Royal Observer Corps, Veryan Bunkers near Carne and Pendower
The twentieth century was a busy time as far as military operations were concerned. Up on a quiet headland on the south coast of Cornwall a dedicated bunch were doing their bit for Queen and country.
In January 1940 the first above ground reporting post was set up on the windswept location on Nare Head, near Veryan and Carne.
Carne Beacon is considered very special to local people, so it didn't go without some protest. But the small team did an important job during the second world war, manning their post 24 hours a day, tracking, identifying and reporting all aircarft sitings.
After the war ended the corps was stood down briefly, but two years later was reformed due to the perceived threat of low level intruders attacking our shores from Russia. In 1953 it was given a new role of detecting and reporting nuclear attacks as part of the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation, leading to operations being based underground. The aircraft reporting role more or less disapeared by this time.
In 1963 the underground post was opened to observe nuclear bursts and to monitor radioactive fallout. It is a metre below ground, just five by three metres in size and able to protect its inhabitants from radiation by a factor of 1000. The post continued to operate into the 1980s, with regular exercises and training meetings.
You can take a look down into the bunker when Lawrence Holmes and the team open it up on selected dates throughout the year. Listen to him tell of his experiences in the Royal Observer Corps and hear what it would have been like to work in such a place.