WAR STO­RIES FROM THE BUNKER

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Front Page - by AMITA JOSHI amita.joshi@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @ami­ta­joshi

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 ChrisWestern at the Bat­tle of Britain bunker­mu­seum

The Bat­tle of Britain was con­ducted from the Uxbridge site

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