The Royal Observer Corps - Cold War films

#1
Bit of a blast from the past and what if films of the 1980's ( remember the 4 minute warning and DEFCON 2 ) well heres some great footage of the Royal Observer Corps and the recruitment film - Forewarned is forearmed.

Just to set the scene - imagine yourself back in the 1980's - your sitting comfortably at home in England watching tv - when suddenly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1GqzosWoVc&mode=related&search=

The east - west Cold war tension between the NATO and the Warsaw Pact turns hot - the balloon goes up, diplomacy has failed and the United States moves to DEFCON 2 with Soviet rocket troops poised in their ICBM silos in the Soviet Union - our brave boys and girls of the Royal Observer Corps will be having their final briefing at the village pub ( the local Rose & Crown ) before bidding final farewells to loved ones and departing to their underground ROC Posts ( 3 man bunkers ) in some lonely windswept field somewhere in England.

The survival film - Sound an alarm - shown in six parts:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsCJMYgFNuU&mode=related&search=

The Royal Observer Corps in action -

Forewarned is forearmed - part one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJpJgQpE1H4

Forewarned is forearmed - part two:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O9dxx7RBP0

It all looks so very unreal now - but its a sobering thought to think what might have happened in the timewarp world of the parallel universe of the 1980's.
 
#2
Looking back it's hard to believe that we actually went about our lives relatively normally. I remember watching the BBC drama Threads and it scaring the shite out of me. Linky for those too young.
 
#3
ROCpostman said:
Bit of a blast from the past and what if films of the 1980's ( remember the 4 minute warning and DEFCON 2 ) well heres some great footage of the Royal Observer Corps and the recruitment film - Forewarned is forearmed.

Just to set the scene - imagine yourself back in the 1980's - your sitting comfortably at home in England watching tv - when suddenly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1GqzosWoVc&mode=related&search=
That put shivers down my spine remembering that. Thanks!
 
#4
Always had an interest in the ROC.

We should bring CD back, could help in floods and all the rest of the stuff we have now.
 
#5
smartascarrots said:
Looking back it's hard to believe that we actually went about our lives relatively normally. I remember watching the BBC drama Threads and it scaring the shite out of me. Linky for those too young.
You mean this one Carrots? youtube
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#6
ROCpostman said:
Just to set the scene - imagine yourself back in the 1980's - your sitting comfortably at home in England watching tv - when suddenly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1GqzosWoVc&mode=related&search=
Nice fake/spoof. Interesting use of contempary graphics over archive adverts. I don't think the S tones from the WB1400 carrier system would be broadcast on a live TV alert somehow.

There were TV warnings, but this definately isn't one of them.
 
#7
fozzy said:
ROCpostman said:
Just to set the scene - imagine yourself back in the 1980's - your sitting comfortably at home in England watching tv - when suddenly:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1GqzosWoVc&mode=related&search=
Nice fake/spoof. Interesting use of contempary graphics over archive adverts. I don't think the S tones from the WB1400 carrier system would be broadcast on a live TV alert somehow.

There were TV warnings, but this definately isn't one of them.

ROCpostman said:
Bit of a blast from the past and what if films of the 1980's ( remember the 4 minute warning and DEFCON 2 ) well heres some great footage of the Royal Observer Corps and the recruitment film - Forewarned is forearmed.

So which part of that did you not read?
 
#9
Went in a very rural three-man bunker only the other week (looking for a missing kid from nearby). Only reason was because, in 1979, one of my Plod jobs was to make sure all the locks were sound, and test the tone carrier at the nick along with the sirens weekly. It was never common knowledge where all the Observation Posts were, even then. Amazed that I found it again, first time, after all those years.

Took some young coppers this time, partly because they never believed the ROC stuff when I told it, the stuff of fantasies to them.

As a youngster, it was the era we were living through and we knew no different, Protect & Survive, etc. Nowadays, well, when I came out I had to sit and have a quiet think.

Y'see, the ROC's families houses were undoubtedly within their arcs, and there were only twelve bunks in the nearest Regional Centre of Government ................ population about 250,000.

The ROC really did have a sense of duty.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#10
My missus (being a nuclear physicist) was a county finger-in-the-air bunker-officer when-it-goes-boom pre 1990. She remembers a training course where she asked the Emperors clothes question - Who goes out to fetch the samples afterwards?....
 
#11
MadKev said:
Y'see, the ROC's families houses were undoubtedly within their arcs, and there were only twelve bunks in the nearest Regional Centre of Government ................ population about 250,000.
This is the factor that finally dissuaded me from joining the ROC in the early 80s. All the recruiting material showed people who were either very young (17-22, say) or middle-aged. I was 30 or so, with a wife and young son. I didn't feel I could leave them to take their chances while I sat in a bunker - I assume the younger/older types might have had their own reasons for feeling less attached to their families.
 
#12
Shandy said:
MadKev said:
Y'see, the ROC's families houses were undoubtedly within their arcs, and there were only twelve bunks in the nearest Regional Centre of Government ................ population about 250,000.
This is the factor that finally dissuaded me from joining the ROC in the early 80s. All the recruiting material showed people who were either very young (17-22, say) or middle-aged. I was 30 or so, with a wife and young son. I didn't feel I could leave them to take their chances while I sat in a bunker - I assume the younger/older types might have had their own reasons for feeling less attached to their families.
Papa Gravelbelly came out after 22 and joined the ROC as permanent staff; so I'd have been one of those families... but then, who believed that BAOR families would all have been evacuated by the time the "transition to war" phase finished?

(Mildly amusing was seeing him disappear off to Cranwell on a PQO course, having finished said 22 as a WO2.... he ended up on a course with the busload of nurses, lucky sod, but because of the weird way the ROC was set up, got "course attended" rather than an RAF commission)

The theory for the ROC posts was (IIRC) that there would be three shifts per post, one inside at a time. The two shifts who were left outside would have looked out for the families of the the shift inside.

You can find a fairly comprehensive database of ROC posts at the Subterranea Britannica website.
 
#13
Gravelbelly said:
Shandy said:
MadKev said:
Y'see, the ROC's families houses were undoubtedly within their arcs, and there were only twelve bunks in the nearest Regional Centre of Government ................ population about 250,000.
This is the factor that finally dissuaded me from joining the ROC in the early 80s. All the recruiting material showed people who were either very young (17-22, say) or middle-aged. I was 30 or so, with a wife and young son. I didn't feel I could leave them to take their chances while I sat in a bunker - I assume the younger/older types might have had their own reasons for feeling less attached to their families.
The theory for the ROC posts was (IIRC) that there would be three shifts per post, one inside at a time. The two shifts who were left outside would have looked out for the families of the the shift inside.
Hmmm, don't recall that mutual support thing being mentioned. Perhaps, like Papa Gravelbelly, it would have helped to have a Service background, with (I suppose) a grounding in having sufficient trust in your mates to contemplate leaving your family in their care. When it comes down to it, my life hasn't encouraged that approach in me. Must be a civvy thing, I suppose.
 
#14
Gravelbelly said:
You can find a fairly comprehensive database of ROC posts at the Subterranea Britannica website.
Excellent link. I found Papa CLCs post. He still has a shilouette book in the house (he left before the Nuclear Era got going so to speak). I must quiz him about what he thought about it.

I vividly rememember the ROC wreath party standing near my Boys Brigade party on remebrance parade. Particularly memorable as the senior observer chap was the father of school friend.
 
#15
smartascarrots said:
Looking back it's hard to believe that we actually went about our lives relatively normally. I remember watching the BBC drama Threads and it scaring the shite out of me. Linky for those too young.
Indeed it is wierd to look back and realise just how close to the brink things could get. 1983 was the year apparently according to this 2004 news article, Armageddon

Who knows but I guess if the current set of leaders were in place back 25 years ago I think we would all be living in caves...

Still a shocker to consider how things have changed, but as always the younger generatiosn do not see the relevance.
 
#16
I remember back in the 70's and early 80's in Oldham they used to test the air raid sirens on a weekly or monthly basis., I think from a couple of the local mills. Ok I was only a kid and didn't really know what it was for then.

does anybody else remember this happening?
 
#17
There were sirens on the roofs of two schools I attended in North Yorkshire in the 60s and 70s, both tested weekly.

An uncle of mine had a pub on the Moors near Ripon, and there was an ROC squawkbox in the kitchen, which emitted regular 'pips'. It was still there when he sold up in the late 90s, though no longer working.
 
#18
always thought the roc was a bit pointless lets face it 3 good size nukes and uk was out of the game for good :(
better off dieing gloriously against 3rd shock army
 
#19
Aye, I remember Threads vividly, as it scared the shyte out of me just before I joined up. So did this: The Day After. I think it's safe to say - as anyone who's read detailed accounts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will undoubtedly testify - that several high yield devices would've reduced the UK to a glass car park, and that the young Felize - suitably clad in Mk3 suit and S6 in his super sangar - would've been reduced to the contents of a Hoover bag.
 

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