Cold War discovery in Arborfield given warm welcome

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Cold War bunker ACRR
The Cold War monitoring post uncovered by Wessex Archaeology

A Cold War relic uncovered by archaeologists in Wokingham is to be the proposed site of a tribute to members of the Arborfield Royal Observer Corps.

The 20th century underground monitoring post was discovered last month by members of Wessex Archaeology. The group came across the historical interest while working on behalf of Balfour Beatty as part of Wokingham Borough Council’s £124 million Major Highways Project.

The artefact is thought to have been used from 1961-1968 as part of a network of 1,564 other monitoring posts positioned in preparation for a nuclear strike during the Cold War. And this unique station is one of the few to have escaped demolishment.

Dr Bob Clarke, a senior research manager at Wessex Archaeology and an expert in the period, said: “It’s an extraordinary find as many of the sites connected with the Cold War are still secret.”

To celebrate the revelation, Wokingham Borough Council is working closely with Arborfield Local History Society on plans to install a memorial stone in dedication to those who represented the town during the Cold War.

Project Manager of the Arborfield Cross Relief Major Highways Project Jay Judge said: “This is a fascinating find and we welcome the opportunity to work with the Arborfield Local History Society to pay tribute to the brave volunteers of the Arborfield Royal Observer Corps”.

Diana Thorne, a retired teacher and an active member of the Arborfield Local History Society, added: “We are keen to honour the local men who were volunteer members of the Arborfield Royal Observer Corps.”

Mrs Thorne, who has lived in Arborfield for 30 years, has received full support for the memorial from the Royal Observer Corps Heritage Group as well as Arborfield and Newland Parish Council.

For further information about the Arborfield Cross Relief Road project log on to  www.wokingham.gov.uk/roadworks-and-outdoor-maintenance/major-new-roads/  

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Ruth Wise

What is demolishment? Try demolition!