WWII in real time

39 ago
Luftwaffe now parachuting magnetic mines into the Thames Estuary. British minesweeping vessel HMS Mastiff was sunk by one today, killing 6 people. https://t.co/HdWnkqHQFh RealTimeWWII photo
1 hour ago
Dr. Besson: "I drifted for 4 hours. Then I saw a rope trailing from a British destroyer. I caught hold of it with my teeth & clung to it. Using my good arm I gradually hauled myself up. I was too weak to shout for help." His family have drowned.
2 hours ago
Dr. William Besson was aboard SS Simon Bolivar when it struck a mine this weekend. His spine damaged & arm broken in the explosion, he dived into the sea to try & save his son.
2 hours ago
4 more ships sunk today by mines in UK coastal waters, bringing weekend death-toll to 140. Germany denies mine-laying in shipping channels. https://t.co/wLvYf18NrI RealTimeWWII photo
5 hours ago
British Ministry of Agriculture has launched a new campaign, "Dig For Victory", to encourage growing food in gardens, parks & wasteland, to stave off threat of German U-boats. https://t.co/iPDHEx6y68 RealTimeWWII photo
5 hours ago
Playing fields of Eton (one of UK's oldest & most expensive schools) ploughed today as part of British "Grow-More-Food" programme to cope with wartime shortages. https://t.co/TWyGwFto92 RealTimeWWII photo

History

The bunker was built in 1938 – 1939 at what was Kenton Quarry, and under the Dowding System of air defence became the headquarters of No 13 Group Fighter Command, which stretched from Humberside to The north of Scotland, including Northern Ireland.

Commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul, the bunker was a typical MOD design of the time, with everything centred around a two storey high operations room complete with curved glass observation posts above a plotting table. There was also a plant room that enabled the circulating air to be filtered, and indeed the ventilation system is still intact.

The bunkers’ day in history came on the 15th August 1940 when around midday the controller sitting high above the plotting table realised that the north east coast was under attack by a cavalcade of German fighter bombers from Luftflotte 5. Scrambling fighters from sector airfields around the North east and further afield, the Germans were sufficiently repulsed and never mounted a daylight attack again over the north east.

Around the end of 1940, bunkers known as Group Filter Rooms were built near each Group HQ bunker to filter out the important information. So the site at Kenton Bar had a sister bunker built (of different layout) at what are now the Blakelaw flats just off Blakelaw Road. The Filter bunker  housed the local Sea Cadets and was thought for many years to be the 13 Group HQ. It is now mothballed and the entrances sealed

When the decision was taken to build the filter bunker, the area that 13 Group covered was reduced, and No 14 Group was formed at Inverness to cover the area north of Montrose. In 1943, the bunker was decommissioned as 13 Group HQ, with No 12 Group taking over responsibility for the area. For the rest of the war it was used for teleprinter and communications work.

uk map with groups1

After the famous Yalta Conference (attended by Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt) in February 1945, the political and geographic map of Europe was changed considerably. The Cold War had begun.

The bunker was used for civil defence meetings at this time in case of Nuclear attack, though I doubt that it would have protected the occupants completely.

The Department of Social Security buildings were built in 1948-49 and Demolished in 2005. They have been replaced by a housing estate.

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