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Sometimes, the results of a few nights of urban exploration can change a nation's perspective...and lead to a major spy hunt. :cool:

A regular event in the UK during the early 1960s was the annual Easter protest march by supporters of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; the non-violent direct action group - the Committee of 100, and other peace groups. This march travelled from the UK Government’s nuclear weapons facility at Aldermaston, Berkshire to London’s Trafalgar Square.

As the 1963 march reached a small village in Berkshire, walkers were handed leaflets by members of the Committee of 100 which directed them to take a small detour. The leaflet, produced by a group calling themselves Spies For Peace and entitled DANGER! OFFICIAL SECRET, explained that the Government had been secretly building nuclear bunkers from which they would wage war and gave directions to the nearest bunker which was quite close to the route of the march.

Those who followed these directions found themselves sitting on top of one of the UK Government’s Regional Seats of Government - RSG6 at Warren Row!

This leaflet caused uproar throughout the UK. It is very hard to convey the sense of outrage generated by the public and those in authority, although this outrage was coming from two opposing directions.

The general public felt a sense of betrayal that their leaders were apparently planning to go to war from the safety of Government bunkers; and those representing the ‘Establishment’ were outraged that the ‘Spies For Peace’ had betrayed the security of the UK.

There were vociferous calls from many establishment figures and newspapers for the so called ‘Spies For Peace’ to be arrested and tried for treason. The leaflet itself was the subject of a D-Notice, which requested newspaper editors and television and radio stations not to divulge the contents of the leaflet to the general public. Non did.

The only way that UK residents could discover what the fuss was about was to travel abroad, where many newspapers printed the contents of the leaflet.

The then Prime Minister, MacMillan, ordered the Security Services conduct a security inquiry which was to both, hunt for the ‘mole’ who had leaked the secret of the RSGs to the Spies For Peace, and to investigate what security measures could be taken to ensure that a leak of this kind would never occur again.

Even today, copies of this leaflet are hard to find.

Below is a recently released Government copy of the infamous ‘Spies For Peace’ leaflet - DANGER! OFFICIAL SECRET.












Below is an extract from an article, written by the daughter of one of the 'Spies for Peace', which describes how this ad hoc group of protesters managed to alert the public to the existence of the UK Government's Regional Seat of Government network.

The NS Essay - How my father spied for peace

Forty years ago, activists, among them Nicolas Walter, found secret government plans for the British elite to survive nuclear war. Natasha Walter argues that their story can be an inspiration for today's protesters

In the long winter that froze the early months of 1963 - one of the coldest of the 20th century - a few people were fanning flames of rebellion. They were peace activists - and anarchists and socialists - who wanted to challenge the power of the military state but to go beyond yet another mass march or yet another sit-down. They had heard through various contacts about a secret government bunker that was supposed to lie somewhere off the A4 near Reading. They set off in search of it in February 1963.

They drove for hours over ice-covered roads, and tramped over snow-covered fields. At the east end of a village called Warren Row, they found a fenced-off hill with a padlocked wooden gate, and an unmarked hut. They climbed over the gate to find a brick boiler house and a wide concrete ramp leading into the hillside. Radio aerials stood a little way off, their cables leading into the hill. One of the explorers tried the doors of the boiler house and found them unlocked. The four of them went in.

Inside, they tried another door on what looked like a cupboard. This was also unlocked, and swung open to reveal a steep staircase leading into an underground office complex. They ran down the stairs, their feet clattering in the silence, and snatched what papers they could from the desks. Then they rushed out and drove away, hardly able to believe their luck.

They had walked straight into a secret government headquarters, called the Regional Seat of Government No 6. It was to be one of the biggest stories of the Sixties and, along with the Profumo affair and other events, would change people's perceptions of how their rulers might behave and how far they could be trusted. At the time, the British public, incredible as it now seems, was being told that a nuclear war, though it meant heavy casualties, would not necessarily be catastrophic. People were kept entirely in the dark about their own government's faith in the possibility of surviving such a war, and about its plans for the well-being not of the ordinary people but of a political elite.

Full New Statesman article




Nice one Alley:thumb

Here's some more for you.

When the Spies for Peace 'explored' RSG 6 at Warren Row in 1962, they discovered that the RSG had just been involved in a major Home Defence exercise - FALLEX 62.

This exercise had been run just a few weeks before the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred, so it has a certain relevance to what might have happened in the UK if the crisis had boiled over into global nuclear war.

FALLEX 62 docs are pretty rare - this FALLEX 62 report was only declassified during the latter part of 2005.





















Glad the info was of use girt. I've been going through some declassified RSG related docs which may be relevant to Warren Row and other more 'exotic' RSGs.

I'll post up the results of my search on this thread, hopefully sooner rather than later.:rolleyes:

Meanwhile, heres a Home Office description of the state of RSG 6 produced by the Home Office in 1964.


This description of the Warren Row part of RSG 6 (RSG 6 was split into two facilities; Warren Row and Whiteknights Park, Reading) is pretty damning.

"( a ) Accommodation is primitive, unhealthy and in parts, unsafe.The offices
straggle along one side of a corridor which slopes considerably in parts
and is badly affected by damp.

( b ) Heating and ventilation system is old and internal temperatures cannot
be controlled.

( c ) Both generating sets are old and of doubtful serviceability; their
capacity is inadequate to provide or maintain full lighting yet alone
ventilating plant and kitchen facilities.

( d ) Communications links back to the communications unit at Reading are by
overhead line and are vulnerable. :eek:

( e ) The MPBW Fire Inspectors have said that these premises are a fire
hazard. :eek: "

Communications were by overhead line?

That meant that even a moderate snowfall would have been enough to put Warren Row out of action.

As you will notice, this description was only classified - CONFIDENTIAL.

RSGs had a much lower security classification than most people supposed, which is strange seeing as some of them held an extremely important (and only recently declassified), secret role shopuld war have broken out in the 1960s:cool: .