Bunkers, and Subterranean Musings


Royal Observer Corps Observation Bunkers


Several hundred underground nuclear observation bunkers were constructed during the Cold War, and manned by members of the Royal Observer Corps. Although administered by the RAF, the ROC consisted mainly of civilian volunteers. It would have been their job, amongst other things, to monitor the strength and locations of any detonations in the event of a nuclear war breaking out.

These links take you to pages containing pictures of some of the sites I have visited.

Kettering R.O.C. Bunker Earls Barton R.O.C. Bunker
Olney R.O.C. Bunker Whitchurch R.O.C. Bunker
Lutterworth R.O.C. Bunker Wolston R.O.C. Bunker
Napton R.O.C. Bunker Clipston R.O.C. Bunker
Cheddington R.O.C. Bunker Abergavenny R.O.C. Bunker
Group 8 R.O.C. Headquarters

Brief History of the ROC

External Links Page

Places to Visit


Wellingborough Civil Defence Headquarters

When a new fire and ambulance station was built in Wellingborough during the early 1960s included in the design was a purpose-built Civil Defense HQ in the reinforced and protected basement.


Kelmarsh National Pipeline Terminal

There are at least two national pipelines carrying aviation fuel and other volatile chemicals around the UK. One of them passes close to Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire and a hillside there is home to one of the terminal sites where some of these chemicals are stored in tanks and/or routed onwards. Click this link to take a look.


RAF Harrington - Thor Missile Launch Pads

During the early sixties the UK's nuclear deterrent was in the form of Thor missiles. These were situated at a number of RAF stations including RAF Harrington in Northamptonshire. To have a look at these today click this link.


RAF Polebrook - Battle HQ

RAF Polebrook in Cambridgeshire was used by the USAF as a bomber station during the Second World War.
After that it was used by the RAF as a base for launching Thor missiles.
Now long-since decommissioned many artefacts remain of it's former use, including the Battle HQ. To have a look at these today click this link.


Mystery Bunker?


The following two pictures are something of a mystery to me. They show an underground construction between Wellingborough and Irthlingborough. There is a covered yet ventilated mound and what looks like a large concrete entrance.

[Irthlingborough Mystery Bunker]

A barred gate prevents access from the road. The mound lies beyond the entrance block. You may be able to make-out an air-vent on the mound. Inside the gate there is a large concrete apron, with room for several large trucks to park.

This appears to be the only way in, other than by digging. There is another air-vent to the right of the block which suggests there is a tunnel of some sort from the block to the mound.

[Irthlingborough Mystery Bunker]

My current thinking tends towards something to do with the waterworks about a mile away - perhaps some underground pumping equipment? I'd have expected some sort of sign or notice identifying it though. I've emailed Anglian Water Authority and asked them whether it's anything to do with them - no answer as yet.

Another suggestion is that it is a sealed-up air raid shelter from the World War II and may have been sited near a decoy airfield.

There are no identifying signs and all attempts to locate any reference to it anywhere have failed. It is located next to the B571 road between Wellingborough and Irthlingborough, in Northants. Ordnance Survey grid reference SP912685.

If anyone has any suggestions or knows what this is then I'd appreciate an email.


Kettering R.O.C. Bunker
Earls Barton R.O.C. Bunker
Olney R.O.C. Bunker
Whitchurch R.O.C. Bunker
Lutterworth R.O.C. Bunker
Wolston R.O.C. Bunker
Napton R.O.C. Bunker
Clipston R.O.C. Bunker
Cheddington R.O.C. Bunker
Abergavenny R.O.C. Bunker
Group 8 R.O.C. Headquarters
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Copyright (c)1999-2001 Gary Marden (10 February 2001)