WWII in real time


Surcouf, prize of General de Gaulle's Free French Navy, has disappeared with all 130 crew in the Caribbean, after freighter sailed away from collision. It may have been subsequently mistaken for a German U-boat & bombed by American planes. https://t.co/mHTZeoeYXq RealTimeWWII photo

The world's largest submarine, the French "undersea cruiser" Surcouf, has sunk near Panama, after a crash with an American freighter in the middle of the night. https://t.co/kt08h2xF5Y RealTimeWWII photo

In Burma, Japanese invaders have smashed through Allied defenses on the Bilin River; British are evacuating the heavily bombed capital of Rangoon.

The first Japanese military plane is flying over Sydney: taking off from a submarine, pilot Nobuo Fujita surveys the Australian city for potential bombing. https://t.co/Z4laPjZorq RealTimeWWII photo

Victorious Japanese troops marching into Singapore greeted by looting; they've shot 500 Chinese citizens "to set an example & restore order."

Before beginning massacre of Bangka Island, Japanese soldiers rape & sexually assault the Australian nurses: https://t.co/WtDUR98iS4

Vivian: "A bullet got me in the left loin, went straight through me & out at the front. The force knocked me into the water & there I lay." Feigning death until Japanese leave, she crawls into junge, lone survivor of the Bangka Island Massacre: https://t.co/CY8ht0KTbq

With the women waist-deep in surf, Japanese start to machine-gun them. Nurse Vivian Bullwinkel: "They just swept the line- girls fell one after another." https://t.co/uEtmoQHsur RealTimeWWII photo

23 female nurses, shipwrecked on Bangka Island, try to surrender; Japanese soldiers order them to walk into the sea at gunpoint. Matron, Irene Drummond, calls: "Chin up, girls. I'm proud of you & I love you all." https://t.co/xE2zZDE9c8 RealTimeWWII photo

Although fighting is over in Singapore, deaths continue; Japanese have shot over 100 wounded survivors from bombed hospital ship Vyner Brooke.

Nazi U-boats strike the Caribbean: 7 German submarines have attached Dutch island of Aruba, near Venezuela, shelling oil refineries & sinking tankers. https://t.co/hySNJCZLmM RealTimeWWII photo

Japan's new Prime Minister, General Tojo, gives speech to the National Diet, celebrating Japanese victories in Malaya & Philippines & promising "new order of coexistence & co-prosperity on ethical principles in Greater East Asia".

Thanks to unlocking Kriegsmarine Enigma ciphers, British code breakers at Bletchley Park have been able to crack secret German signals to their submarines within days; the new "Shark" code destroys years of work.

Terrible blow for UK intelligence: German U-boats have begun using a new, more complex version of the Enigma code, impenetrable to their cryptanalysis.

In his first radio broadcast for 6 months, Churchill announces horrifying loss of Singapore & surrender of its garrison; "heavy & far-reaching defeat... our worst since Dunkirk."

Eyewitness Lt. Moore: “Japanese led small groups [of wounded patients] out of sight; ensuing yells & screams, coupled on one occasion with a Jap returning wiping blood from his bayonet, left little doubt as to the men’s fate.“ https://t.co/ZhbnGES749

Before ceasefire took effect in Singapore, Japanese troops stormed the city's Alexandra Hospital & began a murderous rampage, bayoneting 320 doctors & wounded men.

~85,000 British, Indian, Australian & Malay troops have been captured by the Japanese at Singapore; it's the largest surrender in British history. https://t.co/yN9sb72cyu RealTimeWWII photo

Under a white flag & Union Jack, General Percival is crossing to Japanese lines to surrender his troops & city of Singapore. https://t.co/q8CAo8EdKD RealTimeWWII photo

General Percival has given up futile defence of Singapore; he's asked Japanese for armistice. They're demanding he beg for surrender personally.

The Site

surface1

The surface surrounding the bunker has changed considerably since the War. One of the major changes was the dismantling of the many Nissen Huts and water tanks that existed in the early 1940’s. The other was the erection of the DSS buildings in 1948 to house offices of the fledgling National Health Service.

The area actually on top did used to contain many shrubs and trees (as can be seen from the map) though today it is just grassed over. There is still some greenery that exists on the south side around the concrete mast plinths.

The bunker had two main entrances/exits, on the west and east side for obvious reasons (in case of attack, fire etc.).

The map below shows the site in 1948, as it was at the time.

surfacemap

There was also a generator hut with surrounding blast wall (not shown on map). It could be found at the west side of the compound, close to Ponteland Road just inside the fence.

One Response to The Site

  • Hazel Fleming says:

    Great talk on this the other night. I worked in a Govt block on the site in the late 60s/early 70s and have always wondered what the odd buildings we could see from the windows were for. Rumours were that it was an RSG (Regional Seat of Government) and, though it wasn’t that, it was top secret and had a Cold War use so perhaps the rumours weren’t that far off. Fascinating and suprising that it survives. Many thanks.

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