 45 days.
DRIVING IN BRITAIN
Road regulations are given in the "Highway Code" which is available from the British Post Office or free at the Vehicle Registration Office. The majority of British traffic signs are of international standard. In Britain, you must drive on the left, and pass on the right. The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory. Unless signs indicate otherwise, the speed limits are 30 MPH in built up areas, 60 MPH on single lane carriageways, and 70 MPH on dual carriageways, and motorways. British roads, driveways, carports, and garages are generally much narrower than in the U.S. The speed limit on base is 15 MPH except in the following areas: all parking lots, and the roads in front of the school and the Child Development Center- maximum 5 MPH; the road from Nessfield Street down to Operations- maximum 25 MPH.
Your vehicle will be taxed approximately 165/year or 90.75/6 months. If your car is imported (shipped) into the UK, you will get free road tax for the first year - then you must pay. Additionally, all vehicles over 3 years old must have a Ministry of Transportation (MOT) safety inspection
A MOT (Ministry of Transport) test certificate is required by UK law to certify that your vehicle meets safety standards, and is roadworthy. All vehicles over 3 years must pass a MOT test which needs to be renewed every 12 months. A MOT for a 3 year old vehicle can be issued by any MOT testing station. The testing station will either issue the MOT certificate (at an average cost of 40.75), or charge for any work required to make your car road worthy plus the cost of the MOT certificate. THERE IS NO GRACE PERIOD AND NO REMINDER WILL BE SENT OUT.
IMPORTED U.S VEHICLES that are under 3 years old require a Special MOT. A Special MOT can only be issued by one of the named testing stations on page 7. The Special MOT needs only to be renewed when the vehicle officially reaches 3 years old.
In order to obtain a MOT or a Special MOT, the following criteria must be met:
1. HEADLIGHTS DIP TO THE LEFT.
2. VEHICLE HAS AMBER TURN SIGNALS FRONT AND REAR.
3. VEHICLE HAS WHITE FRONT PARK LIGHTS.
4. VEHICLE HAS A REAR RED FOG LIGHT.
You are responsible to maintain a valid MOT certificate for your vehicle at all times.
REMEMBER: IT IS ILLEGAL TO DRIVE A VEHICLE ON UK ROADS WITHOUT A VALID MOT CERTIFICATE (FOR 3 YEAR OLD VEHICLES) OR A SPECIAL MOT (FOR UNDER 3 YEAR OLD VEHICLES).
Obviously, a valid MOT does not excuse the vehicle operator from keeping up maintenance on the vehicle. Please be aware of tire wear, exhaust problems, etc. from one MOT to the next. The life you save could be yours!!!!
****If involved in an accident and your vehicle is not MOT d, your insurance
could be invalid and this carries heavy fines.*****
A concession vehicle is any vehicle purchased or imported into the UK on which the customs duty, VAT and car tax is waived by the UK government. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) grants this entitlement. Accompanied married personnel are entitled to TWO concession vehicles between them regardless of whether both are employees.Unaccompanied or single personnel are entitled to ONE concession vehicle. DoD Civilians and US Contractors are entitled to purchase a concession vehicle after receipt of the Civilian Componency Endorsement Stamp, which can take up to 4 months to obtain. Concession vehicles are for the use of sponsor and their dependents ONLY!!
ADJUSTMENTS OF VEHICLES TO MEET U.K. LAWS
There are several changes which may have to be made to your vehicle so that it will meet the specifications demanded for vehicles in the U.K.: 1) headlights must be adjusted so the beams direct to the left instead of the right; 2) the parking lights in the front must be white, and the only lights in the front which can be anything other than white are the turn signals; 3) the turn signals in the rear of the car must be yellow; 4) cars newer than 1980 must have a red rear fog light on the right side with a separate illuminated switch mounted by the driver; and 5) for cars 1986 and newer, the turn signal indicator must be visible from the side. *** We recommend that these adjustments be made after the vehicle arrives in the U.K. This way the changes can be made by those who will evaluate the car for road worthiness, and you will not have to worry about meeting the specifications with your changes. All materials and/or service for these changes can be obtained at the Army/Air Force Exchange Services Auto Shop. Adjustments can generally be made at a cost of $150 or less.
UNLEADED GASOLINE IS READILY AVAILABLE IN THE UK. CATALYTIC CONVERTERS NEED NOT TO BE REMOVED BEFORE EXPORT FROM THE US.
Auto insurance in Britain is written on an annual basis, and is generally higher than in the U.S. This is particularly true for DRIVERS UNDER THE AGE OF 25, and for American cars. The cost of insuring American cars is higher for two reasons: 1) they are involved in a higher percentage of accidents, and 2) in the case of an accident, parts have to be shipped from the States. Insurance companies load this anticipated extra cost directly into the premium. Full insurance protection for American cars with drivers under the age of 25 is very costly.
Britain has a progressive "no claims" discount system. The discount is based on continuous full months of claims free insurance. The discount ranges from 30% to 60% depending on the length of time of claims free driving that can be proved. A letter signed by your insurance representative or insurance company on letterhead stationary stating the time insured, the policy number, the number of cars insured, and that there were no claims made during the insured time period will be sufficient to enact the discount. The discount is a claims free discount, not an accident free discount. Most British companies will count any claims against you. This includes claims for theft, fire, storm damage, and vandalism.
There are two American insurance companies who write car insurance in England, USAA and GEICO. Both of these companies are represented on RAF Menwith Hill. Policies issued in the U.S. from these companies are not valid in England but you can start a foreign policy before leaving the States, if you meet underwriting requirements.
IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU CONTACT A BRITISH INSURER TO GET AN INSURANCE RATE QUOTE ON A CAR YOU PLAN TO SHIP TO THE UK BEFORE YOU SHIP IT. THIS WAY YOU CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ON SHIPPING A CAR. YOU MAY WAIT UNTIL ACTUALLY ARRIVING IN BRITAIN BEFORE PRUCHASING INSURANCE TO GET PRICE, AND COVERAGE COMPARISONS. IN ORDER TO SAVE ON CAR INSURANCE, OBTAIN A LETTER OF GOOD DRIVING RECORD FROM YOUR PRESENT INSURANCE COMPANY.
For unaccompanied personnel, facilities are available for enlisted members. Each branch of service assigns their own dormitory spaces.
British houses are generally smaller than their American counterparts. Oversize furniture such as large sofas, large cabinets, and king size beds should be given careful consideration before you bring them to the U.K. Room size is part of the problem, but greater concerns are narrow doorframes, hallways, and stairways. Most British homes do not have closets in the bedrooms; you will have to get clothes racks or wardrobes.
TEMPORARY LOANER FURNITURE
Temporary loaner furniture is available from Housing Supply. It is usually a good idea to ship household goods immediately before you leave CONUS. You can check out government loaner furniture from the Housing Warehouse for the interim pending arrival of your furniture.
Firearms: Importing firearms is complicated by the prohibited gun laws. Firearms imported into the United Kingdom require a Firearm Certificate which will cost approximately 50 pounds. Rifles, handguns, and shotguns may be brought, but be prepared to ship, and register them properly. Center fire, and selfloading rifles are prohibted in the United Kingdom, and should not be shipped.
CB Radios: Importing a CB radio, base station or a two-way radio (walkie-talkie) is strictly prohibted. If your car has an "in-dash" mounted CB radio, you must remove the microphone, and amplifier before shipment.
WARNING!! PET QUARANTINES
The UK is a rabies free country. A six month pet quarantine exists. There is a program where you can have yur pet vaccinated and serve the six months in the US and not have to quarantine your pet upon arrival in the UK. However, you must strictly follow the guidelines for this program. If requirements are not met, animals will face quarantine or return to a stateside location. See the Household Goods/Installation/Pet Importation section of this SITES file for details.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
As a newcomer to the United Kingdom, there are several items listed below which you should be aware of concerning passports, and visas.
VITAL RECORDS- It is very important that you have certain original documents in your possession which may be required for any passport or visa application processed during your stay in the U.K. For example, an old U.S. passport, U.S. state birth certificate with the raised or colored seal with a filing date within one year from the date of birth, naturalization certificate, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, adoption papers, etc. Please note that the U.S. Embassy in London will NOT accept ID cards or a hospital birth certificate as evidence of citizenship. At present, you may think that you will not need any of these documents during your stay, but circumstances may change, and if you do not have the required document it can cause problems in obtaining a passport or visa. For detailed, and current information, contact Administration Services at RAFMenwith Hill Station.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS- Not all countries allow military personnel to perform personal travel on ID card, and leave orders. Some countries do require military personnel to have passports, for example, Austria, Ireland, and Turkey. Also, if you go TDY to a non-NATO country an official passport MAY be required. In order for the Military Personnel Center to obtain a passport for you, evidence of citizenship is required.
IMMIGRANT VISA/GREEN CARD- Should you marry a non-U.S. citizen while assigned here, your new spouse will need to obtain an Immigrant Visa before he or she can return to live in the U.S. Evidence of your U.S. citizenship is needed to file an application for an Immigrant Visa.
CHILDREN BORN OVERSEAS- In the event you have any children born while you are stationed in the U.K., it is necessary to register the birth with the U.S. Embassy in London to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad Certificate, a U.S. passport, and a Social Security Card.
*The Administration Office will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have, and offer assistance to process applications for passports