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Robin D Leach
Kenilworth
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1 of 53  Tue 15th Feb 2011 9:11am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:8

Does anyone know the locations of WW2's permanent anti-aircraft gun positions that surrounded Coventry? There are two well-preserved examples at Fillongley and south of Kenilworth, but where were the others? Being from Kenilworth, I have a particular interest in those to the south of Coventry, one was perhaps near Crackley Woods, but a general interest in all of them.
Wartime defences
IslandCafe
Modbury, Devon
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2 of 53  Tue 15th Feb 2011 11:50am  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:84

Hi Robin, I can only give you the location of one A.A. site, in Wyken it ran between Torcross ave. Wyken Croft rd. and Blackberry Lane. Directly after the war ended it became home to some of the dozens of DPs (displaced persons), mostly elderly and young children. As kids we used to go in and talk to them as best we could. They were very sad and understandably frightened people with a very uncertain future. Alan
Alan

Wartime defences
NeilsYard
Coventry
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3 of 53  Wed 16th Feb 2011 9:19pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1518

Chaps - interesting - is there any physical evidence of these around still today?
Wartime defences
Robin D Leach
Kenilworth
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Thread starter
4 of 53  Thu 17th Feb 2011 5:53pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:8

IslandCafe said: Hi Robin, I can only give you the location of one A.A. site, in Wyken it ran between Torcross ave. Wyken Croft rd. and Blackberry Lane....
Thanks Alan, a good start. On Google Earth some building foundations can be seen in that area, is that them?
Wartime defences
IslandCafe
Modbury, Devon
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5 of 53  Fri 18th Feb 2011 5:46pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:84

Just looked on G.E. and it is impossible to say as none of the housing estates that now cover that area were built at the time and they seem to have obliterated every trace of what was there in the forties, sorry. Alan
Alan

Wartime defences
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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6 of 53  Sun 20th Feb 2011 7:14pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:81

If you go to goggle earth and look up to the top left you have "view" click on this and a menu will drop down, look down the list and there will be a tag saying "Historical Imagery" if you click on this then a bar appears on the right. Wave the curser over it and you will see that it's dated from 1945 to 2010. You can move the ruler back and forth through the years. Note the 1945 map is best viewed from a distance as the quality it better that way, hope this help.
Wartime defences
IslandCafe
Modbury, Devon
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7 of 53  Tue 22nd Feb 2011 10:54am  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:84

Thanks for that "Spirit", I checked it out but the definition was too poor to show individual buildings. It did stir a few memories though but the location of the various buildings will have to remain only in my fast fading mind. Alan
Alan

Wartime defences
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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8 of 53  Tue 22nd Feb 2011 5:36pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:81

Try this website it has some maps on there you might find what you are looking for.. http://www.old-maps.co.uk
Wartime defences
Robin D Leach
Kenilworth
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Thread starter
9 of 53  Tue 1st Mar 2011 6:21am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:8

Many thanks to those who have responded to my initial inquiry. Further research has revealed a Royal Artillery website that not only lists all the permanent anti-aircraft positions around Coventry, but also gives map references for the locations! .....www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/adgb/coventry.html..... I initially was asking if anyone knew of the position at Crackley; I have since made contact with a man who remembers it. It appears most likely that it was the base of a mobile unit, a permanent one being about half a mile away at Gibbett Hill. Nothing of any significence at either site appears to be shown on the Google Earth 1945 aerial photographs.
Wartime defences
Radford kid
Coventry
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10 of 53  Sun 7th Jul 2013 9:46am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:357

Civil defence I wonder if anyone can recall the Civil Defence HQ near Draper's Field ? The Civil Defence building I refer to was a big house converted into offices, just in front of the house I remember seeing an air raid shelter, a very substantial building, not the usual Anderson type. In front of the Shelter entrance was a Bomb blast wall, this wall was built to prevent a direct bomb blast from entering the shelter, I remember looking at it one day and thinking how close this country came to defeat. I am humbled when I say "thanks for our freedom". I had worked at the Civil Defence many times but I have to tell you this little tale of woe. It was in the middle of the winter and this day was cold and dank, I was working away as happy as Larry clipping a cable down the inside wall, singing my happy song, no one was about, the staff were in their own offices working. About an hour had passed by when a secretary appeared from this doorway, she said "can you please keep the noise down, we are having a conference". I, of course apologised and said "I will try to be quiet but I have to fix the cable and that means banging" she said "thank you" and returned to the room only to have the door pulled out of her hand by what must have been the main man, "it's your bloody singing we cannot stand, the banging is fine, well that put me in my place ( I thought) I think they took an instant dislike to me because later on in the day I had to work in the roof space/attic I opened the trap door and placed my ladder through the opening and I began my ascent into the roof space. I must have got carried with my work and lost track of time, "it's gone very quiet" I thought I made my way back to the opening to find that all the lights had gone out, the only light was from my torch, the ladders were still in place so I managed to come down the ladder, it was pitch black. I shouted "is anyone there?" They had all gone home and locked up, they must have forgot me in the attic, or did they? I am stuck now, how do I get out, the alarm must have been set and I had worked on the alarm system previously and I knew it was connected direct to the Police station. Well I had to do it, I opened the front which was a Yale type lock and got into my van, hearing the internal siren sounding (it was timed for internal siren to sound then after a while the outside siren would sound) I had no choice other than to sit in my van until the police arrived, it was not too long when I heard a screaming siren from both the arriving police and the Civil Defence building. All hell broke loose, the police understood what had happened and I was sent on my way. Next morning the mood was somewhat aggressive towards me. Not going into detail you can imagine I was not the flavour of the month. If the main man had done it on purpose it some what back fired on him, he was called back by the police to re-arm the alarm system, in my defence I thought someone would have noticed the ladder on the landing and the GPO van still sitting right outside the front door with the back doors open? Makes me think the main man knew what he was up to? But I will never know. Colin.
Colin Walton

Wartime defences
Radford kid
Coventry
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11 of 53  Sun 7th Jul 2013 9:48am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:357

Royal Observer Corps As with anyone who worked for the government and visiting government /military establishment I had to sign the Official Secrets form. Although I have long left the GPO/BT, the signed form will continue until my demise, on my leaving I had to endorse my original oath as to keeping shtum. Not that we were ever privy to Top Secret information. Understanding the above I am not too sure I should reveal the location of this Royal Observer Corps underground bunker, two such bunkers that I know of existed, the one I worked in the most was just outside Coventry, it sounds a bit over the top but you never know, now the Cold War is over I am not sure if the bunker has been mothballed? Or has it been filled in? It was a magical place for me, it was like turning back the clock, two storeys deep, made of concrete, fitted out with beds for about 20 people, it was self contained with its water purifier and air filtering it was said to be fall-out proof. Before you could descend into the bunker we had to go through a decontamination chamber kitted out with radiation counters and a shower. The two doors were in the region of a foot thick. Once through the doors we would descend to the lower level where the coms room was situated. The coms room was full of the state of the art equipment (again I will not go into the equipment fitted) not that I could remember anyway. Along from the coms room was the plotting room in one corner was the switchboard next to that was the big transparent map mounted vertically in front was the plotting table, on this table the staff would plot the incoming aircraft the map was overseen by the senior Officers of the Observer Corps, these officers looked down on the table from the upper gallery, (if you have ever seen the film "Battle of Britain" you will know what the plotting room looked like) it was just the same and still in commission at the time we worked there around 1980ish, regular meetings were held throughout the year to test various war like scenarios and test the coms equipment etc. the facility was looked after by a local man who cleaned and serviced various equipment. I just loved working there but I know a lot of engineers shied away from going there as to its claustrophobic environment, me on the other hand just soaked up the atmosphere, not too sure if this bunker was built during the war or after but it looked well established and the equipment installed at our time of working there was in response to the Cold War. My mind would wonder back in time and I could see all the operators at work trying to keep this country safe during the dark days of WWII . I hope the above has been of interest and after all it is part of our history, the Royal Observer Corps played a vital role in keeping this great country safe. This is my way of saying Thank you. Colin. Note to the moderators.... If you consider this passage inappropriate then feel free to remove.
Colin Walton

Wartime defences
mattash
Rugby
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12 of 53  Sun 7th Jul 2013 1:13pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:599

Hi Colin, it wasn't the one at Meriden was it? I worked on the one in Rugby, two ton blast door on it which you could move with your little finger. My son owns one in Norfolk, a small one. They all had a different time expectancy on them. My sons little one was 10 days, the one in Rugby 3wks. The powers that be reckoned if no one had rescued you within that time you were dead meat anyway. When the one in Rugby was being built, someone made a phone call to a far away place for a long time from the phone centre in the bunker. He got a shock when he was presented with a bill for quite a bit of money. He had not realised that all phone calls were taped for prosperity. Lol, no, it was not me, my gaffer (a good one) warned me about how the centre worked. Thumbs up
Wartime defences
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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13 of 53  Sun 7th Jul 2013 4:24pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2870

Hi RKid, Well, If only those walls could talk. Did it feel rather 'ghostly' for you. It would have for me but then I watch too many war time movies. Great memories you have there Wave
Wartime defences
Radford kid
Coventry
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14 of 53  Mon 8th Jul 2013 8:44am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:357

Thanks for the response to you both , John and Jo. In answer to your remarks re "was I scared" yes it was a bit scary more so because I was alone, pitch black, torch fading and a funny smell lol. I did visit the Meriden site but was never involved in any work there, it was well hidden, most of the work I did was near Rugby, did you ever go into the Rugby bunker John? And do you know if they are still around? Love to know. From what you said I take it the bunker was built well after the war? Nice to hear from you again John, Colin. Thumbs up
Colin Walton

Wartime defences
heritage
Bedworth
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15 of 53  Mon 8th Jul 2013 9:43am  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:374

I had a similar experience about 25 years ago. Two of us were working in the engine room of a Type 22 frigate during its build at the Yarrow shipyard in Glasgow when it suddenly went very dark. The only light came via a very long extension lead which had been removed when the shift had finished, forgetting there were Rolls Royce people still in the depths of the ship. Not a nice experience finding our way out in total darkness without breaking our necks.
Wartime defences

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