WWII in real time


Italians use Enigma cipher machines, gifts from their German allies, making their signals "impossible to decrypt"- so they believe.

Codebreakers at Britain's Bletchley Park have cracked a single signal from Italian Navy- three days to a major attack. Working flat-out to decode more & discover location.

Göring: Now that British bombers are "targeting national monuments", Luftwaffe will do same. "I wouldn't give 2 pfennigs for the Houses of Parliament."

Berlin bombed overnight, for the first time this year: 48 Royal Air Force planes hit city centre, but missed their targets, the rail depots- hit Reichstag & museums instead.

Greek counter-attacks have forced Italians to retreat back into no-man's-land- where their own artillery is mistakenly shelling them.

Italian forces in Albania making a desperate night attack, charging Greek trenches with bayonets in last-ditch attempt to break their lines.

German advance beginning in Libya- Rommel's Afrikakorps forces have captured El Agheila. British troops wrecked 1 German armoured car, then abandoned town.

4 Yugoslavian Cabinet Ministers have resigned over Hitler's ultimatum to join "Axis" - & warn government of anti-German revolution brewing.

Menzies on Churchill: "He's a great one for detail- but his real tyrant is the glittering phrase, so attractive to his mind that awkward facts have to give way."

Australian Prime Minister Menzies in London, to discuss Australian troops fighting in Greece & Africa; records Winston Churchill "positively enjoys the war."

Nazi-issued postcards- to be sent to family in Vichy France- have no blank space, just phrases to be circled: sick, no news, send food etc.

After 9 months of Nazi occupation, inhabitants of northern France are still banned from sending sealed letters south. Only German-issued postcards allowed.

King has requested a national day of prayer in UK today. George Orwell: "Appalled by the jingoism & self-righteousness of the whole thing": https://t.co/Q6Geh0YrDb

Anti-German demonstrations flaring across Balkans- angry Yugoslavians protesting Hitler's ultimatum to join Axis & admit Wehrmacht troops.

Pope cancelling usual lavish Easter service in St. Peter's Square- "war is not a time for great gatherings". His Holiness will instead say Mass in a private chapel.

French refugee turned firefighter André Savignon, in Plymouth: "This town is wasting away in reddish trails of smoke; most citizens now lie, all their distress ended, under the ruins."

Plymouth was bombed again last night- 284 people now dead, thousands homeless. British air defences brought down 2 German planes out of over 100. https://t.co/7yoFiAH4zN RealTimeWWII photo

Soviet Military Intelligence Chief Golikov reassures Stalin: "while Britain remains undefeated, Hitler will never attack the USSR."

Italian Army Chaplains again asking Greeks in Albania for ceasefire, to bury Italian dead covering slopes of Monastery Hill. Greeks refuse, demand a full armistice.

Celebrity aviator & isolationist Colonel Lindbergh says USA cannot enter the war: "We have less military aircraft than Germany produces in one week."

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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