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RAF NEWCASTLE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  RAF BLAKELAW, REGION 1 WAR ROOM, HEADQUARTERS 13 GROUP RAF FIGHTER COMMAND
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A Second World War military headquarters complex, including a bunker, later refitted as a Cold War military headquarters, situated at Kenton Bar. The site is also referred to as "RAF Newcastle" and "RAF Blakelaw" in different sources, the latter may actually be the nomenclature for the site at the end of the war. Constructed in 1939, this was the wartime headquarters of No 13 Group Royal Air Force Fighter Command at Kenton Bar from 1940-1944. The complex included a subterranean operations block bunker built in the central/eastern part of the site: This consisted of operations and communications rooms, rest rooms and mess rooms. 13 Group were responsible for England north of the Humber and for all of Scotland during the Battle of Britain, although this area was much less hard pressed than 12 Group and above all 11 Group to the south. After the Battle of Britain a further bunker was built on a different site at Blakelaw Quarry which acted as a "Filter Room" to proccess intelligence to pass back to the main coperations centre. The Second World War headquarters complex at Kenton Bar also had ancilliary surface buildings such as: an electricity station on the western edge of the site, a "NAAFI" canteen to the north; hutted barracks quarters for Womens Auxilliary Air Force personnel (WAAFs) in the central area of the site; an air raid shelter and decontamination centre in the southern part of the site. During the Cold War, specifically in the mid 1950s, the operations block bunker was converted to use as "Region 1 Regional War Room". This is thought to have closed about 1960, as the strategy to cope with potential effects of Soviet nuclear attack changed. The bunker is extant but the surface buildings are no longer extant. The site is now (2010) occupied by government offices.

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