Following the end of WW II in 1945, it became clear than any harmony between the Western occupying powers (the Americans, French and the British) and their Eastern “ally”, the Soviet Union, was illusionary. Stalin systematically set out to establish communism as a dominant force in Eastern Europe through a policy of occupation and repression. Attempts by the West to establish a planned route to a free Europe at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945 proved futile and, by 1946, the battle lines were being drawn for the next major War, the Cold War – a war of ideologies (Capitalism vs Communism) which was to last until the disintegration of the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Union from 1991.

How Close We Came to Nuclear War

Come along and listen to our Cold War Presentation as it will reveal the functionality and role of Neatishead and how close we came to nuclear war.



“RAF Neatishead is unique in being able to represent the changes to Britain’s air defence policy throughout the Cold War until the present day.

Many of the buildings on site are of special interest. They form a significant group of little altered contemporary structures which clearly reflect their function and Neatishead’s place as the longest continuously occupied radar station in Britain, and probably the world.

The R30 operations room at RAF Neatishead is a uniquely intact electronic ‘frontline’ from the Cold War of international importance. It reflects the ‘tripwire response’ under the Linesman scheme to update Britain’s radar defences and is a time capsule of 1970s computer technology. The building is an imposing and significant element of the radar station.”  

Quoted from Historic England

The clocks in the Cold War Operations Room depict two different times, Local (L) and Zulu (Z).  Local time changes with the seasons such as British Summer Time, and around the world depending in which international time zone you are in.  Zulu time however, or Greenwich Mean Time, is constant and is used in aviation and by NATO forces on operations around the world.

Below one of these clocks is the ‘Ringo’ panel, a RAF wide system used to display the current National or NATO alert measure.  One of several alert measures that can be displayed is ‘Survival (Scramble) 25’.  This would be triggered by the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System in response to the detection of a Soviet Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile attack against the UK.  ‘Survival 25’ is an immediate order for all aircraft to ‘Scramble’ to prevent them from being caught on the ground by a nuclear strike.  Nuclear armed bombers that survived the strike would be used to retaliate in kind!

To learn more join our talk. The talks given throughout the day. The times will be announced over the tannoy.

Neatishead cold war room clock


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