WWII in real time


Goebbel's diary: "We sent neutral journalists & Polish intellectuals to the spot where they [the Polish bodies] were found. Their reports now reaching us from ahead are gruesome... We shall be able to live on it for a couple of weeks.”

German minister Goebbels is delighted by discovery of mass graves of Poles murdered by Poles in Katyn Forest; gloats at creating "anti-Bolshevik propaganda on a grand style."

Nazis occupiers of France announce evacuation of all children & non-working civilians in Atlantic ports of Le Havre, Dieppe, Cherbourg, St Malo & Brest, fleeing increasingly heavy Allied bombing.

Furious Sikorski visits 10 Downing Street. Churchill: "He told me he had proofs that the Soviets had murdered the 15,000 Polish officers... had a wealth of evidence. I said, 'If they are dead nothing you can do will bring them back.'" https://t.co/GTIPgyaFuQ RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin told General Sikorski, leader of Polish free govt. in London, that the USSR had "lost track" of his officers amidst the chaos of Soviet occupation of Poland followed by German invasion. https://t.co/PvtgwmWWvw RealTimeWWII photo

News of mass graves of murdered Polish officers, found near Smolensk, has been published by the Germans. Anti-Nazi Polish government-in-exile, based in London, is demanding explanations from the Soviet government.

8 days after crash of his plane Lady Be Good in the Libyan desert, US Army Lt. Robert Toner writes final entry in his journal: "No help yet, very cold nite". He & his 8 fellow aircrew have perished deep in the Saharan sands.

Nazis denouncing the killings of Poles by Soviet secret police, NKVD, as "typical Bolshevik brutality"- Germans claim they have found 10,000 corpses, with identification as Polish officers. https://t.co/FHw4ZXm4lD RealTimeWWII photo

Nazi Germany announces grisly discover in the territory of the USSR: the bodies of thousands of Polish officers & intellectuals, apparently murdered by Soviets & dumped in mass graves around Katyn forest. https://t.co/F7YmbQ3D8l RealTimeWWII photo

As well as borrowing historically high levels of debt, British government are urging population to buy war bonds; essentially lending savings money to Treasury for the duration of war. https://t.co/1x8CUfY23D RealTimeWWII photo

On UK Budget Day, Chancellor of the Exchequer announces war is now costing Britain £15 million a day, up from £5 million three years ago. British government will increase taxes & borrowing to cover unprecedented annual deficit of £2,848,614,000.

Göring, head of Luftwaffe, is widely mocked in Germany. 3 years ago he announced: “No enemy bomber can reach the Ruhr. If one reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Göring. You can call me Meyer [a common German name].” Berliners call air-raid sirens “Meyer’s trumpets”.

As Allied bombing campaign on German homeland mounts, Reichsmarschall Göring has decreed all adult Germans must now work as air raid wardens, fire-watching & enforcing blackout at night. https://t.co/nTH2Grl2tR RealTimeWWII photo

British troops have captured the town of Sfax, a Tunisian port facing Sicily. Watch Allied forces greeted by Tunisians & French as they arrive: https://t.co/FZ814tgzut

Lady Be Good, an American B-24 "Liberator" plane, has been lost over the Sahara Desert returning from a bombing mission. 8 of the 9 crew survived the crash, but have been stranded with only a single canteen of water, given up for dead by US military. https://t.co/4KKIOQcSCL RealTimeWWII photo

Axis forces in North Africa now trapped on the narrow Tunis peninsula, with Allied armies closing in, and bombers cutting off sea rescue. https://t.co/hCMx8CSmv6 RealTimeWWII photo

Silk has run out in Britain- all precious, imported supplies are reserved to make parachutes. Women now paint their legs with gravy browning, to fake wearing stockings: https://t.co/YFjnq6kJM3 RealTimeWWII photo

Germans Otto & Elise Hampel have been executed by the German government, guillotined for "high treason". Their crime was distributing 200 postcards denouncing the Nazi regime as killers of workers & urging non-cooperation. https://t.co/JtjILzY8uB RealTimeWWII photo

British & American armies have met in North Africa below Djebel Chemsi (1 on map), while breakthrough on the defensive Mareth Line has left nothing but open plains before Allied forces in southern Tunisia; Axis now have their backs to the sea. https://t.co/acLFXj5cKJ RealTimeWWII photo

British & American soldiers now meet in the Tunisian desert, completing encirclement of Axis in North Africa- British have fought west from Egypt, Americans east from Morocco: https://t.co/Jmz5aKaSqs 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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