“The Cold War in The Brecks” project has now been completed. It was generously supported by £9,400 of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The final 48 page report has now been printed. While stocks last, free copies may be collected from:
- Ceres Bookshop, Swaffham
- Swaffham Museum
- Mildenhall Museum
- Ancient House Museum, Thetford
- Aviation Heritage Centre, RAF Marham
- Brandon Heritage Centre
- Watton Museum
But you need to be quick – they’re flying off the shelves.
You can also download a PDF version HERE.
Our Facebook Group remains open for minor updates.
This web page is the ‘gateway’ to much of the material gathered by our volunteers during the project. We suggest that you read the report first and then browse the various categories below and download any material that you wish.
These pages don’t attempt to present a coherent narrative on each particular subject; they are simply collections of photographs, text and links to other web pages. Items are in a mixture of formats – JPG images, PDF documents etc. Some have been given long descriptive names so that the casual visitor can easily see what is present, especially when sorted alphabetically. Some documents and images contain Copyright information (in the case of images, this is in the Metadata); if you wish to reuse any Copyright item, you must obtain permission from the owner, and acknowledge the Copyright.
Unfortunately, we were not able to retain the photographs of the several hundred fascinating newspaper cuttings came from the Archant Archive in Norwich (whose assistance we gratefully acknowledge) for copyright reasons, but a summary of the ‘best’ of these will be available soon.
Many oral history interviews were recorded, and extracts are included in the final report. We did not make full verbatim transcripts, and we have initially not made the audio files available, so as to protect the privacy of the interviewees. If individual interviewees give their permission, we may do so at a later date.
- Protest – CND, Snowball and other movements, and protests at specific bases
- Thor – Missiles In the Brecks, including copies of Rocket Review internal newspaper.
- ROC – Royal Observer Corps
- Barnham – Nuclear Bomb Store
- Spy planes at Mildenhall – The SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ and others
- British Nuclear Weapons
- Publications – including Government leaflets
Useful Sources for Further Investigation
- USAF Historical Research Agency
- The East Anglia Film Archive at UEA
- Archant’s EDP Archive project – Local Recall
- Airfield Research Group. Their extensive archive is based at Alconbury, just north of Huntingdon. Archivist is Paul Bellamy. Can be visited by prior arrangement.
- Cold War East Anglia Facebook page
- ‘Cold War. Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989‘ Cocroft & Thomas. Historic England. ISBN: 978-1-873592-81-6
- ‘Cold War East Anglia‘ Jim Wilson. The History Press. ISBN: 978-0-7509-5638-3
- ‘Launch Pad UK. Britain And The Cuban Missile Crisis‘ Jim Wilson. Pen & Sword. ISBN-10: 1473886651
- ‘The Red Atlas. How The Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World‘. Davies & Kent. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0-226-38957-8
- ‘Churchill’s Bomb‘ Graham Farmelo. Faber & Faber. ISBN: …………………………………..
- ‘Thor Ballistic Missile: The United States and the United Kingdom in Partnership‘. John Boyes. Fonthill Media. ISBN-10: 1781554811
Some of our volunteers in front of a local protest banner from the early 1980s.
During the project, we located a large amount of relevant online material which adds interest and detail to the overall story of the Cold War in our area. Live URL links to these are provided wherever possible.
EAFA = East Anglia Film Archive
IWM = Imperial War Museum
RAF and USAF Bases
- 1970 – USAF operations at Mildenhall (EAFA)
- 1976 – RAF Marham bombing competition (EAFA)
- 1978 – Expansion of USAF bases (EAFA)
- 1996 – RAF safety training video featuring Windsor Davies. Filmed at RAF Marham, shows how the Hardened Aircraft Shelters were used. Has good views of the interiors.
- Edexcel Cold War guides on BBC Bitesize
Origins – 1941-1958
Crises – 1958-1970
Reducing tension – 1972-1991
- 2015 – Rosie Snell’s personal recollections of the UEA ‘Cold War Anglia’ Project
- 2018 – Author Jim Wilson discusses what nuclear war would have meant for the region (EDP feature)
- 2019 – Retrospective Daily Mail article looks back at the Cold War period. Lots of excellent pictures of the CW era hardware.
- 2019 – Video ‘Cold War East Anglia – The Front Line’ 1h:20m Produced by Wattisham Heritage Museum. Available to stream (£3.50) online