Nuclear-Era Civil Defence Measures In The UK

A

Anonymous

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#1
Just out of curiosity, are there any nuclear bunkers in the north of england that are currently still active? The nearest thing to me is a disused nuclear monitoring outpost which sits at the top of the highest point in my area over looking preston. I was just wondering if there were any major ones still going around here. Any ideas?

Thanks
Jim
 

techybloke666

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#2
Why the hell would you need to know where they were ?

Do you know something we dont Jim ?
 
A

Anonymous

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#3
Ooops you've got me now. Was planning to try and escape the upcoming apocalypse...ahem...anyway I just noticed that, according to past threads, the south seems to be clogged full of nuclear bunkers whether they are still are use or not, and I just wondered if the north had any. Plus I want to knock on the doors and ask if they have room for one more when the bombs fall :)
 

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techybloke666

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Ooops you've got me now. Was planning to try and escape the upcoming apocalypse...ahem...anyway I just noticed that, according to past threads, the south seems to be clogged full of nuclear bunkers whether they are still are use or not, and I just wondered if the north had any. Plus I want to knock on the doors and ask if they have room for one more when the bombs fall
no point in bombing the north west mate it already looks like it has been Dresdenized

Best to move somewhere quiet anyway
Newzeland's good
 

MrSnowman

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#9
Most town halls and civic centres have nuclear bunkers. Well, of sorts. The vast majority of them were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War and turned into storage areas as far as I know, but in the event of a surprise nuclear war, I'm sure they'd still be useable.
 

oldrover

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#10
Got a good first hand tip today that there's an abandoned bunker about half a mile from where I work.

One of my co workers told that he'd visited it a day or so ago it's open and you can just walk in. He grew up in the area and as a kid was cycling past when a hatch opened in the field he was passing and a 'man in a cap' emerged from the ground with a lot of weak explanations for what he was doing.

Interestingly it can only be about two miles from what was a known, or known in local gossip at any rate, to be a strategic target the DVLA headquarters supposedly because of its computing/communication potential.

Anyway I'm going to get more info and visit, I've always wanted to see one of these. If that is what it is.
 

Cherrybomb

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#11
I was told a few years back that power sub-stations have small bunkers under them. Anyone else know of this? I just chalked it up to hocum, but I guess it would be a fairly safe place to hide.
 

oldrover

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#12
One thing I've found out about nuclear bunkers recently is that they're absolutely everywhere. Especially this mini sort;

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/roc/db/987584526.html

This is the one I heard about in work, and is about ten miles from where I live
I find though that there are quite a few closer again.

If you want to find out where yours are, or other bigger plusher bunkers near you, you can find out here;

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/

Either by searching by location or category.
 
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Krepostnoi

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Do we have anyone here who was in the Royal Observer Corps? There's a tremendously sad recruiting film out there on Youtube somewhere - which I was directed to by @taras - which plays heavily on the fact that there are tremendous social opportunities to be had by joining the ROC - the subtext there is perhaps not one that might have recruits flocking to join. So that's one element of sadness, in the more modern sense, but there is also an odd coda, given that the thing sets out as a recruitment film, which states that the Corps was stood down in 1991, and a truly bizarre cod-heroic allusion to the stalwart members remaining ready to answer the call in the nation's hour of need, as though they were Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table slumbering under a hill somewhere.


Please note, it's the editing decisions taken around that film which I find questionable. I don't mean to mock the actual Corps members, who signed up for an unsung but brave role. In fact, I have so many questions about the job they were meant to do if it did all kick off: how long were they supposed to stay at the monitoring stations? What were they supposed to do afterwards? etc. etc. I have spoken to a former Vulcan rigger, who told me his plan would have been to remain at his post with a cigarette on once the bombers had departed. He wouldn't have made it very far in the four minutes or so it was reckoned they would have had left, so what would have been the point of working up a sweat? I suspect that, in contrast to the many poor sods who didn't have a fast ride out of RAF Finningley, for many Observers, the end would have come with a whimper, not a bang, and still the reality would have been very different from official guidance. I am curious to know what that guidance said. I recall that in the War Game, the narrator reads out, dead-pan over scenes of chaos, the planned menus that field kitchens were supposed to rustle up for the survivors: substantial meals of meat and veg with pudding and custard for dessert. That tension between what the authors must have known and what they wrote down fascinates me unduly.
 

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#19
Do we have anyone here who was in the Royal Observer Corps? There's a tremendously sad recruiting film out there on Youtube somewhere - which I was directed to by @taras - which plays heavily on the fact that there are tremendous social opportunities to be had by joining the ROC - the subtext there is perhaps not one that might have recruits flocking to join. So that's one element of sadness, in the more modern sense, but there is also an odd coda, given that the thing sets out as a recruitment film, which states that the Corps was stood down in 1991, and a truly bizarre cod-heroic allusion to the stalwart members remaining ready to answer the call in the nation's hour of need, as though they were Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table slumbering under a hill somewhere.


Please note, it's the editing decisions taken around that film which I find questionable. I don't mean to mock the actual Corps members, who signed up for an unsung but brave role. In fact, I have so many questions about the job they were meant to do if it did all kick off: how long were they supposed to stay at the monitoring stations? What were they supposed to do afterwards? etc. etc. I have spoken to a former Vulcan rigger, who told me his plan would have been to remain at his post with a cigarette on once the bombers had departed. He wouldn't have made it very far in the four minutes or so it was reckoned they would have had left, so what would have been the point of working up a sweat? I suspect that, in contrast to the many poor sods who didn't have a fast ride out of RAF Finningley, for many Observers, the end would have come with a whimper, not a bang, and still the reality would have been very different from official guidance. I am curious to know what that guidance said. I recall that in the War Game, the narrator reads out, dead-pan over scenes of chaos, the planned menus that field kitchens were supposed to rustle up for the survivors: substantial meals of meat and veg with pudding and custard for dessert. That tension between what the authors must have known and what they wrote down fascinates me unduly.
Have you hotlinked something? The media embed is not loading for me.
 

Krepostnoi

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#20
Have you hotlinked something? The media embed is not loading for me.
Tried to use what I thought was a kosher forum function: "insert media", using the Youtube URL. This one:
NB I can see the embedded clip in my post, functioning as expected. Apologies if this in fact counts as hotlinking and is thus frowned upon.

ETA The forum has just automagically transformed the URL. Let me try again: youtube.com/watch?v=xiepfG7IKRo&feature=youtu.be with https://www. where you might expect it at the start.
 

EnolaGaia

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#21
The hotlink is to a YouTube video. It originally appeared as the usual embedded video when I first saw Krepostnoi's post. Now it's getting the error.

I suspect the server error is being generated on our side, not the YouTube side.

Here's the (working) URL to the YouTube page, broken into 2 parts:

https://www.
youtube.com/watch?v=xiepfG7IKRo
 

EnolaGaia

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I checked the admin alerts ... The server error is not occurring here at our site.

Edit to add: Everything seems to be working OK again ...
 
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Yithian

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#23
Do we have anyone here who was in the Royal Observer Corps? There's a tremendously sad recruiting film out there on Youtube somewhere - which I was directed to by @taras - which plays heavily on the fact that there are tremendous social opportunities to be had by joining the ROC - the subtext there is perhaps not one that might have recruits flocking to join. So that's one element of sadness, in the more modern sense, but there is also an odd coda, given that the thing sets out as a recruitment film, which states that the Corps was stood down in 1991, and a truly bizarre cod-heroic allusion to the stalwart members remaining ready to answer the call in the nation's hour of need, as though they were Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table slumbering under a hill somewhere.


Please note, it's the editing decisions taken around that film which I find questionable. I don't mean to mock the actual Corps members, who signed up for an unsung but brave role. In fact, I have so many questions about the job they were meant to do if it did all kick off: how long were they supposed to stay at the monitoring stations? What were they supposed to do afterwards? etc. etc. I have spoken to a former Vulcan rigger, who told me his plan would have been to remain at his post with a cigarette on once the bombers had departed. He wouldn't have made it very far in the four minutes or so it was reckoned they would have had left, so what would have been the point of working up a sweat? I suspect that, in contrast to the many poor sods who didn't have a fast ride out of RAF Finningley, for many Observers, the end would have come with a whimper, not a bang, and still the reality would have been very different from official guidance. I am curious to know what that guidance said. I recall that in the War Game, the narrator reads out, dead-pan over scenes of chaos, the planned menus that field kitchens were supposed to rustle up for the survivors: substantial meals of meat and veg with pudding and custard for dessert. That tension between what the authors must have known and what they wrote down fascinates me unduly.
Enjoyed that, Krepostnoi.

It's so intrinsically British--somewhere between a Children's Film Federation production and a Sunday afternoon documentary on quantity surveying. Everybody involved should be driving a rover and be called Nigel, Pam or Derek!

As you say, no disrespect intended to the ROC or the film-makers. If I were a generation older I'd probably have been all over this: it looks like scouting, but with a nuclear backdrop and machines that go ping!

I am curious as to what on earth is going on with the editing though. It was, as you say a recruiting tool, but then, just as you were expecting a phone number or the address of the local centre, they faded Mavis's somber discussion of the consequences of a thermonuclear conflagration and tacked on a section about how it was all over now, and didn't they do well? Would the budget not stretch to a full encomium?

I immediately noted the Mister Mister instrumentalisation, but who is the narrator? Sounds awfully familiar from 80s TV adverts.
 

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#27
...who is the narrator? Sounds awfully familiar from 80s TV adverts.
Sorry to quote myself, but is it the same man as sampled by Frankie Goes To Hollywood?


Same subject, "The air-attack warning sounds like..."
 

Ermintruder

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#28
but is it the same man as sampled by Frankie Goes To Hollywood?
No, close, that was the 'official' Patrick Allen. I think the gentleman doing the commentry for the re-hashed ROC obituary was actually someone else.

I have some close connections to this era (and topic)- let me do some checking as to who it was.
 

taras

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#29
how long were they supposed to stay at the monitoring stations? What were they supposed to do afterwards?
They would have had supplies to last for about two weeks. Afterwards... they would be expected to pitch in with rebuilding the country. You can read my recent article on the psychological impact of nuclear attack to find out why this might not have gone as planned.

is it the same man as sampled by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
While this isn't him, Patrick Allen did do the voiceover for the official Protect and Survive films too (as well as several Avon cosmetics flexidiscs among other things)

I am curious as to what on earth is going on with the editing though.
This is an interesting one. The video was originally created as a local recruitment video by 7 Group ROC (Bedford), which is why it's set in Bedford. The quality was good enough that ROC headquarters wanted to turn it into a national recruitment film, which is why it says it was produced by the Army film unit. However, during editing, the ROC was stood down - making the video essentially useless. So they turned it from a recruitment video into a tribute.

I agree the eulogy at the end is just bizarre.
 

Ermintruder

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#30
I agree the eulogy at the end is just bizarre.
This is due to a number of contributory factors.

Firstly, the sudden demise of the ROC in 1991 was not the end on at least two levels: in particular (and this is now more of a technical/legal point, rather than a practical one) the Corps was NOT disbanded- it was put into suspended animation, as a stood-down entity liable for reactivation. In theory it could be called-out tomorrow (the almost-total lack of any UK Home Defence infrastructure would hamper its effectiveness just a bit)

Secondly, for a small select band of individuals, it literally wasn't the end at all. The Corps was stood-down in the majority, nationally, but under an extended defence requirement the NRCs (Nuclear Reporting Cells, latterly Nuclear/Biological& Chemical Reporting Cells) were retained until 1995 to provide an extended analysis capability for strategic military headquarter locations.

As you correctly surmise, the adaptation of the video from being a recruitment effort into an obitury did not exactly work as intended. Back in the heady days of the early 90s ("peace in our time"- allegedly) the world was meant to suddenly change gear, and achieve a new equilibrium- it was officially (as stated by HM Queen at the parade recorded earlier in the video 'the end of the Cold War'). Hindsight makes many of the Governmental reactions at the time seem clumsy- but it was a strange era.


You can read my recent article on the psychological impact of nuclear attack to find out why this might not have gone as planned.
I shall read that with much biased interest. Had it happened for real, it would've certainly been no picnic, but I question whether eg 'Threads' would've been genuinely representative of how the UK might look, post-attack.
 
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