Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 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

Some of the dvds seized in the Southwold raid by Suffolk trading standards officers

A Suffolk Trading Standards inquiry into an alleged pirate DVD network, which made around £700,000, has led to the arrests of five people in three counties.

Motorists have faced delays on the A14 in the Bury area today. 

Photo: ARCHIVE

There are delays on the A14 in the Bury St Edmunds area after a road crash involving up to four vehicles.

Some school leaders, teachers and parents lack ambition to improve, according to Suffolk County Council

Too many school leaders, teachers and parents still do not aspire to turn around Suffolk’s under-performing education system.

Hundreds of people enjoyed Orford Fete and flower show at the weekend. BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson handed out the trophys.  Nick Robinson with John Henry Brown who won 'Best in Show' for the third year in a row.

Giant fruit and veg, canine competitions, a local personality – it’s the perfect recipe for a Suffolk village celebration.

Woodbridge Tide Mill

A Suffolk landmark is set to welcome guests from across the Atlantic on an information exchange this month.

ANPR checking during multi-agency police operation

More than 2,000 uninsured drivers were deprived of their vehicles in just over two years, according to Suffolk constabulary figures.

A woman has been taken to hospital after her car left a bridge and crashed into a river in Wingfield, near Diss.

The Eye Town Show at the Community Centre on Sunday.
Kitty-Boo, 9, and Hepsie, 7, Capey with their winning Best Rescue Dogs Demby and Alfie in the dog show

More than 750 headed to the grounds of Eye Community Centre on Sunday for the third annual Eye Town Show.

Barclays Bank on Princes Street in Ipswich was closed due to a fight on the premises.

Two more suspects have been arrested after a mass brawl which led to the closure of Barclays Bank in Ipswich town centre.

Fly tipping on the side of the road in Finningham Road between Walsham le Willows and Finningham.

Flytipping incidents in Ipswich have risen by almost one-third in the past three years according to new figures.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages