WAR STORIES FROM THE BUNKER
THE story of fighter aircraft may be well known but fewer people are aware of what happened in Uxbridge during World War II and how important the area’s underground bunker was.
Built in 1939, the bunker was turned into an underground operation after the government and armed forces suspected war might break out.
Just 10 days before the war started, the bunker entered service with a main operational room, a room for the controller, a separate annexe for the intelligence services and its own ventilation system and telephone cables.
Those who worked at the bunker signed the Official Secrets Act docu- ment and even residents of the town did not know the South East and London’s aircraft hub was under their feet.
Some 60 feet below ground around 60 to 70 people, many of whom were women, worked eighthour shifts to track enemy squadrons and decide whether RAF fighter pilots would be sent out to engage the enemy.
Now a museum and historical site for visitors, the bunker still has the original map, clocks and curved glass architecture which it had during wartime. Visited by well known wartime soldiers, as well as Winston Churchill and King George VI with his wife Queen Elizabeth, the bunker had a royal box fitted for when the monarchs made their trip. Other fighter command bunkers for different parts of England are in various states of disrepair, according to the Battle of Britain bunker museum curator Daniel Stirland.
The Getwestlondon website was given a tour and saw how the bunker operated, getting a glimpse into the lives of those who had as important a role as aircraft pilots in the war.
Residents of the town did not know the South East and London’s aircraft hub was under their feet
Chris Wren and Chris Western at the Battle of Britain bunker museum
The Battle of Britain was conducted from the Uxbridge site