WWII in real time


General Wavell, commander of Singapore: "There are neither plans nor fortifications to defend the north side of this 'impregnable fortress.'"

With Japanese just 30 miles north of Singapore, Churchill is horrified to hear that the city is only fortified against attack from sea, to the south.

US Treasury reports an anonymous American veteran, stricken by conscience, has mailed them $36, with a note: "For overpay in the last World War."

Red Army's first ever large-scale airborne attack is erratic: Soviet paratroopers are scattered across 10 miles, most of their supplies lost, as Luftwaffe pick the transport planes from the skies.

Red Army are trying radical new tactics: thousands of Soviet paratroopers being dropped behind German lines, ordered to regroup & capture town of Vyazma. https://t.co/HGTlzVsTq0 RealTimeWWII photo

Greece & Yugoslavia are making plans to merge into a Balkan Union: in London, the governments-in-exile of Nazi-occupied nations have agreed to join economies & military forces after the war.

As Japanese invaders advance further down Malayan peninsula, smashing through defenders' lines, British cartoon shows Japanese octopus nearing Singapore, "jewel of the British Empire": https://t.co/WxqK7fqbek RealTimeWWII photo

Lombard was almost bumped off her fatal flight for Air Force pilots; but the actress pulled rank, arguing her publicity tour for US government was "war work".

Carole Lombard, American film star & wife of Clark Gable, has been killed in a plane crash, flying on a public tour of USA to sell war bonds. https://t.co/SLEVDXqXJH RealTimeWWII photo

Despite brave & fierce defence by Indian & Australian troops, Japanese have fought across the river Muar (1 on map), advancing ever-closer to heavily-bombed Singapore: https://t.co/Qzi9GbvVHN RealTimeWWII photo

Gen. Arthur Percival, British commander in Malaya: "The young Indian recruits were helpless. They didn't even know how to take cover, & there were not enough officers to control them. I say this in no spirit of disparagement. It was the penalty of years of unpreparedness for war"

Rather than attack fortified bridges, Japanese have sneaked across the Muar River in small Malay boats, & are taking Indian defenders by surprise, from behind- leading to confusion, panic & retreat. https://t.co/MNxjC20XCo RealTimeWWII photo

Japanese forces are back on the offensive in Malaya: despite slaughter at Gemas, Japanese Imperial Guard are attacking, bypassing Australian & Indian defences on the Muar River. https://t.co/s8B8hAEAuH RealTimeWWII photo

US government has not ordered a coastal blackout at night- meaning shipping is outlined against glow of city lights-, nor organised merchant ship convoys or warship escorts; reports of sunken ships are censored.

German submarines wreak havoc in US coastal waters: 4 more merchant ships torpedoed today, 9000-gallon oil tanker explodes 47 miles off Long Island.

Despite calls to suspend American Major League baseball games for duration of the war, President Roosevelt insists teams play on: "6000 athletes will provide a vital morale boost for US workers & soldiers." https://t.co/eGpm4CHXzr RealTimeWWII photo

German Admiral Dönitz has sent his U-boats to hunt American ships as a "Paukenschlag"- a "roll of drums", to show the USA the power of the Kriegsmarine unleashed.

German submarine U-123, hunting American shipping, has surfaced off coast of New York- close enough to see fairground rides of Coney Island silhouetted against the city's bright lights. Kriegsmarine captains astonished- & delighted- by American unpreparedness.

Roth: "Strelezkaja burns to the ground, in every hut lie 20-30 dead Russians." Red Army counter-massacre, butchering the wounded in a nearby German field hospital.

German soldier Hans Roth: "Most of the Russians didn't even get up- everyone is clubbed to death on their cots. The whole nightmare lasts about a half hour."

Visiting the Bunker

At the moment, there are no visits to the bunker.

9 Responses to Visiting the Bunker

  • Alasdair Bright says:

    Hello,

    I work at St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Kenton (just round the corner from the bunker). This term we are studying World War 2, not being from the area I did a bit of research about the war in the local area. I couldn’t quite believe that there was such a perfect resource so local to the school and couldn’ t think of a more inspirational and engaging way to interest the children in the war.

    I wondered if you knew how I might go about arranging a class trip to the bunker? Are you the person I need to speak to?

    Kind regards,

    Alasdair Bright

  • colin anderson says:

    I’m sorry to report that there is, unfortunately, no possibility of any visits in the near future.

    • Alasdair Bright says:

      Thankyou Colin (apologies for not responding sooner as I have only just seen your response.)

      I wonder if you could help me attempt to bend a few ears with regards to accessing the bunker by answering a few questions.

      Who currently owns/is responsible for the bunker? Is it still Taylor Wimpey Homes? If I pursue this, are you certain that there is no possibility of a visist? Sorry for all the questions but I definitely think this would be worth twisting a few arms for (so to speak!)

      Thankyou.

      Alasdair Bright

  • Hello Alasdair

    In reply to your questions about visiting the bunker. I am afraid this is just not possible at the moment for a number of reasons.

    1) The bunker has in recent months been flooded in the lower levels, there is ongoing works to repair and remedy the long term flooding issues.
    2) The current owners do not have insurance for public access to the bunker.
    3) The bunkers internal condition is not as you can see on the photographs on this web site as these photos are a few years old and the bunker has flooded a number of times in the last few years .
    4) A recent asbestos survey has also seriously limited access to the bunker for non essential visits and certainly would preclude members of the general public entering the bunker.

    The above points are just a small selection of many problems that currently exist which prevent the general public from entering the bunker. Please be aware the bunker is essentially a building which has been disused for many years it cannot safely be opened to the general public without allot of remedial work and surveys etc. I am sure you can understand that a risk assessment of physically entering the bunker (a disused building) would be required and this would certainly high light many many problems. Not least the fact this is a 1930’s concrete MOD building which has not been maintained since the 60’s, thus it is not up to modern health and safety standards, although superb in terms of being relatively original and untouched from a historical view point.

    Our aim is to open the bunker in the future as an educational resource for schools to this end we are currently in talks with the owners of the bunker. Please be patient this process will take time as there are many legal and funding matters to be dealt with before this can happen. However we would welcome your support and any help you may be able to give to our group.

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    • Lucie Potter says:

      Hello Alasdair,

      Secret Bunker North is an art and educational project on the 13 Group bunkers.
      As lead artist on the project I worked with 7 local primary schools, sadly not St Cuthbert’s in 2010. We are in the final stages of installing a listening trail based in Blakelaw Park, that covers the history of the bunkers and their usage after WWII, suitable for school groups. Members of Bunker 13 have been very helpful in sharing their knowledge for this. More information can be found on our website. An education project is also being developed with the City Learning Centre. Hope this is of interest!

      • Darren Neil says:

        Secret Bunker Day at the City Learning Centre tomorrow, then another on Monday.

        Hopefully the first of many.

        Pictures will follow.

  • Malcolm Richards says:

    I used to work at the Rokeby pub which is now demolished. Some of the locals used to tell me that the building was part of the MOD buildings in the area and a tunnel linked it to Kenton. Is that true?

  • I noted from the comments (dated 2013). That you were looking to get the bunker open to the public. How are things progresing? As it is something that I would love to visit and bring my son to.

  • colin anderson says:

    Unfortunately things grind exceedingly slow and little progress has been made other than the bunker finally starting to dry out. We still have the same aims so keep watching this space!

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