Situated on the ancient Poundbury Hillfort, the Dorchester Royal Observer Corps (ROC) monitoring post has sat and taunted with its hatch securely barred shut & welded for more than a decade. Recently a lead appeared on 28dayslater noting that the bars had been cut and the post open. It was time to take a look.
After clearing the hatch opening of some of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen (I’m not proud, I hate them!) we descended in to the bunker. I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the bunker. Most ROC bunkers I have been in are either burnt out, used as drug dens, or both!
Some nice features remain, an (unused!) chemical toilet, boxes and mattresses stamped with the date 1959, but mostly, signs and paperwork. The Royal Observer Corps members, situated in 1,563 bunkers throughout the UK were tasked with detecting, tracking and reporting aircraft over Britain and with the threat of nuclear war the ROC would have been responsible for giving the UK public the infamous “four-minute warning” and monitoring any possible fallout from a nuclear attack. The ROC posts were approximately 7-8 miles apart and would report to a Group HQ. Dorchester’s group headquarters was in Yeovil (now demolished) and there are reminders of such with the Yeovil telephone number colourfully drawn on a piece of paper like a school child’s art project, they must have got bored down there!
I’m glad I finally got to see inside Dorchester ROC, and hopefully this newly opened bunker won’t succumb to mindless vandalism & theft like so many before it.