A Very Quick Look at Cold War UK Civil Defence

This post have a quick look at the United Kingdoms recent historical Civil Defence arrangements.

With the papers of the so called War Book finally coming to public eye, it really makes a sense of how serious the threat was taken.

Below are the official steps to war that the British government would have used in the case of a global emergency or a war footing.

UK Transition to War  circa 1950/80

1

Closure of schools, colleges and universities.

2

Hospitals being cleared for casualties. (probably would have causalities from theatre of engagement).

3

Motorways closed to civilian traffic.

4

Normal television and radio broadcasts suspended.

5

Non-essential telephone lines disconnected. (e.g 7/7 attacks on London the Mobile Phone network was shut down in Central London).

6

Civil rights could be suspended as the result of Parliament passing an Emergency Powers Act.

7

Restrictions on electricity for advertising and display. Government may order sports stadiums, theatres, cinemas, art galleries and certain premises to close.

8

Government controls private aircraft, ferries and other shipping. Normal railway services are suspended and trains commandeered, buses and coaches requisitioned.

9

Absenteeism in many companies and workplaces.

10

Gas, electricity and water supplies disconnected. Petrol and diesel supplies rationed for Military and Civil governmental use.

11

Police leave cancelled.

12

Press reporting restrictions are imposed, along with Postal censorship.

13

Fire engines and ambulances are deployed outside of towns & cities.

14

Borders, ports and airports are closed to the public.

15

Noted artworks taken into storage

” 2012 update – following a freedom of information request it appears that NAWS is no longer a key player on the Civil Defence front. “the nature of the risks we face and technological developments mean that it is no longer an indispensable part of our civil protection infrastructure and robust warnings can be delivered in other ways”. In reality this is because the TV and Radio are limited in warning ability and it is an analogue system not digital (where analogue TV is now defunct and analogue radio may be in the next 5-10 years). But … it is still part of our “civil protection infrastructure”. ( credit goes to Civil Defence today for this information)”

A few chilling videos!

Protect and Survive

TV excerpt using BBC official statements in case of an attack.

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