Photography- Cold War bunker-Veryan, Cornwall

I hope that you have read the piece about the World War 2 Decoy Command bunker at Veryan. Just a few feet away is the other bunker built for the cold was and in service until the 1990’s!

The second Nuclear bunker was to locate and monitor the location, power and progression of a nuclear bomb. The place had a crew of 10, 3 crews of 3 and 1 commanding officer. The staff worked 3 shifts of 8 hours each 24 hours. These details were given to us during a tour led by one of those who worked there at the time. It was arranged through the National Trust ( see below for more details)

Entry to 10 meters below ground as via a ladder. It is said that the early warning was a few short minutes only. There were Photoflash monitors above ground which could detected the light emitted by the blast and its approximate direction. The other monitors allowed them to calculate how far away and how high up.

The Geiger counter allowed the calculation of the nuclear fall out from the blast and rapidly this was spreading. Astonishingly we were told that if there had been a problem with the detectors then one of the 3 observers was expected to go out with a radiation detector and check the levels. (No mention of what level of radiation that person would be exposed to, or the contamination he would have brought back into the bunker)

The 3 observers were expected to report the progress and vital readings every 5 minutes. They were isolated from the outside world apart from the phone line which was connected continuously.

( I remember when I was younger going to an office where one of these special loud speaker phones was located. They apparently tested them once a week at 12pm on a Monday- what a way to start your week and hope there were no hoaxes).

The bunker itself was quite small about 5m long by 2m wide and 2m high. There was a separate chemical toilet but otherwise that was the entire space. Food was provided from tins. Power was from batteries or a petrol generator- not sure how they handled the issue of the exhaust and carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide build up.

The most striking thing the guide mentioned was that they had extensive training for:- before the bomb was detonated, during the time that the bomb was detonated and how they were to monitor things for the next 3 weeks. For the time following that they had not training- It seemed hardly possible to go home just as normal after such an event!

I ask you to consider the following apparently those out in the open at the time of a blast can leave a “shadow” on rocks and cement nearby when they are incinerated. With that in mind, the following sculpture that we saw on the way home was more than a little significant.

I hope that this has given you something to discuss and consider.

With world events as they are, and friction in relationships between countries and across the globe, we do need to stop and think hard.

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