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If you have even a passing interest in civil defence and preparations for nuclear attack on the UK, you’ll quickly come across ROC posts. These are small, three-person bunkers, built by the government and manned by members of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC).

Known as ‘observers’, the mission of these civilian volunteers was to go to their monitoring post when nuclear attack was imminent, and detect and report the direction and power of any bomb blasts. Readings from several posts could be taken together to triangulate the precise location where a nuclear weapon had hit.

At one time, these tiny bunkers were dotted in a grid pattern across the landscape of the UK: by 1968, more than 1,500 had been constructed. However, many have now been lost – ploughed back into the land by the farmers on whose land they were built. (Others, like those at Portadown and Skelmorlie, have been restored and you can visit them for yourself on open days.)

I was recently lucky enough to come across a series of photos taken of the construction of a long-lost ROC post, the one at Hogs Back, near Guildford in Surrey.

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