I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tuesday 11th October

Wow what a windy night. It was just as well I am used to sleeping in a sailing boat as we were rocking around like mad! We had put the plants in the front well yesterday afternoon which was just as well. It was blowing up the canal and straight through the air vents in the front doors and causing a nasty draft in the bedroom! I wedged some cushions over them which seemed to help. I was a bit worried about Millie in case a big gust knocked her into the canal but she was fine this morning and had left her mouse intestines on the back deck for a change! The wind had dropped a bit as we left our mooring and headed down to Hack Green. We wanted to visit the Hack Green Nuclear Bunker which was only a 200 yard walk from the canal. What I saw really affected me. Usually you see museums like this which are devoted to the World Wars but this was in my lifetime. In 1941 Hack Green, a site previously used as a bombing decoy site for the main railway centre at Crewe was chosen to become RAF Hack Green, to protect the land between Birmingham and Liverpool from hostile attack. Thus began the service of Hack Green and the airmen and women of Cheshire in the defence of the nation. Hack Green was one of 21 fixed radar stations in the country and one of only 12 fully equipped with searchlights and fighter aircraft control. In 1976 the abandoned site at Hack Green was purchased from the MOD by the Home Office Emergency Planning Division to be converted into a protected seat of government for Home Defence Region 10:2. It was cloaked in considerable secrecy over a five year period. At a cost reputed to be some £32 million, the original Rotor radar bunker was converted into a vast underground complex containing its own generating plant, air conditioning and life support, nuclear fallout filter rooms, communications, emergency water supply and all the support services that would be required to enable the 135 civil servants and military personnel to survive a sustained nuclear attack. The HQ became operational in 1984 and was responsible for a huge area from Cheshire in the south to Cumbria in the north. The HQ would have been headed by a Regional Commissioner who would have been an appointed civil servant or minister. Under the Emergency Powers Act he would govern his defence region, and neighbouring regions if other RGHQ's had been destroyed. He would attempt to marshal the remaining resources to put the region back on its feet and prepare for the re-establishment of national government. He was assisted by a network of County War Headquarters and the United Kingdom Warning & Monitoring Organisation. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the cold war ended and the bunker was de-classified in 1993. 1994 saw the systems in the bunker dismantled or de-commissioned and in 1998 it was sold. The museum started life as the private collection of curator Rodney Siebert, and was available to individuals and groups by appointment only – it was finally opened to the public in May 2004. A fascinating visit and I would recommend it to people but maybe not with young children. We returned to Mary H and cruised along to Audlem, up through two locks and moored up on the visitor moorings. Lots of locks to do tomorrow!!

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