Site Name: Plymouth Maritime Headquarters
|Army Command and District HQ's|
|Adjacent US Army/Navy HQ's|
|Surrounding naval Sub HQ's|
|Combined HQ's Portsmouth/Western Approaches|
|RAF Command & Group HQ's|
|RAF SW & NW Switching Centres|
|Trafalgar & Rotunda SAC exchanges in London|
|Government Communications Centres at Cheltenham/Bletchley Park|
|US Transportation Centre, Plymouth|
|SW Airfields, Radar & Radios Stations|
|City & County Police/Fire/Civil Defence Controls|
A period service Telephone Exchange (not Mounr Wise)
|Following the successful Invasion of
Europe and the cessation of hostilities the main
Bunker continued as HQ C in C Plymouth.At the end of the war, No 15 Group, RAF Coastal Command was disbanded on 1st April
1945 and when the second and last C in C, Western Approaches, Admiral Sir Max Horton retired on 15th August 1945. Western Approaches ceased to exist as a separate command with the function, if not the title, returning to the C in C Plymouth. The Tactical School also closed.
On 4th April 1949 NATO was formed, one result of which, was the UK, C in C, Plymouth. becoming double hatted as NATO, C in C, Eastern Atlantic. Which roughly corresponded to the old western approaches area.
In 1951, while the C in C, Plymouth and his staff were fully occupied implementing the new NATO commitments, Captain G Roberts. RN, the officer responsible for the setting up and running of the Western Approaches Tactical School at Exchange Buildings, adjacent to Derby House, was sent for, to evaluate, update and re-organise the Mount Wise HQ, now entitled 'Maritime HQ, for its new expanded duties.
In 1955 some blast protection was added to the entrances and ventilators.
From 1951 to at least 1961, Mount Wise, was HQ of C in C Plymouth in both of his roles and contained the following elements:
Joint Operations Room
Upper Floor (glass fronted cabins)
The roof of the MHQ provided an aerial farm for many antennae and
a direct microwave link
The location and manning of the Intelligence Office raised several problems, not the least of which was the shortage of experienced officers for intelligence work. With the authority of the Admiralty, Roberts recruited RN Volunteer (Special) Reserve [RNV(S)R] officers with war experience together with senior and junior rates to provide a fully trained staff to man the HQ during any emergency, resulting in Roberts being appointed 'Captain RNR' in charge of Maritime Headquarters Reserve, HMS Vivid.
The Joint Operations Room in 2004 - note the similarity to the MRCC. Photo by Nick Catford (click to enlarge)
For further information and pictures of Mount Wise click here
© 2005 Subterranea Britannica