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

Cold War Use

The life-span of the Regional War Rooms appears to have been quite short, though details are unknown. By the time that most of the purpose-built structures were nearing completion in 1955-6, the advent of nuclear weapons had led to an enormous change in the perception of the threat posed by the Soviet Union, and the needs of Civil Defence. The threat now was of complete breakdown of central government with the Regional War Rooms being superseded by Regional Seats of Government (RSG), fully autonomous regional command centres, hardened against nuclear attack.
Some of the purpose built Regional War Rooms were adapted as RSG’s, but this was not the case with Kenton Bar which did not have the room for expansion required for the increased number of staff. The exact date of closure of the regional war room is uncertain although it is thought that most of these facilities had been supplanted by RSG’s by around 1960.

After its use as a war room ceased it was used as a training centre for RSG and later Sub Regional Control staff in Region 1. The presence of materials related to Exercise ARCADE (ROC run exercise) confirms the continued use of the bunker. Sub regional control units were on a smaller scale than RSG’s meaning the Kenton Bunker could have been used. However; it was deemed too near the City centre target area for use as War HQ for the Newcastle Sub Region, remaining dormant with occasional staff training until about 1965, after that date it was used for storage for the government offices on site.

In 1968 it was considered for use as a temporary Sub Regional Control until a purpose built one could be built in Hexham however nothing came of this. It remained in use until the stand down of Civil Defence in 1968 after which date it was retained on care and maintenance as the County Borough War HQ. In the 1971 Home Defence Review it was still officially performing this role and in 1974 it was transferred to Tyne & Wear County council. The newly formed Newcastle District Council officially designated it as their war HQ but nothing was done to it due to the Council’s extreme left wing policy on Civil Defence and their refusal to pay rent to the Home Office. They instead used the sub basement of Sunderland Civic Centre letting Kenton Bunker remain dormant. Later in 1982 the Sub Control in Heaton was designated as Main War HQ.
In 1986 Tyne and Wear County was abolished and the newly formed Tyne and Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority wanted to turn the filter room into a modern emergency centre, a scheme that was halted by the end of the cold war in 1989.

One Response to Cold War Use

  • keith ward says:

    hi,

    please see subbrit.org website for full history of Newcastle civil defence..
    the main Newcastle County Borough control was in Blakelaw filter room from c1962 until 68 , we visited in 2007 and council unweleded it for us , see website for pics etc..
    in 1974 Kenton was designated as new Tyne and Wear County control but they refused to do anything and as you say used Sunderland instead.
    the sub control at Heaton a surface blockhouse of 1954 was allocated to district council who demolished it in 1985 to stop its use as mega left wing..
    I have stacks of info on Tyneside cd , Durham county had bunkers like Heaton at Jarrow , Whickham and used old WW2 bunker in Gateshead park for Gateshead County borough , whole area got priority money in 50s at target but Kenton like other war rooms remained out of use after 65 ….

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