WWII in real time


New German decree: Jews living in the Reich may not shelter from bombing "alongside Aryans"; air-raid shelters must be segregated.

British cartoonist David Low shows Mussolini's invasion of Greece faced with resistance: "Help! Here's one showing fight!" https://t.co/PQCYUKesAu RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin's emissary asked what was the interest of "Nazi Germany in Sweden, Romania, Bulgaria & Greece"; Hitler, privately: "See how he plots to steal Europe from me?"

Molotov, Soviet Foreign Commissar, has departed Berlin with Hitler's promise of friendship- & has left the Führer determined to attack the USSR soon.

Greek army attacking city of Koritza, Italian base in Albania- Italians being bombarded with their own artillery, abandoned during retreat.

Remaining 172 unidentified corpses (of 568) from Coventry bombing- many so burned as to no longer look human- being buried in a mass grave.

Nazi Governor of Poland, Dr. Hans Frank, boasts: "The Warsaw ghetto is so secure a cat could not get out!" Guards placed on walls to stop food being smuggled inside.

The Jewish ghetto in Warsaw has now been sealed off from the outside world, by orders of German occupiers. ~400,000 people trapped inside its walls. https://t.co/2Q7Zyaryqs RealTimeWWII photo

Tiny Greek airforce- & allied planes of the RAF- have scored first victories: 10 Italian planes shot down en-route to bomb advancing Greek army.

Nazi cartoon claims to show Winston Churchill's "madman's philosophy": "Our Empire is so large that it hardly matters if a small island burns down." https://t.co/5m3O6jnsUG RealTimeWWII photo

Bombing has returned to London. George Orwell notes in his diary: "I never thought I should live to grow blasé about the sound of gunfire, but so I have."

French town of Menton is mocking the defeats of neighbouring Italians by posting signs along the border: "Greeks, advance no further- this is French territory."

Greek troops have broken through Italian lines on the Albanian border- black-uniformed "Elite Fascisti" divisions fleeing into the mountains.

Martial law has been declared in Coventry, to help evacuate homeless citizens & speed rescues from the wreckage of overnight bombing. https://t.co/NH4qSwlfn0 RealTimeWWII photo

Coventry's factories, warehouses, & dairies are still burning. Local man Harry Ward: "I had to run for my life from a knee-high river of boiling butter." https://t.co/AcV3bFcLbg RealTimeWWII photo

Nazi propagandist Goebbels exults over Luftwaffe raid, announces that new word "Coventriert" will now be used to describe cities "totally destroyed from the air". https://t.co/5YrSikcPiV RealTimeWWII photo

Reporter Hilde Marchant: "Surreal scenes in Coventry: 100s of dogs & cats, turned into strays overnight; a man boiling a kettle on an incendiary bomb."

People of Coventry are emerging from air-raid shelters after a night of devastating German bombing. 60,000 of city's 75,000 buildings ruined. 500+ people are dead. https://t.co/QMosXZ7Bed RealTimeWWII photo

Bombs still falling. 6000ft above Coventry, Luftwaffe pilot Werner Handorf is amazed by "the prickling of my nostrils- I can smell the city burning." https://t.co/sEdE69t5BP RealTimeWWII photo

Coventry Cathedral has collapsed. Fireman Albert Fearn: "This is the end. We'll be dead lucky if we see the sun again." https://t.co/Le9yuPccge 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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