WWII in real time

German city of Kassel has been devastated by Royal Air Force bombing raid, with over 1800 tons of bombs causing a vast firestorm. https://t.co/D4lJQAwquO RealTimeWWII photo
The first exchange of prisoners of war between UK & Germany has begun in Sweden: most of the 4340 Allied troops released today have been captives for over 3 years. Over 3000 are seriously ill, & are being swapped for German PoWs in similar condition.
17 Allied countries have formed a new body, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, to investigate reports of Axis atrocities. https://t.co/kX5xmfhvGX RealTimeWWII photo
After pursuing retreating Axis forces across Ukraine, Red Army have reached the Dnieper river- Russians are at the gates of Kiev. https://t.co/iLMrqlmLhy RealTimeWWII photo
~110,000 people, 16,000 of them Allied prisoners of war, have died laying 258 miles of track across the Thai-Burmese border: horrific conditions including brutality from Japanese guards, sickness, & starvation. https://t.co/VRGajWc3yo RealTimeWWII photo
Japanese occupiers have opened a new railway linking Burma to Thailand, built in three years of breakneck construction by conscripted labourers & Allied prisoners of war, who call it the “Death Railway”. https://t.co/r4Ws4NAhEa RealTimeWWII photo
On Hitler’s orders, German police in Rome have arrested 1,259 Jewish Italians, for deportation to death camps in Reich. Most of the city’s 8000 Jews have fled into hiding, forewarned by friendly Italian officials.
Nazi propaganda brands those Italians who have chosen to join fight against Germans "fratricides" (kin-slayers) & shows Americans & British laughing at them. Germans still occupy most of Italy & keep over 1 million disarmed Italian soldiers as prisoners. https://t.co/C7T9Mm2UyN RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor prisoners must cross two barbed-wire fences & run across a minefield to flee the camp, under machine-gun fire from SS & collaborator guards. ~300 Jewish escapees die in the attempt, ~150 remain behind. Just over a hundred escape into surrounding forest.
As SS begin to miss the dead officers, inmates begin their breakout, inspired by inmate Alexander Pechersky, a Jewish Soviet commissar: "Our day has come. Most of the Germans are dead. Let's die with honour. Remember, if anyone survives, he must tell the world what happened!" https://t.co/7w4nsBGfHY RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor conspirators spend afternoon killing SS officers, incl. acting Commandant Johann Niemann. Camp's head tailor, a prisoner, asked SS-Untersturmführer to remove his pistol, to try on a leather jacket taken from a murdered Jew. Other inmates then slew the Nazi with an axe. https://t.co/JUfy5hDk6p RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor will soon be closed; slave labourers know they will be killed, from labels found sewn inside clothes of Jewish "Sonderkommandos" of other camps: "We worked at Bełżec for one year and did not know where we would be sent next… Be aware you will be killed also! Avenge us!"
Sobibor is the fourth most deadly Nazi death camp: ~200,000 people have been killed here in last 18 months, with almost all Jewish inmates gassed on arrival. 600 are kept as slave labour, worked to death while helping to maintain camp & dispose of corpses. https://t.co/Ri4NHgPByP RealTimeWWII photo
Prisoners of Sobibor extermination camp, in German-occupied Poland, have rebelled against their Nazi guards, killing 11 SS men & staging a breakout. 300 inmates have rushed the camp wire under machine-gun fire. https://t.co/yhAaz2ilqs RealTimeWWII photo
Mussolini, now the puppet dictator of northern Italy, "rules" from small town of Salò, with a few loyal Italian troops, unable to command German forces occupying most of the country. https://t.co/wlWZMyxXC0 RealTimeWWII photo
Italian troops who have escaped capture by Germans will now march alongside Allied armies to recapture their country from the Nazis: https://t.co/RJJjlcrONw RealTimeWWII photo
One month after surrendering to Allied forces, government of Italy has switched sides & declared war on Nazi Germany, its former Axis partner. https://t.co/7JNBsVWkV0 RealTimeWWII photo
Portugal has agreed to permit bases for British warships & planes in the Azores, off Atlantic coast of Africa; despite officially being neutral between Axis & Allies, Portuguese government references 570-year-old treaty with UK, signed in 1373, to justify military bases. https://t.co/roFQbBE4R4 RealTimeWWII photo
Nazis struck on Jewish New Year, assuming Danish Jews would be praying at home. SS raids across Copenhagen have arrested ~400 people, but 1000s are in hiding or have already escaped. 90% of Denmark's Jewish population are safe. https://t.co/ZKmjCJaMgY RealTimeWWII photo
Thousands of Danish Jews have now fled to neutral Sweden to avoid arrest by the Nazis, hidden from German occupiers & smuggled out of country on fishing boats by their fellow Danes. https://t.co/hLMKYGFXEW 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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