Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Forewarned Is Forearmed: ROC Watton (Up Top)

A lonely former Royal Observer Corps site in the middle of overgrown, muddy fields, outside Watton. An interesting relic from the Cold War days - in a more exposed spot, this would have been trashed, spray-painted, and ransacked, yet items still remain down in the bunker, not terribly interesting in themselves yet thrilling in their context. Civil defence magazines. Rotting toilet rolls. Paperwork. A (now torn) banner from a group calling themselves Thetford CND, who visited in April 1987 - whilst, presumably, the site was still in use.

Following the end of the Second World War and the RAF's increasing reliance upon more sophisticated methods of aerial observation, the main objective of the ROC - overwhelmingly comprised of part-time civilian volunteers - was to provide authorities with data about nuclear explosions and projected radiation fallout patterns. Following the end of the Cold War and the UK government's 'Option for Change' defence spending review, the ROC was disbanded in 1991.

Anyhow. In the quiet fields, abandoned traces of a war that never came.

1 comment: