Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 14°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.

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.

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

Norwich Crown Court

A former instructor for the Army Cadet Force has been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage cadet on a training camp.

The new Aldi in Donald Mackintosh Way, Ipswich.

Ipswich’s third Aldi supermarket is to open its doors tomorrow at Pinewood on the southern edge of the town.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

Two young men terrified a teenage girl after donning balaclavas and arming themselves with a hammer and rounders bat when taking the law into their own hands.

The Very Revd Martin Thrower

A senior Suffolk clergyman has been suspended by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich after being arrested by police on suspicion of voyeurism.

A photograph of a recovered Samurai Sword after an incident in Ipswich on August 30, 2016. Pic: Ali Livingstone / Suffolk Constabulary.

A man has been arrested and a samurai sword has been recovered after an incident in Ipswich this morning.

Ricky Mutton

Police were able to clear up 13 burglaries after an Ipswich man wrote a letter from prison saying he wanted to “wipe the slate clean”, a court has heard.

The Flatford terrapin - now named John!

When Ipswich teenager Curtis Jay went on the hunt for Pokemon Go characters in Flatford he accidentally stumbled upon a very different creature.

Suffolk and Norfolk police assistant chief constable Sarah Hamlin.

The assistant chief constable for Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies has announced her retirement in a series of Twitter posts which appear to criticise the police forces.

Stowmarket chicken shed fire (Photo: Denise Bates)

A chicken shed blaze in Stowmarket has been tackled by firefighters.

A team from Hadleigh firm Wincer Kievenaar Architects has raised more than £8,500 for Action Medical Research after riding from London to Paris.

A team from Hadleigh firm Wincer Kievenaar Architects has raised more than £8,500 for Action Medical Research after cycling from London to Paris.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24