The Cold War Story of the Royal Observer Corps
"A wonderful record of a part of the Cold War virtually unknown to the general public."
"...extremely interesting, great to remember the ROC."
"...a comprehensive and important document on the history of the Corps."
The Royal Observer Corps, its network of underground bunkers and
the valuable work of its thousands of trained Observers are the subject of a programme completed in Summer
Formed in 1925 as the Observer Corps, the role of the Corps was
to give an early warning of the airborne attack of London. This network of aircraft observation posts was gradually
expanded, and in World War II aided with aircraft tracking in the Battle of Britain, and saved many lives through
their early warnings of attack. This work earned the Corps its Royal title from 1941.
Stood down at the end of the war, the Corps was reformed in 1947
when the risk of attack seemed to have increased again, this time from Russia. In some parts of the country their
aircraft spotting and tracking role continued from then well into the 60s, but in 1955 the foremost task of the
Royal Observer Corps was changed.
From 1955 until 1991, had the UK come under nuclear attack, the
small 3-man "ROC Posts" were designed to monitor nuclear bursts and subsequent fall-out.
Reporting the data to the United Kingdom Warning &
Monitoring Organisation, their valuable information would have helped construct a picture of the effects on the
country and been used to assist the survivors.
In this programme we tell the story of the Corps through the
eyes of the Observers:
What was involved with being a member of the Corps?
How did it feel to be part of a crew?
Did we ever come close to being involved in a nuclear attack?