Thursday, 26 December 2019

'Doomtown' and the curious case of Armageddon , but not on a Sunday.....

Letter sent to The Times:
I was very interested to read Ben Macintyre’s chilling article on  nuclear confrontations in the Cold War that very nearly went white hot (“The ultimate a war game: Armageddon,” 21 December 2019; having recently  visited a fascinating  exhibition titled on 'Protect and Survive, Britain in the Cold War' which closed in early November at  the National Archives in Kew, having opened in April,( previewed by Valentine Low in The Times on 3 April 2019,"Revealed: Britain’s secret plans for nuclear apocalypse"

One of the curiosities unveiled was the revelation that the regional government bunker in Wales - of which there were 14 across the UK - set aside for political big-wigs to escape the falling atomic bombs, was in Brecon, in the South Wales mountains: except, that is, for Sundays, when it was in nearby Abergavenny. This is revealed in a hitherto Top Secret classified document displayed in Kew. But no explanation was offered for the double end-of-the-world refuge in Wales. 

The exhibition also records that  in 1979, the UK Government began a series of so-called Civil Defence exercises under the title of ‘Wintex-Cimex,' and intriguingly showed a film made by a young journalist, Jeremy Paxman, reporting for a BBC Panorama programme  titled “If the Bomb drops.” (The BBC itself would have, apparently, become the WBS, the Wartime Broadcasting Service). 

Meantime, it is salutary to note from a Pathe News film shown at the National Archive exhibition, that the name given to the small community constructed in the Nevada desert - to see what would be the destructive effect of blast on building of different construction, from British atomic bombs of different explosive capacity detonated nearby - was ‘Doomtown’

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