Site Name: Wilton Park (Beaconsfield): Eastern Command War Headquarters & AFHQ 5
Sub Brit site visit 8th March 2005
[Source: Nick Catford]
BRIEF HISTORY OF WILTON PARK
Initially the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) was established within the Tower of London, moving to Trent Park at Cockfosters in North London in December 1939. With the increasing number of POW's passing through the interrogation system, two additional camps were proposed, one at Wilton Park (Camp 300) and the other at Latimer, also near Beaconsfield.
At Wilton Park the 'White House' the three storey Palladian mansion built in 1779 by Josias Du Pre, the former governor of Madras was turned into an officers' mess for staff and interrogators.
The CSDIC closed at the end of 1945 with most POW's being repatriated or moved to other camps. Wilton Park was then taken over by the Foreign Office becoming a centre for the de-Nazification of German POW's. In 1949/50 the estate became the home of the Army School of Administration with the Army School of Education moving on to the site in April 1950. Shortly afterwards the Foreign Office moved to a new location, taking the name Wilton Park, to Steyning in Sussex. During the 1960's three language wings were established at the school with Libya's Colonel Geddaffi studying there in the late 1960's.
EASTERN COMMAND WAR HEADQUARTERS &
With the ever increasing threat of a nuclear strike from the Soviet
Union there was a proposal in 1951 to provide protected accommodation
for the five army commands. In addition protected accommodation on a
smaller scale was to be built at the Army District and Sub-District
Despite these proposals only one bunker was built; priority was given
to Eastern Command which covered London, Aldershot and South East Districts.
In 1954 a single storey surface blockhouse was built at Wilton Park
as the War Headquarters for Eastern Command which was relocated there
from Hounslow Barracks which was within the London target area. The
bunker also accommodated the London District War HQ and Communication
Aerial photograph of Wilton Park in 1968 - by this date the White House had been demolished but the Nissen hutted camp was still intact. The bunker can be seen middle right below the tall chimney.
Reproduced with kind permission of Simmons Aerofilms Ltd.
Protected accommodation was also proposed for the other Districts
in Eastern Command but the proposed joint civil/military HQ scheme to
build protected Regional Seats of Government put paid to this idea by
1957. Wilton Park was retained as the London District Headquarters but
for more information and pictures of
[Source: Nick Catford]
Last updated 25th March 2005
© 2005 Subterranea Britannica