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Cold War monitoring posts

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by jagdpanther44, May 7, 2016.

  1. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    During the Cold War era some 1500+ underground bunkers were constructed throughout the UK and were manned by volunteers of the R.O.C (Royal Observer Corps).

    The bunkers/posts were constructed to a standard design and accessed via a ladder down a 15 foot shaft. They were very cramped and comprised of a small toilet/storage room and a monitoring room measuring 15 X 8 feet.

    Here's a cutaway view of an R.O.C post
    [​IMG]

    Should there ever have been a nuclear attack, the R.O.C observers in the posts would gather information, including the power of a nuclear blast, level of radioactive fallout and whether it was a ground or air burst explosion. The data would then be collected from all posts concerned to determine the ferocity of an attack on the UK and monitor the after effects.

    [SIZE=11pt]With the breakup of the Communist Bloc in the late 1980s, the last active R.O.C posts were stood down in 1991. Many of them were either demolished, sold or simply left abandoned. So, with a list of nearby posts to hand my son and I decided to visit some of them to see for ourselves what is left of these once vital monitoring facilities.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]This is Faddiley R.O.C post in the heart of Cheshire[/SIZE]
    [​IMG]

    Looking down the access shaft
    [​IMG]
    Monitoring room
    [​IMG]
    Looking back towards the access shaft
    [​IMG]
    Artifacts can still be found. This is an old G.P.O (General Post Office) battery
    [​IMG]
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard

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    Inreresting. Thanks for sharing. How many were you able to find?

    When my son was young (mid 80s) he played soccer at an abandoned Nike missle base in Pennsylvania. I don't think there are any remains today.
     
  3. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    We have visited three so far. I have a long list of post locations throughout the UK and plan to get to more soon.

    Regarding condition, the Faddiley post is by far the best one we have been to and I will post photos of the others soon.

    A lot of the posts are vandalised and have suffered fire damage but the more remote ones, especially in Scotland, have managed to avoid damage.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard

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    Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Good hunting!
     
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy WW2|ORG Editor

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    Did these have running water and toilet facilities?
     
  6. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    Rather basic amenities I'm afraid!
    No running water and just a chemical toilet. The electricity was even supplied by batteries!
     
  7. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Several are still around, but not much remains above ground.

    What was the area or nearby location? Worchester? Richboro?
     
  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard

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    Warrington. Not much around, even then. I remember seeing a few concrete pads.
     
  10. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    Awesome.
     
  11. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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  12. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    This is Helsby R.O.C post which is situated on a hilltop which commands great views of the Welsh hills, the river Mersey and the city of Liverpool. This area would have been hit hard in a nuclear attack as there used to be a lot of industry in the area, including an oil refinery, chemical plants and a power station.

    The post was locked when we got there but a large screwdriver made an excellent Torlift key to get the hatch open! The small round green disc on top of the air vents indicates that this was a master post which controlled others posts in the area.
    [​IMG]

    The interior has extensive fire damage and there is very little left..
    [​IMG]

    The view from Helsby hill looking towards Liverpool
    [​IMG]
     
    Slipdigit and YugoslavPartisan like this.
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    My old bunker - Winchester HQ:
    http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/sites/w/winchester/

    Decent explanation of how things were supposed to work:
    http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/Page222.htm

    I can still write backwards on Perspex...


    Posts never looked like any fun at all to me. Bad enough being stuck in a dodgy 50s vintage bunker with quite a large team while the dust dies down. Potentially rather isolating being just a few of you, and that crappy comms system being your only link to the world.
     
  14. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Gosh I wish our buddy Urgh would stop by. He'd have a few stories to tell.

    Miss that ol' sheepherder!
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    One of the more interesting items in an HQ (dunno if the posts had them) was the Nuclear Weapons Effects Computer.
    A kind of circular slide rule that after putting in yield, height etc., would then give you a rough guide to projected death and destruction in that area. Crater size, debris, population loss etc.

    Also one of the first things to be nicked once the ROC shutdown became official, or so I'm told as I was gone by then.

    http://www.roc-heritage.co.uk/warning-equipment.html

    [​IMG]


    The big question in a volunteer/civilian mob like the ROC was always who would actually turn up if things kicked off.
    Quite possibly just enough to keep the HQ going, but you did always wonder.
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy WW2|ORG Editor

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    I don't know how well I would have done in those casket-sized holes in the ground.
     
  17. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I always had the impression that the ROC survived as long as it did because of a 'you never know' backup attitude.
    There was definitely a more military/governmental level of Nuclear warning activity (which [member='Urqh'], I think, as Biak mentions, had experience of), but nobody really knew what shape the instant sunshine would leave things in so dismantling any part of the network was risky.
    There was also something solid state about the whole business, from Pinhole cameras to slide calculators like the above, even given the worst national situation there was at least some chance that useful data might be assembled by what was, even in the late eighties, a rather analogue system in an increasingly digital world.

    Still don't know if I'd have turned up when things went nasty.
    Glad I never found out really. Might have been quite awkward with the old man and a brother also being signed up in the same bunker.
     
  18. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    It's probably something to do with the analogue equipment being EMP proof, should the bomb drop.
     
  19. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    This is Burscough R.O.C. post in Lancashire. Considering the access shaft hatch is missing, the interior is still in good shape...and dry.
    [​IMG]

    Note the polystyrene clad walls. This was done to offer a bit of insulation from the cold for the occupants. The floor was also covered in rubber matting (apparently made from old coal mine conveyor belts!)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The original chemical toilet is still there
    [​IMG]

    Radio mast coax cable[​IMG]

    One of the current inhabitants
    [​IMG]
     
  20. dbf

    dbf Member WW2|ORG Editor

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