Monday, July 20, 2009

Churchill and the British Bomb Shelter That Wasn't

"Churchill bunker 'not bomb-proof' "
BBC (July 20, 2009)

"Winston Churchill complained he had been 'sold a pup' when he discovered his underground wartime headquarters in Whitehall were not bomb-proof.

"A letter showing Churchill's annoyance when he discovered this security flaw is on display at the Cabinet War Rooms.

"Despite his protests, the prime minister continued to work from this bunker during the Blitz.

"The letter, written in September 1940, says the war rooms 'cannot be made bomb-proof in any sense'.

"The Cabinet War Rooms, now open to the public, were used as an underground command centre throughout World War II...."

This BBC article gives a pretty good look at an example of why I don't get nostalgic about 'the good old days,' when things were so much better. It appears that the British government, in an effort to deal with the unpleasantness of bombs falling on London, devised a shelter for key leaders which combined the discomfort of a real bomb shelter with the vulnerability of a surface structure.

Perhaps I'm being unkind.

I suggest reading this article. It's a good glimpse at the way it was, about a half-century back.

Kudos to Churchill and company, for staying at their post: knowing that it wasn't 'as described.'

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