WWII in real time


Damage has slowed Bismarck: she can no longer, as Germans once boasted: "outgun any ship that outruns her & outrun anything that outguns her."

German paratroopers have fought their way into Galatas town, pushing Allies out in a brutal house-by-house melee; "These New Zealanders fight like bulldogs!" https://t.co/yZTcz4Wkhs RealTimeWWII photo

Ever-stronger German forces on Crete are staging all-out assault on Galatas, a crucial Allied strongpoint; Luftwaffe have smashed New Zealanders' defenses. https://t.co/aSoMmvDQlA RealTimeWWII photo

100 German troop-trains now head east every day, carrying huge force of 3.2 million soldiers into occupied Poland- right up to the German-Soviet border.

Battleship Bismarck hasn't escaped unscathed from sinking HMS Hood yesterday: she took 3 shell hits, now leaking oil & fleeing for safe port.

Vast explosion: HMS Hood has been blown in two. Of 1,418 crew, there are just 3 survivors, Ted Briggs one of them. Battleship Bismarck has her first kill. https://t.co/siaIm5LwRw RealTimeWWII photo

HMS Hood's ammunition is on fire; Ted Briggs: "shrapnel has made the upper decks a charnel-house; screams of the maimed are a strident chorus." https://t.co/ctUJfDAg8m RealTimeWWII photo

Hood- pride of the Navy- is being torn apart by her "prey", the Bismarck; seaman Ted Briggs, onboard: "Screams of dying emit from the voice-pipes to the lower decks."

HMS Hood opens fire- at the wrong ship, Bismarck's escort "Prince Eugen"; Bismarck retaliates: huge broadside at HMS Hood, smashing into British ship's weak deck armour. https://t.co/9DGjfvLfsu RealTimeWWII photo

Battlecruiser HMS Hood is the largest, heaviest warship in the world, & HMS Prince George is newly-commissioned battleship- so new she still has shipyard crew working below decks. https://t.co/iLexi0If3O RealTimeWWII photo

Two of the British warships hunting German battleship Bismarck has spotted their target off the coast of Iceland. HMS Hood & HMS Prince of Wales are moving in to attack. https://t.co/4Lkmb1NAD5 RealTimeWWII photo

GS1's announcer, German refugee turned British spy Peter Seckelmann, denouncing "flat-footed drunken old cigar-smoking Jew, Churchill!" He goes on to praise Hitler but attack "decadent" Nazi bureaucrats.

British Intelligence have started a "black propaganda" radio station, Gustav Siegfried Eins, who claim to be patriotic Germans hidden in the Reich. The presenter is insulting Winston Churchill to establish credibility.

"Here & there among the Germans lies a dead Englishman. All alike, every nationality, have turned black from the burning heat, thick with fat flies."

German advance in Crete finds scenes of slaughter; Luftwaffe officer Walter Gerick: "Dead parachutists hang in olive trees, swinging gently in breeze." https://t.co/S7D7GPhrlw RealTimeWWII photo

Despite dreadful losses, Churchill orders Royal Navy to stay at Crete: "Loss of half the Mediterranean fleet would be worthwhile to save Crete."

Allied forces are retreating in Crete, before a tide of freshly airdropped German soldiers- they're abandoning west of island to Wehrmacht.

Richthofen: "My pilots are giving triumphant shouts of joy. We've finally shown that a fleet in range of the Luftwaffe cannot hold the sea."

Luftwaffe commander Wolfram Von Richthofen: "The British take hit after hit. Ships burn & some flee, trailing oil, to escape this hell."

Luftwaffe are back in the skies over Crete, doing horrific damage to Royal Navy guarding island; two more Royal Navy destroyers, HMS Kelly & HMS Kashmir, sunk with 100s dead. https://t.co/dYu6i5nDhA 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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