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

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.

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