WWII in real time

Japanese attempts to reinforce Rabaul's air defences through ring of Allied airfields & naval blockade have lost 200-300 irreplaceable Japanese planes & experienced pilots. American bombers now use the Japanese fortress for target practice, opposed only by few anti-aircraft guns. https://t.co/gShg8mEtW7 RealTimeWWII photo
Capture of Admiralty Islands means that Japanese fortress of Rabaul, in eastern Papua New Guinea, is now surrounded by ring of Allied airbases & isolated by sea & land- turning a 100,000-strong Japanese garrison into prisoners without a shot. https://t.co/0DLRGQ3TfE RealTimeWWII photo
Allied forces capture strategic Admiralty Islands in South Pacific after 80 days of fighting, completely isolating major Japanese base at Rabaul. Audacious landings caught 4000-strong Admiralty garrison off-guard; just 75 Japanese taken prisoner. https://t.co/8WH6zp1Lvw RealTimeWWII photo
4 months of battle have left Monte Cassini monastery a ruined shell: wrecked by Allied bombs & artillery, Germans occupied rubble & have repelled 3 separate assaults. At last, Allied 5th Army have captured the heights, raising a Polish flat over the ruins. https://t.co/dRs1llCX3u RealTimeWWII photo
Since the beginning of May, Red Army have captured Sevastopol & Allied forces in Italy have launched a colossal assault on the fortified Gustav Line. Otherwise, fronts are static across Europe, as armies in Britain prepare for "D-Day" assault on France. https://t.co/Y2Xq3cCvVk RealTimeWWII photo
Allied assault has finally taken the Italian town of Cassino, driving German defenders back to fortified "Hitler line". https://t.co/7ievgdtZFG RealTimeWWII photo
American newspapers now openly speak of imminent "D-Day", planned Allied invasion of France, predicting a major breakthrough in the war this summer. New York Times tracks 30 days of bombing over occupied Europe in preparation for landing: https://t.co/lm4kbLxDij RealTimeWWII photo
Smashing against the German Gustav line of fortifications with overwhelming force, Allied forces in Italy are finally gaining ground at Monte Cassino. https://t.co/xMR39Tm4lJ RealTimeWWII photo
Allied air forces are carrying out heavy bombing raids on northern French coast, softening German “Atlantic Wall” defences from planned amphibious invasion. Bombers are particularly heavy over Calais, which Germans presume is intended initial landing point for “D-Day”. https://t.co/L2RcHGYH0R RealTimeWWII photo
Female Soviet partisans- guerrilla soldiers who fight behind German lines- celebrate Red Army reconquest of the Crimea: https://t.co/d4PUw6bGkv RealTimeWWII photo
Teja & Totila transports, crammed with Romanian & German soldiers fleeing Red Army assault on Sevastopol, have been hit by Soviet bombers mid-voyage. At least 8000 people are dead in one of the greatest maritime disasters in history.
German disaster in the Black Sea as Germans desperately evacuate from the Crimea: transport ships Teja & Totila, evacuating 10,000 Axis troops from Sevastopol, sunk by Soviets. https://t.co/LhcBI6AYgN RealTimeWWII photo
"Jane's OK- she's not at Anzio": Allied troops on Anzio front, Italy, are instructed to cover up to avoid mosquito bites & possible malaria. A British soldier appreciates the warning sign: https://t.co/2U5dYnl9HA RealTimeWWII photo
German General Erwin Jaenecke boasted: "At Sevastopol stands the 17th Army, & there the Soviets will bleed to death." Hitler refused permission to evacuate from Crimea; now 96,700 Axis troops killed, 36,000 captured by victorious Red Army. https://t.co/i5SH7CZni5 RealTimeWWII photo
Red Army have re-conquered Sevastopol, after 2 years of German occupation. Soviet flag once more flies over city: https://t.co/dMdBtBEyFi RealTimeWWII photo
Red Army artillery have begun a massive bombardment of Sevastopol, last German stronghold in the Crimea. Soviets plan a massive assault to take the city, which Hitler has ordered defended to the death. https://t.co/zoVdlwe1ZY RealTimeWWII photo
"Glory to the liberators of Ukraine! Death to the Nazi invaders!" As Red Army troops sweep up to the Romanian border, Soviet propaganda celebrates Germans being forced from southern USSR: https://t.co/eWj0FB28Gb RealTimeWWII photo
Bombing raids smash rail hubs in the Balkans: as Red Army advances into northern Romania, Allied bombing raids are targeting Axis logistics, with mass raids of Liberator & Flying Fortress bombers trying to cut off German re-supply. https://t.co/WVxaXC6UVu RealTimeWWII photo
Gandhi has been freed due to ill-health, with British afraid he'll become a martyr if he dies in prison; he's fasting, urging Indians not to aid war & to non-violently resist until British Raj promises independence. https://t.co/kDPKMLql0L RealTimeWWII photo
British colonial authorities have released 75-year-old Indian independence campaigner Mohandas Gandhi from prison; he's been in captivity for two years for "opposing war effort" by urging Indians not to cooperate with British until they "Quit India". https://t.co/Tb9UdVsWpQ RealTimeWWII photo

The Preservation Group

About us and our Plans

Bunker 13 initially met in 2007/8. We are a group of like-minded people who formed a group together to protect the bunker as it is an extremely important historic building having significant roles in WW2 and used during the Cold War also. The bunker was and is at risk as a vacant building. A target for vandals and other criminal activity. Our challenge was to find a new use for the bunker that preserved and celebrated its past while having a minimal effect on the residents living around the bunker.

We have devised a plan which we think will work for all concerned as it will relieve the residents from the burden of being responsible for the maintenance of an empty Grade 2 listed building which they cannot use. While ensuring the bunker is preserved for future generations having a new active role educating and enriching lives with the bunker experience. No one who has visited the bunker even in its current empty state leaves feeling anything other than enthralled and amazed it still exists and is sitting empty wasting away.

The project has many challenges.

1)The bunkers position in the centre of a residential development.

2)The buildings condition which, although good for a war time structure that has been neglected for many years,  will need a lot of restoration work and updating to make it safe and usable again for access by the general public.

3) Restoration costs a lot of money so making the aims and objectives of the project fit the criteria necessary to be eligible for funding by various funding sources such as Heritage Lottery, Historic England, Architectural Heritage Trust etc.

4) Untangling the mine field of ownership / lease of the building which is extremely complex due to Taylor Wimpey who built the housing development having set up a framework which created a means to fund maintenance on the bunker in perpetuity tying the residents financially to the bunker.

For the bunker to be eligible for the sort of level of funding required to restore the building it has to have a new purpose and be an asset serving the community once more. A chance encounter outside the front of the bunker with a group of youths early in the formation of Bunker 13 sparked the idea of the bunker being an Educational resource. The group had entered the Central Grange estate intent on breaking into the bunker to use the building as a play den as they had done on a number of occasions previously while the development was still an active building site. We were confronted by the gang who asked various questions about the building which informed us that we had in front of us the perpetrators of numerous break ins to the bunker. However when we spent time with them educating them of the buildings original use and importance the gangs attitude changed from hostility at our re-securing the building to one of genuine interest asking if they could help in the restoration and from that day forward the break ins stopped.

Our plan is to open the bunker as an educational resource to teach children about various different aspects of WW2 and the Cold War as the bunker had a use in both era’s informing of the bunkers history and the wars in general making it invaluable to schools as these eras are part of the national curriculum. This qualifies the building for multi streams of funding. The next problem is how to do this when the building is in the centre of a residential development. Our plan is set out below in order.

  1. Obtain funding for initial phase of feasibility studies/building surveys to quantify costs and to obtain a lease/freehold value for the bunker.
  2. Negotiate lease or freehold of the bunker.
  3. Restore and fit out the bunker for educational visits and occasional public visits.

Maintaining the Residential Environment

All of the plans to restore and repurpose the bunker have to be done with the residents of Central Grange in mind and involved to ensure we keep impact on them to a minimum while benefiting the residents by removing the financial burden of the bunker from their shoulders. To do this logistics and planning are key and however our plans are simple.

  1. All access to the bunker will only be by in advance pre booking. No one will be admitted without prior booking to stop unwanted foot fall of people onto Central Grange.
  2. All access to the bunker and Central Grange will be via the bunker bus. Which will drop off outside the bunker no loitering straight into the bunker. Whilst in the bunker the bus will leave site only returning at the pre set time to pick up visitors directly after their time-controlled visit. The bus then leaves site. We estimate 3 bus tours per day maximum.
  3. In the main this will be during school term time and only between the hours of 9.00am >4.00pm. Minimising the impact of the bunker being active.

The above plans will mean that even if you live in front of the bunker entrance you will not see activity involving people entering the bunker if your working hours are 9am>5pm.

To also enhance the appearance of the bunker we will ensure the guard houses are painted and well maintained the current temporary but aesthetically ugly security grills will be a thing of the past and we will sympathetically plant shrubs to mask the disused mast bases behind the main guard house. We will also remove the cattle fencing around the various air vents, make sure they are properly maintained and find a better way to protect them which is pleasing on the eye if possible.

We will always consult with the residents and make changes where required.

Bunker 13 

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