Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

Ipswich: Bunker would have run Suffolk during nuclear war

08:59 05 February 2014

Clifford Smith

Clifford Smith

Ipswich’s bunker was designed as a county-wide centre in the event of a catastrophic disaster, including a nuclear attack.

shares

Had the country come under attack, the man in charge during the 1970s and 1980s would have been Clifford Smith, chief executive of East Suffolk, and from 1974 Suffolk, County Council.

He was designated “county commander” and in the even of a major emergency he would have had control over much of life in the county.

Mr Smith said: “I would have chosen who went into the bunker – although we often speculated on whether those selected would actually have gone in there or whether they would prefer to see things out with their families!”

The Ipswich bunker was not very large: “There was room for about 12 people, but that would have been fairly crowded.

“There was a small kitchen and a couple of toilets, but it wasn’t the kind of place you would have wanted to be shut up for very long!” he said.

The most important feature of the bunker was its secure radio connection to keep in touch with the outside world.

“The government bunkers, like those in Essex, were much larger and we would have been in touch with them but this was the Suffolk control centre.”

Mr Smith would have chosen the team to go into the bunker with him. There would have been a senior police officer (possibly the chief constable), the fire chief, a hospital boss, representatives of other services, possibly the county surveyor, and a representative of the WRVS who would help to co-ordinate relief efforts above ground.

“Everyone would be there for a reason,” he said. “It wouldn’t be a case of bringing down members of your family for safety.”

The bunker was ready for use in many emergencies, not just nuclear war. It was used for exercises and for occasional major incidents which hit Suffolk.

Mr Smith said: “The last time I can remember using the centre was during the aftermath of the great storm in 1987.

“It’s radio links were vital in the days before mobile phones. Those of us based there could keep in touch with what was happening around the county.”

Today there is an emergency control centre that can be set up at police headquarters – it was used to monitor the situation during December’s surge tide – but it is not an underground bunker because the threat of all-out nuclear is not considered as serious since the end of the Cold War following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

shares

1 comment

  • ......and the most important question...where is this bunker? Or is that still a national secret?

    Report this comment

    Steve Blake

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Early morning sunrise at Southwold - visit the pier for a quirky day out

With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, editor in chief Terry Hunt has shared his list of Suffolk’s top 10 romantic places - so there is no excuse not to make your beloved feel special.

Beardmore Park.
lings

The relocation of a Martlesham garden centre, which had been facing closure, could pave the way for Marks and Spencer to expand its neighbouring store significantly.

St Mary-at-the-Quay church.

The medieval Waterfront building is undergoing a £5million transformation to become a multi-use community centre with a wellbeing and heritage centre theme.

The accident happened on the A12 at Chelmsford

All lanes have now reopened on the A12 at Chelmsford following an accident in which a man died this morning.

Remnants of what is thought to be an 18th century ship found by Mark Hopkins on Thorpeness beach

Remnants of a what is thought to be a centuries-old shipwreck have resurfaced on the Suffolk coast.

A few views of the river Stour at Flatford

From gusty wind and grey skies, to calm waters and a sneaky peak at the winter sun - this week has been a changeable one weatherwise.

A collision on East Mersea Road between a bus and a low-loader lorry which was carrying a steam engine.  Photo: Su Anderson

A bus driver who was critically injured in a crash involving a lorry carrying a 15 tonne steam engine told emergency teams to leave him and help his passengers instead.

Izzy, 13 years old, Black, Domestic Shorthaired, Neutered Female.

Meet Izzy, a 13-year-old, black, domestic short-haired, neutered female.

Inspector Julian Ditcham of the roads policing unit breath tests a motorist.

A drink-driver began doing press-ups in a desperate attempt to bring his alcohol reading down when breath-tested, a court heard.

Junior Doctors Strike at Ipswich Hospital

Junior doctors at Ipswich Hospital are among those taking part in the second organised 24-hour strike in a protest over pay and conditions.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24