It was the early 1980’s when the peace protesters planned their assault. The aim was to attack one the ‘key’ components of Britain’s nuclear arsenal, a regional government wartime headquarters. Their aim was to enter when the Air Observer Corps were starting an evening training session, overwhelm the few who arrived early and enter the bunker. Inside they would ‘trash’ the bunker and on the way out, they would put stones through the windows of the cars of the militaristic Air Observer Corps parked outside. The assault was planned with military precision, include hoax phone calls to distract the police and delay the police response.
The Monday evening arrived and the peace protesters moved silently across the fields. They had formed up in the layby used for the odd visitor to the adjacent historical battlefield. A voice challenged them in the dark as they approached the entrance to the bunker. They charged towards the blast doors, stumbling in the dark. They were moments away from their objective.
Unfortunately, that evening the Air Observer Corps were present in force. All three crews were assembled, 450 in all, plus a contingent of the RAF Regiment. The intruder alert came out on the bunker tannoy and there was a rush outside. The Observers lined up and marched across the somewhat surprised peace protesters. Unfortunately, the odd peace protester person might have stumbled in the dark and might have hurt themselves in their panic. Apparently the RAF Regiment tried to intervene in the chaos, but someone in civilian clothes told them to ‘get lost’ and take a smoke break round the back of the bunker.
The police and ambulances arrived to find a lot of peace protesters who claimed they had been assaulted in the dark by hundreds of people. However, when they approached the bunker, the only person they could see was an elderly caretaker who said no-one was in the bunker and anyway, anyone could see only a few people could fit it inside (most bunkers are small on the surface). The blast doors were shut and he did not have a key. Eventually, the police left, somewhat bemused.
With hindsight, it was interesting to note that by sheer chance the protesters choose to assault the bunker on the rare occasions it was fully crewed. One wonders who suggested the assault and that date to them. Surely, Special Branch had not set the peace protesters up?
Some of the cold war was grim, but some of it was funny.