Welcome to The CDA Journal

No. 69, November 2019

ISSN: 1479-6856

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Please see below for PDF downloads of the Journal.

This photograph shows the Convoy Commander of road movement Exercise ‘Lupino’ using a portable radio to communicate with officers supervising the operation. See below for details of this Exercise which took place in September 1959.

(Picture: courtesy of Crystal Palace Foundation)

2019

70th Anniversary of the Formation of the:

Auxiliary Fire Service

Civil Defence Corps

Industrial Civil Defence Service

National Hospital Service Reserve

The Civil Defence Association Journal is published four times a year. Opinion expressed are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the CDA.

The Editor welcomes articles, photographs etc. for inclusion. Articles may be submitted either handwritten or (preferably) typed or in Microsoft Word format.

Copy deadline for next issue is 15th February 2020.

Items may be reproduced by ‘not for profit’ publications provided due acknowledgement is given. Commercial publications contact the Editor in advance.

The CDA Journal is printed and published by the Civil Defence Association 24 Paxton Close, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3TD, England.  Any electronic submissions can be sent to cda.enquiries@jcac.org.uk.

Contents of Journal 69

Editorial

CD Exercise ‘Lupino’ September 1959

Ernest Greenwood & the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster

Cold War Nuclear Bunker Restoration

Sweden updates its Civil Defence Handbook

Remembrance, November 2019

A visit to Berwick Coastwatch

Events

STOP PRESS—James Le Mesurier OBE RIP

For the Record

CDA represented at Eden Camp Parade

Editorial

Welcome to the November 2019 edition of the CDA Journal.

An illustrated report on Exercise ‘Lupino’, a road movement exercise held in September 1959 is featured on Page 5.

Through the good offices of Sandra Scotting, Secretary of the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Memorial Trust, we have an article about Ernest Greenwood who took part in the rescue operation in the immediate aftermath of that terrible wartime disaster.

A derelict former Regional Seat of Government of the 1960s at Barnton Quarry, near Edinburgh is well on the way to being fully restored, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers. It is heartening to see yet another feature of ‘Cold War’ architecture being preserved for future generations.

In another sign of the times, the Swedish Government has published a booklet with the aim of preparing its citizens to be better informed about the effects of natural and man-made disasters. This up to date version also includes a warning about ’false information’. This is something which has developed since the advent of the internet and is being used by unfriendly groups and countries in an

effort to distort people’s perception of either breaking news or events.

Amongst the recent crop of incidents and emergencies in the UK, potentially the most serious is the ‘blackout’ which happened when the national electricity grid “crashed” and many thousands of customers both domestic and industrial were affected. The recent preliminary report raised even more questions. With the move away from coal and nuclear power there is increasing reliance on other sources of fuel e.g. gas and wind power etc. Most of our gas supplies come from Russia, so they are vulnerable to any political instability in Eastern Europe. And wind power will only function – when the wind is blowing! As Civil Defenders it is right that we should be concerned!

As I was finalising this Editorial, we had the storms on 1 October and heard of the floods in the Isle of Man. Yes, the CD Corps was, as you would expect, called out and were a great help during both the rescue and recovery phases. We have been promised a report shortly. We send them our thanks.

Graham Whitehead

CD EXERCISE ‘LUPINO’ SEPTEMBER 1959

Civil Defence Exercise “Lupino” was held on Sunday 27 September 1959.

OBJECTIVE

To exercise the mobile elements of Civil Defence Divisions in:

  • convoy movement
  • provide operations for all Sections

SYNOPSIS

It was presumed that elements from the London Civil Defence Region had been asked to reinforce the Eastbourne area. The Exercise commenced at 0830hrs from Crystal Palace Parade with vehicles being formed into convoy and proceed to Hailsham for refreshments and briefing before travelling to Eastbourne for the main tasks. On arrival at their destination, each Section of the C D Corps took part in exercises under active service conditions, with the aid of personnel and facilities provided by East Sussex County Council, the Borough of Eastbourne and Hailsham Rural District Council.

PARTICIPANTS

300 personnel drawn from Battersea, Camberwell, Lambeth, Southwark and LCC Divisions of the Civil Defence Corps. In addition, No.253 Provost Company, Royal Corps of Military Police assisted with guiding the convoy to its destination and during subsequent movements of the mobile elements.

OPERATIONAL EXERCISES

The convoy arrived at Willingdon at approx. 1245hrs. At this location there was an exercise training ground and “damaged” buildings which looked very realistic. “Casualties” were well scattered over a large area. First Aid and Rescue Sections searched and removed them successfully. Meanwhile the Welfare Section set up Soya boilers and by 1400hrs had prepared a hot meal for the participants.

DEBRIEFING

Apart from a few relatively minor incidents, the exercise proceeded along the lines planned and the timetable turned out to be surprisingly accurate. No doubt the good weather contributed to the excellent co-operation between all concerned. A number of mistakes were made but in an event of this dimension, it would have been extraordinary if they had not, and in fact there would have been less purpose serving in holding it.

An exercise of this size could not have been carried out without the expenditure of  a great deal of time and effort, but the satisfaction registered by the participants provided sufficient reward.

Escorted by a motor cyclist from the Royal Military Police, two mobile CDC Signals Offices and a number of General-Purpose vehicles comprise the convoy.

General-Purpose vehicles from the County of London Division.

Field Cable Party and trailer

Ambulances from the County of London Division.

Field Cable Party Land Rover is ahead of other vehicles who appear to have ‘broken ranks’  (Anyone who has taken part in a road movement exercise will know that the Column Commander will have a few choice words to say about this occurrence at the exercise debriefing! Editor).

An exchange of messages at the Mobile Signals Office.

With thanks to Melvyn Harrison, Chairman of the Crystal Palace Foundation for making documents relating to Exercise ‘Lupino’ available to the CDA.

In CDA Journal No. 65, November 2018, we featured ‘Exercise Leader X’ which came from the same source.

So many papers, including exercise reports were simply thrown away after 1968 so we are indebted to the Foundation for rescuing this historic material.

 

Editor .

ERNEST GREENWOOD AND THE BETHNAL GREEN TUBE DISASTER

This true story came to the attention of the CDA through the good offices of Sandra Scotting, Secretary of the ’Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust. The author, Rebecca Whitfield, had initially contacted Dr. Toby Butler, Research Fellow, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London. Dr. Butler has compiled an oral history of the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster. Many thanks to the aforementioned persons for permission to reproduce it in the CDA Journal. Editor.

l’ll start with a bit of background to Grandad’s life. He was born to Hannah and Ernest Greenwood. Ernest was a drayman in a local brewery. His hobby was bare knuckle fighting! Even I can remember him shaving with a cutthroat razor. A tough man of his time. Hannah was the youngest of many children. Her Irish mother seems to be quite a character and Hannah the apple of her eye. So, it was shocking when she returned from work at the age of 15 to find her mother dead on the floor.

 

Hannah and Ernest married just prior to her giving birth to Grandad in 1922. My Uncle Harry followed just a year later. Sarah was born in 1924 and died of diphtheria in 1926. Joseph was born 1925 and died within 11 days of Sarah in 1926, also with diphtheria. Grandad could remember this quite clearly. His sister Hannah was born in 1929. They had a strict upbringing but were loved though not in the demonstrative way we recognise today.

When war broke out in 1939 Grandad was 17 and apprenticed at Scholls as a surgical instrument maker. He knew he would be called up for service in the Armed Forces. He decided he would go into the RAF. His brother Harry chose the Army. I can only imagine my Nan’s feelings at this time and the horror that two more of her children could be lost too. Young Hannah was quickly dispatched to the country as an evacuee. Luckily she was taken in by a good family who were living near the Suffolk/Essex borders. The families were in touch until their respective deaths.

Grandad, I think, had gone for a medical examination, and to be measured for uniform etc. But I think it must have been beginning of May 1940 a week or two after his eighteenth birthday that he received two letters in the post. One was to report for RAF duty. The other was to say he would not be going into the Services because he was in a ‘reserved occupation’.

Ernest Greenwood pictured bottom right in the photograph

Once again, I can feel almost euphoric for my poor Nanny, who had gone through so much grief and pain hidden be- neath a hardened exterior. But Grandad didn’t get off lightly. As well as picking his way to work every day (Sundays omitted!). He had to do 4/5 nights of Home Guard duties. Learning about everything from rifles, first aid, holding the fort so to speak. Lots of duties were carried out in Victoria Park – I think, military defence, etc.

On the evening of the tube disaster it was raining. Grandad was on HG duty when the call went out for immediate help at Bethnal Green tube station. He was told the air raid siren had gone off because of bombs going off (I think it was later found that the noise of explosions originated from the mortars going off for practice in nearby Victoria Park?)

People rushed to the shelter in the station. There was no railing to hold onto in the middle of the staircase, so people slipped on the wet steps and ended up being pushed from behind by a sea of desperate souls. Grandad, along with emergency services arrived at a scene of absolute horror. A sea of bodies both dead and badly injured. Grandad, along with other helpers and medical personnel, were having to see who was dead and most seriously injured. I don’t know at what point they were told they were sworn to secrecy about it all. But I do know that it was so traumatic that Grandad was reluctant to speak about it until the latter part of his life. Grandad’s mind was sharp as a pin, so I’m sure his memories are accurate.

Apparently, many ambulances were driven by women as most of the able men were in the services. Grandad was asked by a ‘posh woman’ (his term for anyone who sounded their Hs!) driving an ambulance if he knew the way to Hackney Hospital (Hackney Children’s Hospital?). He, of course, knew the area like the back of his hand. So, permission from one of his superior officers was granted to hop in and guide the driver and her injured passengers to the hospital.

As Grandad was giving directions, a voice from one of the injured called from the back of the ambulance, “Is that you Ern?” It was his own father! My Great Grandad Ernie had, by luck, been nearer the back of those on the staircase. I think he es- caped with a broken arm. Later, for this quite ‘minor’ injury he was awarded compensation of 10 shillings and sixpence …52 and a half pence in today’s currency. But this didn’t seem to be general knowledge. Maybe he had to sign secrecy documents to claim it?

Once again, my Nan had nearly lost one of her family. But my Grandad, who was a rather dour man anyway, never spoke of the incident. In fact, the ‘incident’ was almost forgotten or only whispered about whilst I was growing up. There was no indication at Bethnal Green Station that such an enormous disaster had ever happened there. How painful it must have been for all those involved and especially those that lost loved ones, some whole families, to carry on using that station. Especially the entrance at the “Salmon and Ball.”

I hope you found my Grandad’s story of interest and Yes, both my Grandad and Great Grandad were called Ernest.

 

Rebecca Whitfield

COLD WAR NUCLEAR BUNKER RESTORATION

A secret Cold War nuclear bunker located in Barnton Quarry, near Edinburgh, was built in the 1950s in the midst of fear of Soviet power – and remained a secret until the 1980s. Deep underground in Corstorphine Hill, four miles from the capital, it served as Sector Operations Centre for coordinating RAF fighter  jets  and  protected Scotland from attack by Russian long-range nuclear bombers until around 1960.The bunker was one of 38 which were built in Britain and measures 37,000sq feet. It was built over three floors, including an operations room with two storeys.

In 1964, Barnton Quarry was reconfigured as Scottish Central Control – a regional seat of government – in the event of a nuclear attack, designed to accommodate 400 politicians and civil servants for up to 30 days. There were diesel generators and water and food supplies on site in preparation for nuclear war.

In the early 1990s vandals set fire and pretty much devastated the building, so much so it took fire crews five days putting it out.

An amateur historian who grew up near the bunker as a child and was fascinated by it became involved in the restoration project when he visited with a friend from Russia. Grant More, 38, volunteered his time to help restore the bunker the aim being to open it to the public. Mr More said: ‘I grew up in the area and am a bunker nut. I used to play around the site of the Barnton Quarry as a kid. One of my friends from Russia was over and we went along to the site where we spoke to Martyn Dawson, who part owns the site and is the site manager.

‘He’s dedicated his life to restoring the place and put a lot of time and money into it. He even sold his house to help with the funds. The restoration project began

in 2011 and is hoped to be finished by 2021, including a huge telecommunications exchange which could be restored to its original condition.

The surface buildings at Barnton Quarry Bunker.

Mr. More added: ‘This is the sort of building you can’t preserve commercially, so there’s a kind of symbiotic relationship for the guys running the museum getting the place restored economically and us getting to restore a piece of history. We’ve got a lot of stuff in storage like original fire alarm systems and communications equipment.’

He joked that the wives of the eight volunteers were referred to as ‘bunker widows’ due to the dedication of the team, who turn up every weekend to help out. He added: ‘We turn up every week and 

work on it, we have a guy who specialises in Cold War telecommunications equipment and an amazing array of people with different skills sets. It’s an important part of our national heritage and I think everyone involved understands that.’

The bunker was opened to the public during the weekend of 29-30 September 2018.

With acknowledgements to the Daily Mail, September 2018.

Barnton Quarry in the 1950s.

 

The picture shows the main plotting table at the (then) RAF SOC.

 

Information displayed would have originated from radar stations and the ROC.

SWEDEN UPDATES ITS CIVIL DEFENCE HANDBOOK

For the first time in decades, the Swedish government is distributing instructions on preparing for and responding to a potential conflict or natural disaster — what do to if “your everyday life was turned upside down.” The 20-page pamphlet, titled “If Crisis or War Comes” — part of the first such public-awareness campaign since the Cold War — is a significant revision of a handbook titled “In Case of War” that was distributed to the general public in 1961. Similar updates were given to local and national government officials until 1991.

“The purpose of the brochure is to help us become better prepared for every- thing from serious accidents, extreme weather and IT attacks, to military conflicts,” the pamphlet says. “Although Sweden is safer than many other countries, there are still threats to our security and independence.” While earlier versions focused on potential conflict, the latest one emphasises preparation for peacetime disasters.

“It is much more likely that we have a storm, or flooding, or an IT attack, than that we have a military attack,” Christina Andersson, the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency official who produced the revised handbook, told The New York Times. Sweden’s IT infrastructure and electrical systems are targets of particular concern. “If something happens to these systems we will have problems”,

The Swedish Civil Defence Handbook

‘If crisis or war comes’

(As English is widely spoken in Sweden an English/Swedish edition has also been produced.)

Andersson said. The pamphlet outlines a number of ways to prepare for emergency situations, such as storing non-perishable food and clean drinking water, providing heat, and maintaining communications with family, friends, and authorities.

It also cautions Swedes to “be on the lookout for false information.” “States and organisations are already using misleading information in order to try and influence our values and how we act,” the pamphlet says. “The aim may be to reduce our resilience and willingness to defend ourselves.” The pamphlet is being reissued amid heightened tensions between Russia and other countries in Europe. It is “yet another signal that the security situation in Northern Europe has changed dramatically since 2014,” when Russia intervened militarily in Ukraine, said Magnus Nordenman, director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

It is another sign “that the Swedish government is moving in many ways to up Sweden’s capacity to defend itself,” he told Business Insider. The country’s location — 200 miles from the Russian Baltic Sea outpost of Kaliningrad — and geography, especially its long, rugged coastline, make military assault a particular concern. In early 2014, Russian bombers conducted a simulated attack on Sweden. In 2014, Sweden reported intrusions by unidentified subs; some officials blamed Russia, though Moscow denied involvement. (Like other Western navies, Swedish antisubmarine capability has atrophied since the Cold War.) Swedish planes have had close encounters with Russian planes over the Baltic, where Russian ships have threatened Swedish vessels. Stockholm has also stepped up international cooperation, performing military exercises and expanding partnerships with its Nordic neighbours, and worked closely with NATO — domestic support for joining the defence alliance has grown considerably, despite the country’s traditional non-aligned stance. Sweden has also boosted military spending, reinstated military conscription for the first time since 2010, and stationed troops on the island of Gotland in the Baltic for the first time in a decade. Sweden is redeveloping the “total defence” concept, which emphasises both military and civil defence, the latter drawing on government and civil society for resiliency in the case of war or disaster.

Military readiness is a major component of that, Nordenman said. “Another major one is how to protect and care for the civilian populace … and how to keep society going” in times of crisis, he said. Sweden is not alone in this approach.

Finland has what Nordenman called “the most robust” total-defence plan, which it kept in place after the Cold War. In Lithuania — which has expressed concern about potential Russian “kinetic operations” — citizens were issued an updated civil-defence booklet at the end of 2016, with warnings of the potential for Russian invasion and descriptions of survival techniques. “In Northern and Eastern Europe, this is becoming a bit of a trend,” Nordenman told Business Insider.

There is a “broad political consensus” on matters of defence, Nordenman said. There has been less division over increased military spending and more “of a discussion of how much more should they get,” he added. “I think broadly speaking [Swedes] are accepting” of their role in the total-defence concept, including the likelihood the public would face the first few days or weeks after a disaster or outbreak of conflict on their own, until national and international assistance could be mobilised. Nordenman compared that delay to the time typically needed for disaster-response efforts elsewhere, such as in the US after hurricanes.

“I don’t think that Swedes are lying awake at night thinking that war may come tomorrow,” he said, even though “there certainly is a sense that” Russia is being more assertive. “You’ve definitely seen an upward swing in support” for the Swedish military and for more investment in the national defence.

 

With acknowledgements to Business Insider UK May 2018.

REMEMBRANCE – November 2019

Civil Defence Memorial Garden, National Memorial Arboretum.

Saturday, 2nd November 2019

(It is an unfortunate sign of the times that due to children safeguarding, the children’s faces have been obscured for the web site.)

Photo by Angela Essex-Lopresti

Marcie and Peter Essex-Lopresti laid the wreath at the main CD Memorial and a cross at the Fire Service Memorial.

They were assisted by Sue Dexter. As we were preparing to return to the Visitor Centre the rain stopped and Judith & Angela Essex-Lopresti spotted and photographed the rainbow that had formed in the mist. It was a most moving moment especially as the Red Mallus trees that signify the ring of fires during The Blitz were so evident this year.

Photo by Angela Essex-Lopresti

Durham Cathedral.

9th & 10th November 2019

CDA Standard Bearer, Nick Ridsdale, attended events, both in the evening of Saturday and on Remembrance Sunday, among those representing the Emergency Services and organised by Arthur Lockyear.

Photo by Bill Cresswell

Photo by Terry Hissey

Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey.

7th November 2019

CDA Vice-President, Didy Grahame, reported:

“We were very lucky with a sunny, if not crisp, day and the CD plot looked great – well aligned, full and smart. Sir Neil Thorne stood in front and had a brief word with both Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex. The latter looking beautiful and was listening attentively in a caring manner, to most of those present in front of the plots. It was good to see, in light of all the recent publicity that she has been showered with. The attendance looked a little less than last year, but this made it a bit easier to walk around when visiting other plots and it certainly didn’t detract from the gen- eral atmosphere of the occasion – which was, as usual, immaculately organised and performed.

 

Terry Hissey, myself and Simon Hill, representing Civil Aid, were together at the back of the plot.”

Photos by Terry Hissey

Durham Cathedral.

9th & 10th November 2019

CDA Standard Bearer, Nick Ridsdale, attended events, both in the evening of Saturday and on Remembrance Sunday, among those representing the Emergency Services and organised by Arthur Lockyear.

With acknowledgements to Wikipedia for the photo.

With acknowledgements to Joint Civil Aid Corps for the photo.

The Cenotaph, London.

10th November 2019

Colin Harmsworth led a group from the Joint Civil Aid Corps and were joined by Ian Tough. Unlike 2018 the TV and Radio coverage stopped before they marched past.

A VISIT TO BERWICK COASTWATCH

Our Secretary’s son Johnathan, (wearing shorts), took his family up to Northumbria this summer and met up with Stephen Simon of Coastwatch Berwick who took them for a tour of their tower.

Also pictured are Stephen Simon (in white shirt) and Johnathan’s children, Marcie and Peter.

Berwick Coastwatch is a long established Corporate Member of the CDA.

Editor.

(It is an unfortunate sign of the times that due to children safeguarding, the children’s faces have been obscured for the web site.)

The photograph was taken by Angela Essex-Lopresti.

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

STOP PRESS & FOR THE RECORD

For Events, please visit our Events Page (Click  below).

STOP PRESS

James Le Mesurier OBE RIP

As we were going to press it was re- ported that James Le Mesurier had been found dead in Istanbul.

He was the founder in 2013 of the White Helmets who have served so bravely in Syria and saved so many lives.

There will be more in the next issue

FOR THE RECORD

CDA Book of Remembrance.

The entries for the following are now in our Book of Remembrance in The Chapel at the NMA ready for unveiling on 13 June 2020.

Ian Francis McCall who died on 5 May 2019 aged 73. He served with the AFS

Bryant Anthony Hill who died on 2 June 2019 aged 85. He followed his WWII Head Warden father as a mem- ber of the CD Corps.

The coffins at both funerals were draped with the Civil Defence flag.

CDA East Midlands Branch.

The East Midlands Branch hold meetings in and around Lincoln. All CDA members and supporters are cordially invited to attend.

For more information contact: Patrick Stanton, Co-ordinator Tel: 01205 280144

E-mail: pstanton280@btinternet.com

Birmingham Air Raids Remembrance Association.

Meetings are held every third Thursday of the month at 12 noon. Updates on Association projects, tea and a chat.

Venue: Copthorne Hotel, Queensway, Birmingham. All welcome.

Contact: Barbara Johnson 0121-749-2009

It may be of some comfort.

It may be of some comfort and reassurance for next of kin of deceased CDA members to know that arrangements can be made for a Civil Defence coffin flag to be dispatched, often at quite short notice, to be used at the funeral. Please be assured that such a request will be handled with sensitivity and discretion.

In such instances, the Secretary should be contacted on: 01629 55738.

Members and Families may also like to know that Deceased Members of the CDA have been added to the roll of the Perpetual Mass Association at the Benedictine Monastery of the Ho- ly Cross in Chicago. Thus they will share in the spiritual benefits of the monthly mass and the daily office of the monks.

CDA REPRESENTED AT

EDEN CAMP PARADE

Photo by Philip Stead

Four members of the Legion of Frontiersmen (Scots) represented the CDA at the Eden Camp All Services Parade on Sunday 8th September 2019. Pictured (l to r) are David Bonshor, Nick Hill, Manager, Eden Camp, Shaun Bastin, Avril Bradley and Dave Downes.

In addition to members of the general public, the event was attended by 750 veterans including active duty personnel, 124 cadets from local Army, Air, and Sea cadet detachments, and a further 150 family and friends.

Report and photograph: Philip Stead

n.b. The Legion of Frontiersmen is a Corporate Member of the CDA. Editor.

With acknowledgements to the Dulwich Society

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