WWII in real time


Surcouf, prize of General de Gaulle's Free French Navy, has disappeared with all 130 crew in the Caribbean, after freighter sailed away from collision. It may have been subsequently mistaken for a German U-boat & bombed by American planes. https://t.co/mHTZeoeYXq RealTimeWWII photo

The world's largest submarine, the French "undersea cruiser" Surcouf, has sunk near Panama, after a crash with an American freighter in the middle of the night. https://t.co/kt08h2xF5Y RealTimeWWII photo

In Burma, Japanese invaders have smashed through Allied defenses on the Bilin River; British are evacuating the heavily bombed capital of Rangoon.

The first Japanese military plane is flying over Sydney: taking off from a submarine, pilot Nobuo Fujita surveys the Australian city for potential bombing. https://t.co/Z4laPjZorq RealTimeWWII photo

Victorious Japanese troops marching into Singapore greeted by looting; they've shot 500 Chinese citizens "to set an example & restore order."

Before beginning massacre of Bangka Island, Japanese soldiers rape & sexually assault the Australian nurses: https://t.co/WtDUR98iS4

Vivian: "A bullet got me in the left loin, went straight through me & out at the front. The force knocked me into the water & there I lay." Feigning death until Japanese leave, she crawls into junge, lone survivor of the Bangka Island Massacre: https://t.co/CY8ht0KTbq

With the women waist-deep in surf, Japanese start to machine-gun them. Nurse Vivian Bullwinkel: "They just swept the line- girls fell one after another." https://t.co/uEtmoQHsur RealTimeWWII photo

23 female nurses, shipwrecked on Bangka Island, try to surrender; Japanese soldiers order them to walk into the sea at gunpoint. Matron, Irene Drummond, calls: "Chin up, girls. I'm proud of you & I love you all." https://t.co/xE2zZDE9c8 RealTimeWWII photo

Although fighting is over in Singapore, deaths continue; Japanese have shot over 100 wounded survivors from bombed hospital ship Vyner Brooke.

Nazi U-boats strike the Caribbean: 7 German submarines have attached Dutch island of Aruba, near Venezuela, shelling oil refineries & sinking tankers. https://t.co/hySNJCZLmM RealTimeWWII photo

Japan's new Prime Minister, General Tojo, gives speech to the National Diet, celebrating Japanese victories in Malaya & Philippines & promising "new order of coexistence & co-prosperity on ethical principles in Greater East Asia".

Thanks to unlocking Kriegsmarine Enigma ciphers, British code breakers at Bletchley Park have been able to crack secret German signals to their submarines within days; the new "Shark" code destroys years of work.

Terrible blow for UK intelligence: German U-boats have begun using a new, more complex version of the Enigma code, impenetrable to their cryptanalysis.

In his first radio broadcast for 6 months, Churchill announces horrifying loss of Singapore & surrender of its garrison; "heavy & far-reaching defeat... our worst since Dunkirk."

Eyewitness Lt. Moore: “Japanese led small groups [of wounded patients] out of sight; ensuing yells & screams, coupled on one occasion with a Jap returning wiping blood from his bayonet, left little doubt as to the men’s fate.“ https://t.co/ZhbnGES749

Before ceasefire took effect in Singapore, Japanese troops stormed the city's Alexandra Hospital & began a murderous rampage, bayoneting 320 doctors & wounded men.

~85,000 British, Indian, Australian & Malay troops have been captured by the Japanese at Singapore; it's the largest surrender in British history. https://t.co/yN9sb72cyu RealTimeWWII photo

Under a white flag & Union Jack, General Percival is crossing to Japanese lines to surrender his troops & city of Singapore. https://t.co/q8CAo8EdKD RealTimeWWII photo

General Percival has given up futile defence of Singapore; he's asked Japanese for armistice. They're demanding he beg for surrender personally.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Twitter Feed

Donate

Help Preserve The Bunker