WWII in real time


New German decree: Jews living in the Reich may not shelter from bombing "alongside Aryans"; air-raid shelters must be segregated.

British cartoonist David Low shows Mussolini's invasion of Greece faced with resistance: "Help! Here's one showing fight!" https://t.co/PQCYUKesAu RealTimeWWII photo

Stalin's emissary asked what was the interest of "Nazi Germany in Sweden, Romania, Bulgaria & Greece"; Hitler, privately: "See how he plots to steal Europe from me?"

Molotov, Soviet Foreign Commissar, has departed Berlin with Hitler's promise of friendship- & has left the Führer determined to attack the USSR soon.

Greek army attacking city of Koritza, Italian base in Albania- Italians being bombarded with their own artillery, abandoned during retreat.

Remaining 172 unidentified corpses (of 568) from Coventry bombing- many so burned as to no longer look human- being buried in a mass grave.

Nazi Governor of Poland, Dr. Hans Frank, boasts: "The Warsaw ghetto is so secure a cat could not get out!" Guards placed on walls to stop food being smuggled inside.

The Jewish ghetto in Warsaw has now been sealed off from the outside world, by orders of German occupiers. ~400,000 people trapped inside its walls. https://t.co/2Q7Zyaryqs RealTimeWWII photo

Tiny Greek airforce- & allied planes of the RAF- have scored first victories: 10 Italian planes shot down en-route to bomb advancing Greek army.

Nazi cartoon claims to show Winston Churchill's "madman's philosophy": "Our Empire is so large that it hardly matters if a small island burns down." https://t.co/5m3O6jnsUG RealTimeWWII photo

Bombing has returned to London. George Orwell notes in his diary: "I never thought I should live to grow blasé about the sound of gunfire, but so I have."

French town of Menton is mocking the defeats of neighbouring Italians by posting signs along the border: "Greeks, advance no further- this is French territory."

Greek troops have broken through Italian lines on the Albanian border- black-uniformed "Elite Fascisti" divisions fleeing into the mountains.

Martial law has been declared in Coventry, to help evacuate homeless citizens & speed rescues from the wreckage of overnight bombing. https://t.co/NH4qSwlfn0 RealTimeWWII photo

Coventry's factories, warehouses, & dairies are still burning. Local man Harry Ward: "I had to run for my life from a knee-high river of boiling butter." https://t.co/AcV3bFcLbg RealTimeWWII photo

Nazi propagandist Goebbels exults over Luftwaffe raid, announces that new word "Coventriert" will now be used to describe cities "totally destroyed from the air". https://t.co/5YrSikcPiV RealTimeWWII photo

Reporter Hilde Marchant: "Surreal scenes in Coventry: 100s of dogs & cats, turned into strays overnight; a man boiling a kettle on an incendiary bomb."

People of Coventry are emerging from air-raid shelters after a night of devastating German bombing. 60,000 of city's 75,000 buildings ruined. 500+ people are dead. https://t.co/QMosXZ7Bed RealTimeWWII photo

Bombs still falling. 6000ft above Coventry, Luftwaffe pilot Werner Handorf is amazed by "the prickling of my nostrils- I can smell the city burning." https://t.co/sEdE69t5BP RealTimeWWII photo

Coventry Cathedral has collapsed. Fireman Albert Fearn: "This is the end. We'll be dead lucky if we see the sun again." https://t.co/Le9yuPccge 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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