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Report - - Ventnor R1 Bunker Isle of Wight May 2008 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Ventnor R1 Bunker Isle of Wight May 2008


Truffle Pig

28DL Regular
28DL Full Member
Well as some of you may or may not know, the R1 bunker thats here on the island has been sealed and capped off from the rest of the world.....

Heres a few taster shots(im not uploading all of them now, as Ive only had 3hrs sleep, and Im fooked and gotta goto work now) :(


v_00038.jpg

The capped off end where the guard house was.

v_00037.jpg

Dan in the main access tunnel.

v_00036.jpg

Another tunnel shot with what looks like a gun rack on the right.

v_00001.jpg

Various machinery.

v_00019.jpg

A few spare keys.

v_00020.jpg

Running water :confused:

v_00028.jpg

Proberbly the main OPs room.

v_00025.jpg

Oooops ;)

groupa.jpg

Group shot infront of a map of the south.

Another thing, it was well skanky down there, everything was covered with mould, and the lower level was flooded :(

More to follow......
 
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Truffle Pig

28DL Regular
28DL Full Member
Re: Ventnor R1 Bunker Isle of Wight - REPORT - May 2008

From what I have found out, this place was built in late 1952, and operational until the end of the cold war, around 1991, then ALL entrances/exits were capped with concrete in 1994/5

More info on this place can be found on the usual subbrit site, although no underground pics.

The small gray bungalow built just inside the chain-link perimeter fence somewhat optimistically disguised the entrance to the bunker. Besides providing access to the top of a circular stairway guarded by a Service Policeman, the bungalow accommodated the Technical Officer together with his Warrant Officer. The roof space was used to store a small quantity of spare units for the radar 'heads'

The tunnel, which was about eight feet square, descended at a significant angle and was brightly lit, had smartly painted rendered walls and had a highly polished brown linoleum floor. After about 30 yards there was a wall mounted glass fronted cabinet which contained two service revolvers. It was hard to imagine the purpose of these, especially when I later learnt that the bullets for these were kept in a safe in the office above. The corridor continued, then turned sharply left and after another thirty or so yards reached a pair of massive blast doors. These were well over a foot thick and presumably motor driven, but thankfully I never saw them closed. The corridor was now at the right-hand side of a large room known as the Radar Office.

After this, doors on the right gave access to Officers' and Other Ranks' refreshment rooms and on the left, curtained access to the Operations Room. Next, also on the left, double doors led to a few steps down into a large high ceilinged 'plant' room housing ranks of motor generating equipment and air-conditioning apparatus. The corridor, now being only six feet across, continued through double doors and around a corner to a bolted heavy steel door through which was the main ventilation shaft which doubled as a route to the emergency exit. The shaft contained a zigzag of several flights of steel stairs and a large waterfall air washing system. Finally a heavy door in the side of the shaft, now a steel tube, opened to fresh air.
Anyway more pics;

v_00002.jpg

Compressor in the pump room.

v_00003.jpg

Electrics in the gas filtration room.

v_00004.jpg

Closeup.

v_00005.jpg

Fan powering the filtration.

v_00006-1.jpg

Blast doors.

v_00007-1.jpg

Main corridor.

v_00011-1.jpg

Main corridor towards main stairway.

v_00015-1.jpg

Door towards emergency exit.

v_00014-1.jpg

Emergency exit stairway.

v_00017-1.jpg

Somthing to do with the heating.

v_00026-1.jpg

Paperwork, this was all mouldy and fell apart when touched.

v_00027-1.jpg

Some form of teletalk.

v_00034-1.jpg

Transformer near main entrnce.

v_00035-1.jpg

Closeup.

v_00039-1.jpg

Another shot near the transformer.

v_00021.jpg

Mess room.

v_00023.jpg

Womens sink, complete with bogroll.

v_00024.jpg

Im guessing some sort operator sat here, there were several bays.

v_00029.jpg


v_00030.jpg

Not that its very clear, but you can make out the isle of wight on the glass.

v_00031.jpg


v_00032.jpg


v_00033.jpg

Leading upto the main entrance.

So theres a few more :cool:

Comments welcome.
 
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frinkemon

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice! I was there a few years ago (Wow, 1999 I think!) and was tempted to have a mooch but was driven away by a LOAD OF HUGE SPIDERS...

No thanks.
 

Boogiebear

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Wow, the picture labelled 'Some form of teletalk' is actually a WB1400 Carrier Speaker for the attack warning system, and the grey box on the wall is the filter unit to help protect it from EMP.

WB1400.jpg


These would deliver the '4 Minute Warning' (probably considerably less) and were located at significant places like hospitals, Police stations, etc. I last saw one at the Fire Station I used to work at.
 
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
A bumped thread, but what a great report. Someones a history pro lol to know what that radio is ;) good to know though.
 

Boogiebear

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
A bumped thread, but what a great report. Someones a history pro lol to know what that radio is ;) good to know though.
Yea this is a really interesting report. I'm no historian - just a Cold War & ROC enthusiast. My Father-in-law ran the ROC Group bunker in Maidstone a long time ago, and the stories he told me inspired me to do some research.

A little anecdote about the Carrier Speaker - I used to be a Part-Time Firefighter in Buckinghamshire. One day I went to the station to return my fire tunic which I'd had washed. When I was hanging it on my peg I heard a metallicy voice down the corridor. I had a look and it was coming from a little cupboard which was normally shut. In there was a carrier speaker (didn't know what it was then) and the voice said something like "Attention, Attention, this is Slough Command. Codeword is crocodile. Repeat crocodile. Message ends". The next thing I know is there's a clatter of boots down the corridor and a burly firefighter shouted "Oh f*** guys, we've missed it".

When he realised that I'd heard it, he got me to write it on a special postcard, which was posted off somewhere to confirm that our receiver was working.

So this was a system test of the Nuclear Attack Warning System. It could could carry speech as well as the warning. The signals weren't radio, they were sent down copper wires ,on a dedicated system. Normally the speaker is turned right down, but when it's turned up in anticipation of an attack, it makes a regular ticking noise to prove that the telephone line is intact. The Attack Alert itself is a horrible warbly noise - which I still find as scary as f***, all this time later.

HTH, BB

(Ps. Apologies if I've hijacked the thread :oops: )
 
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Yea this is a really interesting report. I'm no historian - just a Cold War & ROC enthusiast. My Father-in-law ran the ROC Group bunker in Maidstone a long time ago, and the stories he told me inspired me to do some research.

A little anecdote about the Carrier Speaker - I used to be a Part-Time Firefighter in Buckinghamshire. One day I went to the station to return my fire tunic which I'd had washed. When I was hanging it on my peg I heard a metallicy voice down the corridor. I had a look and it was coming from a little cupboard which was normally shut. In there was a carrier speaker (didn't know what it was then) and the voice said something like "Attention, Attention, this is Slough Command. Codeword is crocodile. Repeat crocodile. Message ends". The next thing I know is there's a clatter of boots down the corridor and a burly firefighter shouted "Oh f*** guys, we've missed it".

When he realised that I'd heard it, he got me to write it on a special postcard, which was posted off somewhere to confirm that our receiver was working.

So this was a system test of the Nuclear Attack Warning System. It could could carry speech as well as the warning. The signals weren't radio, they were sent down copper wires ,on a dedicated system. Normally the speaker is turned right down, but when it's turned up in anticipation of an attack, it makes a regular ticking noise to prove that the telephone line is intact. The Attack Alert itself is a horrible warbly noise - which I still find as scary as f***, all this time later.

HTH, BB

(Ps. Apologies if I've hijacked the thread :oops: )
Wow that is fascinating, and a great story. Maidstone is very close to me, but Ive never done a ROC, iv`e done forts, and bunkers & love history. Ive a friend who writes about wars and our Military, he also does little figures and has won awards.

Ive visited some nuclear bunkers and been left alone to wander one also, just 4 of us. But sadly I lost all photos on my laptop nearly 15 yrs ago from that period of exploring. I know there is one under Woodlands Park Gravesend, but never seen it.

I wouldn't worry to much on hi-jacking the thread, the OG photographed a talking point, and for that im grateful that it lead to your story. Its good to know things from our past and how they worked :D
 

Boogiebear

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi CJ. The ROC group is in London Road, but when I lived in Tonbridge (before 2011) it was owned by solicitors who were based next door. They filled it up with so many files that you could hardly see what was in there for the boxes and stuff. It's secured pretty tightly I believe.

The Subbrit report is here https://www.subbrit.org.uk/sites/maidstone-roc-group-hq/.

On that page they've used the picture I gave them of my Father-in-law and his crew. This was not long after the bunker opened, and the equipment wasn't as sophisticated as later on.

That's him top right, doing officery-type stuff during an exercise :Not Worthy lol. The guys with headphones on are receiving nuclear bomburst and fallout information from the outlying ROC posts in Kent and Sussex, and plotting them on the maps. Upstairs in the gallery (where the photo was taken from) scientists and specialists will be looking down on the plots. They will also wearing be headsets, to advise the RAF and Civil Defence authorities at various locations.

The crew are looking really serious, (not surprising since their performance is being assessed) but they had a good social life together when they weren't 'locked down' in the bunker. In those days everything was done on blackboards and big tables, they hadn't yet introduced the see-through perspex screens that people wrote on in chinagraph from behind.

Although computers were around then, the ROC always did things manually, so that if the power died (even though the bunker had its own generator) or an EMP pulse wiped out the electronics, they never lost any of the vital data and could keep going under candle light if necessary.

Roger at Ops Room.jpg


The only other thing of interest in Kent I can think of was a guy I met in Subbrit who bought the Penshurst ROC post. I helped him clear away the mass of vegetation and paint the outside.

see... https://www.subbrit.org.uk/sites/penshurst-roc-post/

He's restored the post, and if what's written on the Subbrit site still holds true, will open it up on request and let you see the gear. NB - At all other times the post is securely locked, and completely empty.

Cheers, BB.
 
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Hi BB , Fascinating stuff, a bit like what Ive seen at the bunker, re plotting room, maps, headphones, radar, and use of asod 1. .? or ASCii? if thats the right ones? . I know a little re the cold war and the binary coding system used, and have visited some shared USA & UK bases. Ive read quite a bit re bases and bunker link ups. So ROCs would play a massive part in that. Thank you for the photos, they are great.


The ROC Penhurst sounds great. I will look at the links tomorrow. Thank you for an interesting chat. I love learning new info. Ive always been fascinated with that time period.

Sorry reply is short, will add more tomorrow

regards CJ. Maybe pms could be swapped?? Ive love to see & hear more
 

Boogiebear

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi CJ. Glad you liked it. The ROC were separate from military installations, though obviously the data they generated was fed through to all sorts of places.

One thing I forgot to mention is that if you look on the big map you can just make out some little black dots - which are the individual ROC post locations. One of the things I talked to my F-i-l about was the 'simulated' attacks. If a bomb burst near to some posts in the exercise, they would be 'damaged or destroyed' and so the Group (bunker) would 'lose contact' with them (other posts further away would see the bomb burst and report it). Everybody knew each other in this little world, so the crew might be sitting there thinking "oh well that's some of my friends toasted then".

Worse still, many ROC crew members would have had homes and families in the areas that were obliterated in attacks. Even though was an exercise, it wasn't a game, and these guys knew that if it happened for real the whole world they knew would be gone when they opened the bunker door afterwards.

The families of ROC members had plans to help each other out if we went to war whilst their crew member was down a post or bunker. And they knew better than most people what the FLASH, BLAST and RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT would do to them - and the best (if not futile) actions to protect themselves


Incidentally, if you're a film buff, or you you just want to depress yourself- Here are some really good movies to see if you get the chance. Do not watch them with the kids around !

"The War Game" - A BBC film from the 1960's, originally banned, it shows a nuclear strike meant for Manston airbase which overshoots and detonates near Maidstone
"Threads" - A fantastic BBC film from the 1980's about a nuclear burst on Sheffield, and the years afterwards.
"Black Rain" - Not the silly Michael Douglas movie, but a (modern black and white) Japanese one about a teenage girl who has to walk through devastated Hiroshima after the bomb had dropped, and how in the years afterwards she cannot find a husband because everyone shuns her when they find out that the radioactive fallout (Black Rain) fell on her.
"Edge of Darkness" - Again, not the shite Hollywood movie, but the original which was an excellent BBC thriller series from the 1980's about the shitty things that the 'State' gets up to with nuclear grade uranium when it thinks no one is looking.


Feel free to PM if you want to know more. As I say, I'm not a historian or ex-ROC, I'm just an old git whose curiousity has led him on a quest of discovery.

Cheers, BB.
 

freshwateriow

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Is it still closed? We were just talking in the bar this evening about this one. Last weekend went up around Thionville exploring Maginot Bunkers. Will post the pics this week.
 

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