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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors – the bunker

Subterfuge: deceit, cunning, trickery, deception, bluff, craftiness. During World War 2, the southern coast of England was the target of German bombing. On Nare Head in Cornwall, this bunker is all that remains of a sophisticated decoy site, built to lure enemy attackers away from areas of strategic importance.

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Brits have always been good at devising cinematic special effects. A crew of four Naval intelligence officers controlled a set of flares and lights on the cliffs, ten miles to the east of the port of Falmouth. When the crew was alerted to an impending night bombing raid, they would activate the effects to simulate lights in the docks, railway tracks and stations, with explosions and fires from fake bombs. The German bombers would unload their bombs onto the mayhem, confident that they had hit the target.

The last time the system was activated was on the night of 30th/31st May 1944. By this stage in the war, British decoy sites had been attacked 786 times. Installations like this probably saved thousands of lives.

In 1962, during the Cold War, the site was converted into a deep survival bunker. In the event of a nuclear attack, three soldiers from the Royal Observer Corps had enough supplies to live for three weeks underground. They could monitor the levels of radiation during this period, but what would they have done when they emerged to a post-apocalyptic wilderness?

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Shop doorway in Portscatho