WWII in real time


Thai troops, invading French colony of Indochina, have been fought to a standstill by French forces- mainly by Cambodians & Vietnamese soldiers serving in colonial army.

British Cabinet, outraged by calls for "a people's peace", plans to ban socialist newspaper Daily Worker. Churchill wants Communist Party outlawed.

In London, a 2000-strong Communist "People's Convention" is calling for alliance with the Soviet Union, better bomb shelters, & restoration of civil liberties.

Harold Sturtevant, a US Navy soldier on shore leave in San Francisco, has cut down the Nazi flag (after brief struggle with a German official)- to cheers of crowd. https://t.co/L0qcbj7Ej5 RealTimeWWII photo

German consulate in San Francisco is today flying a Nazi Reich flag (with swastika); angry American crowd of 2000 has gathered outside & 2 sailors have climbed up 10 stories, trying to cut it down: https://t.co/K54thR4Et8 RealTimeWWII photo

Germany almost out of coal. Nazi authorities censoring reports of homeless people freezing to death; Berliners joke: "Now it's illegal even to die."

British diarist Vere Hodgson expects an imminent Nazi invasion: "in spring, the Americans think. If they're lending us their Navy things must be pretty grim."

Blizzards raging over Europe. Respite from bombing for British & German cities- Luftwaffe & RAF grounded- but bombed-out civilians now freeze as snow blows into shattered homes.

Stockings are now unobtainable in the UK- all silk has been confiscated to make parachutes. Ingenious solution- paint seams on your legs to give the illusion of stockings: https://t.co/jOakgh5RDe RealTimeWWII photo

Japan Advertiser newspaper condemns "threat" of US Navy station at Pearl Harbour: "Huge warship buildup means dictatorship over the Pacific."

A squadron of French warships have ambushed & sunk 3 Thai Navy ships off the island of Koh Chang, killing 36 sailors. Thais & French colonial forces skirmishing along Indochinese border.

Australian government has ruled the Jehovah's Witnesses an "unlawful sect" due to their claims of neutrality in the war & refusal to pledge allegiance to the King.

Last year's failed Republican candidate for US President, Wendell Willkie, is now in UK to "boost morale- show that the USA won't abandon you." https://t.co/eKfqF0BbWN RealTimeWWII photo

Malta's oldest towns- Senglea, Vittoriosa & Cospicua, built by 16th-century Knights of Malta- are in rubble. 76 people dead, 700 homes gone.

Luftwaffe have launched their 1st major bombing raid on British island of Malta; aiming at warship HMS Illustrious in port, they've hit surrounding towns https://t.co/weIuZPqAzg RealTimeWWII photo

Antonescu has agreed to send Romania into war against Soviets- but first, he plans to crush his right-wing rivals, Romanian Fascist movement the Iron Guard.

Hitler has met Romanian leader Marshal Antonescu, to discuss German plans to invade USSR in the summer- hopes Romania will join war against the Soviets. https://t.co/hW1GEWRHM0 RealTimeWWII photo

Henry Moore- a veteran of the Great War- sketches his Tube station scenes from memory, never while underground: "It'd be like sketching in the hold of a slave ship." https://t.co/NCLIwEVwPR RealTimeWWII photo

British war artist Henry Moore has been commissioned by government to record the Blitz; his painting of Londoners sheltering in Tube: https://t.co/gGA8hLOnAZ RealTimeWWII photo

New York Times advert offers Americans new service to send parcels of rationed food to isolated & hungry British Isles: tea, butter, sugar, jarred bacon & tinned ham. https://t.co/EiZZaKTwVr 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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