WWII in real time


Vast, thundering crash as HMS Campbeltown explodes, smashing St. Nazaire's huge dock to rubble & killing 360 Germans inspecting the wreck.

Germans wonder why their captives so cheerful; "Are the British so stupid they think so huge a dock could be put out of action by a flimsy destroyer?" https://t.co/y7lJRbUJ3V RealTimeWWII photo

Destroyer HMS Campbeltown is lodged in the gates of St. Nazaire's dock- Germans don't know that there are 4.5 tons of explosives, on a timed detonator, hidden under a steel & concrete barrier in her hull: https://t.co/BpsigM9M1G RealTimeWWII photo

British raid on St. Nazaire has ended in apparent failure: 215 commandos captured, 169 dead, with little damage to vital German-occupied port. https://t.co/k1DJdKTYsT RealTimeWWII photo

Surrounded, out of ammo, no hope of rescue, 100 British commandos in St. Nazaire are ordered to scatter & try to escape to Spain, through 400 miles of German-occupied France.

As British demolition teams wreak havoc among the harbour installations, trying to disable port, commandos are desperately trying to hold back St. Nazaire's German garrison- they're outnumbered 8-1. https://t.co/iDmulRlD3X RealTimeWWII photo

British seaman Thomas O'Leary: "One commando was remarking how pretty the tracer fire, red & green, was. A moment later one blew the back of his head out. I was down below with my tin hat." https://t.co/riZZ4Hh8Wx RealTimeWWII photo

In St. Nazaire, most of the commandos' fragile evacuation boats have been wrecked by German fire- British raiders now stranded in enemy-occupied France. https://t.co/uVLpFMylta RealTimeWWII photo

Under a storm of coastal artillery fire, destroyer HMS Campbeltown dashes into port, crunching on the target dock- British commandos are pouring ashore. https://t.co/Jt4paiW3nu RealTimeWWII photo

British force raiding St. Nazaire are disguised as German warships, broadcasting captured Kriegsmarine radio codes- but RAF bombing, intended to aid raiders, has put German defenders on guard. They're opening fire: https://t.co/3hb28mHfth https://t.co/Qm4kGoGPTF RealTimeWWII photo

As Nazi extermination camps begin operation in occupied Poland, Goebbels notes: "The Jews are now being pushed out… to the East. A pretty barbaric procedure is being applied here… 60% of them must be liquidated, 40% can be put to work."

At least five Australians have volunteered to serve as "human explosives", piloting planes or boats loaded with bombs to crash into Japanese warships. The Australian government has declined these offers. https://t.co/wpDrowpMBs RealTimeWWII photo

384 British commandos, in 16 small ships, plan to disembark during the naval raid on St. Nazaire & blow up German military targets. https://t.co/luGBCzneaY RealTimeWWII photo

British commandos are launching "Operation Chariot": a raid to destroy the huge Normandie dry dock at St. Nazaire. Obsolete US destroyer HMS Campbeltown has been packed with 4.5 tons of TNT, ready to ram dock gates, then explode. https://t.co/vjy3wS2lCE RealTimeWWII photo

3 British destroyers & 16 small boats have sailed from Falmouth, on a secret commando mission to sabotage the occupied French port of St. Nazaire.

Slovakian police arresting Jews are aided by the Hlinka Guard, a volunteer Fascist militia, who have fun with humiliating their prisoners: https://t.co/nmBu7524le RealTimeWWII photo

German-allied Slovakia has begun to round up its Jewish citizens; Jews are being sent to prison camps, ready to be deported & handed over to Nazi SS.

The first shipments of women have arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland: two trains, of 999 Jewish Slovakians destined for slave labour, & 999 female German criminals to act as "kapo" slave-drivers.

Americans are being urged to buy "Victory Bonds", to fund US government in time of national emergency. US citizens help support huge spending on war effort by lending money to Treasury. https://t.co/JXXdG36LEI RealTimeWWII photo

"One woman, utterly desperate, said that when her husband fainted from starvation, she hacked off part of his leg to feed herself & the children."

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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