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Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:13 pm
by 10680
Following from my comment on the Burma Spitfire topic.

Kingstanding on Ashdown Forest was used for transmitting Black Propaganda.

It had at the time the most powerful transmitter in the world named Aspidistra or Aspi. (from Gracie Fields - The Biggest Aspidistra in the World).

The studio was, I think, in Hertfordshire.

When there was an RAF bombing raid and power was cut in the area the transmitter could be switched on almost simultaneously so that listeners thought they were still listening to the native station. To see if people were listening, they would put items in such as take your blankets and warm clothes to your nearest police station for our brave lads on the Eastern Front. Agents would monitor if this happened.
Derogatory comments about German leaders would be broadcast and on one occasion they broadcast (acted out) the Gestapo breaking in to the studio whilst on air and arresting them - the broadcast abruptly ending. The tape accidentally got broadcast a second time but no-one appears to have noticed. Fictitious networks such as Atlantiksender were broadcast to the armed forces.

After the war it was used by the Diplomatic Wireless Service.

The WW2 bunker was enlarged as a Regional Seat of Government complete with BBC studio. The emergency generators used to be regularly run up.

Sussex Police bought the site (for radio communications) but found it was a SSI and couldn’t develop it. They use it for riot practice, emergency planning etc.

Many of the WWII building were designed by a cinema designer in Art Deco style.
It’s a fascinating site.

Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:28 pm
by Kermit
How fascinating ! Is it ever open to the public ? Would certainly love to see all that.....

Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:18 pm
by 10680
Kermit wrote:How fascinating ! Is it ever open to the public ? Would certainly love to see all that.....


They do/did do tours for groups (that's how I went 'round). I'll see what I can find out.

Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:19 pm
by Xplumberlives
So that's what I missed! ;)

Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding - Photos added

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 2:47 pm
by 10680
Kermit wrote:How fascinating ! Is it ever open to the public ? Would certainly love to see all that.....


I went on a tour yesterday. There has beeen an exhibition nearby for the 70th anniverasary of the original bunker and the visits were a tie-in, although you can do still tours at other times.

I have the contact details - if there is enough interest I could arrange a tour. Would probably be a mid-week evening.

I will post some photos later.

Here's one of the entrance to the nuclear bunker.

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Original entrance to WWII bunker

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Pools for cooling water on top of generator building.

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Building for frequency switching. Guarded by Dartmoor Pony.

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Another view of WWII bunker. Note (shadow of) wavy roof - so designed to camouflage on aerial photographs.

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This one (lockable) tap was the only source of drinking water in the nuclear bunker.

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Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:16 am
by Aceyone
Fascinating.I'd be up for a tour if possible :)

Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:41 am
by 10680
Aceyone wrote:Fascinating.I'd be up for a tour if possible :)


Anyone else?

Re: Black Propaganda - Kingstanding

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:29 pm
by 10680