Bunker unveils Cold War secrets
A RELIC of the Cold War era is being restored in a rural area of the Harborough district.
Thomas Vaughan, a self-employed test driver who lives in Hallaton, is attempting to restore the bunker to its original state and has been working on the project since 2010.
The Mail has agreed not to reveal the bunker’s location to prevent vandalism or the equipment inside being stolen, which has happened at other bunker sites in the country.
The 35-year-old’s interest in bunkers started at an early age when his father, who also has a keen interest in Second World War and Cold War history, would take him to bunkers and museums.
Mr Vaughan has been travelling around the country visiting restored and deserted bunkers since he returned from Spain five years ago, where he had been working as an aerial photographer.
In 2010, Mr Vaughan started researching bunkers in the area to see if there were any he could restore.
He found a Cold War bunker in the Harborough countryside and approached the farmer who owned the land and he agreed to let Mr Vaughan start work.
Mr Vaughan said: “I feel it is a shame that these parts of history are left just to decay or get vandalised and destroyed.”
He has so far repainted the bunker, fixed locks and other vandalised fixtures, and repaired flood damage.
The site is on private property and there are no plans for it to be open to the public.
The bunker was used in the Cold War as a monitoring post for the Royal Observers Corps. It was opened in 1958 to survey Soviet missiles to give people living in the region a four-minute warning if a bomb was to be dropped.
The bunker is about 20ft underground and roughly the size of a small kitchen. Access is via a hatch, lowering yourself down a ladder in a narrow, dark shaft.
It was designed for three people and leftovers from the 1950s era include clipboards and files, an asbestos fire blanket, a Bombardier ashtray and pots and pans.
There are several cardboard tubes of Glitto cleaning powder – ‘with bleach, kills germs, removes stains’.
Many bunkers similar to this have been destroyed, vandalised or fallen into disrepair over the years.
Mr Vaughan is being helped by friends and some of the men who used to man the bunker until 1991 when it was closed.
He is also working on a Second World War observation post used for spotting aircraft in the same area as the bunker to restore that to its original state.
With some patriotic pomp, a wooden shelf beam in the brick observatory has etched upon it: “There Will Always Be An England.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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