UKWMO to Military Communications

This topic is a collection of some of the many external miscellaneous communication paths radiating from a Region Government Headquarters (RGHQ) and UKWMO Group Headquarters. I have are very limited knowledge of the subject. Hopefully I will be able to add more detail to this page in the future.

Nuclear Reporting Cells

NRC Locations

Map showing NRC locations

Nuclear Reporting Cells were staffed by civilian volunteers from the Royal Observer Corps although they were located in Ministry of Defence sites. The cell provided fallout warning and radiation level data to the armed services.

NRC Feeder Group Table

Group	Code	No	Location
=====	====	==	========
INV	INVN01	 1	Oban
ABE	ABEN02	 2	Buchan
DUN	DUNN03	 3	Pitreavie
DUR	DURN04	 4	Boulmer
YOR	YORN05	 5	Holmpton
LIN	LINN06	 6	Brampton
NOR	NORN07	 7	Neatishead
OXF	OXFN08	 8	High Wycombe
BED	BEDN09	 9	Bentley Priory
HOR	HORN10	10	Northwood
WIN	WINN11	11	Wilton
BRI	BRIN12	12	Upavon
WIN	WINN13	13	Portsmouth
EXE	EXEN14	14	Plymouth
EXE	EXEN15	15	Truro
AYR	AYRN16	16	Faslane

The NRC received its nuclear burst and fallout information from a feeder UKWMO Group HQ in the same way that Groups shared this data amongst themselves. The NRC had links directly from the UKWMO MSX network, the addressing codes were published in the UKWMO Standard Operating Procedures 'Annex AM' although the actual NRC location wasn't recorded in the annex they are cross referenced here.

The routing codes found in the MSX at Dundee Sector, tend to agree with those published in the feeder group table extracted from Annex AM. Those confirmed are ABEN02, AYRN16, BEDN09, BRIN12, DUNN03, DURN04, EXEN14, EXEN15, HORN10, INVN01, WINN11, WINN13, YORN05 The difference found NRC 6 is BEDN06, moved from Lincoln.

Feedback received from Janet cast doubt about the MSX codes in the table above. I wonder if her comments relate to the period after the UKWMO stand down?

'... all NRC's were designated by their Sector. Although Portsmouth may have been within Winchester Group it was designated with the Sector Control Horsham. Sector=HOR, MSX Code=HORN13 (not WINN13) Portsmouth Naval Base....'

Military Routing Codes used by UKWMO

ACP121 Table


The routing codes used within the UKWMO and RGHQ Network generally reflect the purpose of the message or the addressee location, e.g. BBxyz where xyz is the UKWMO Group code initiating the Bomb Burst (BB) message. Or send a message to the R.O.C. Admin for a group, ROCnn where 'nn' is the group number ROC28 is Dundee.

There are a group of routing codes starting RBD used within the UKWMO Network for the military liaison group at a RGHQ and those for Regional AFHQ and post-strike within CONRAD. In these cases the code RBD does not indicate anything but is part of a much larger group of routing codes used within NATO and by Allied Countries.

The Allied routing codes are given in a unclassified document ACP121 in a 'Routing Indicator Delineation Table'. This indicates the first letter 'R' is used to distinguish a routing code from a call-sign. The second letter indicates the Nation, in this case 'B' for the United Kingdom. The third letter indicates the geographic area that unit is operating in, in this case 'D' United Kingdom or Iceland. The fourth letter can have a meaning according to ACP121, but I am not sure this applies to the UK codes.

Although military establishments are able to route messages to allies all across the world using the format described above. The absence of these worldwide codes in UKWMO switches, prevent them sending messages to those destination, even if the link to a AFHQ terminates on a military message switch capable of handling such traffic.

Military Assistance - AFHQ Locations

AFHQ Routing Codes
in Annex AM

Region	Routing	AFHQ
AFHQ	Code	Location
======	======	========
 3	RBDPEG	Digby
 5	RBDPEK	Beaconsfield
 9	RBDTOE	Shawbury
Scot	RBDPBJ	Inverbervie

Armed Forces Headquarters ( AFHQ ) were also linked into the MSX network. The list below is a snapshot derived from the ROC Standard Operating Procedure, Annex AM. Anyone who has studied UK military history will appreciate it seems to be an endless set of reorganisations, every document I see has a different set of codes reflecting the snapshot in time when the document was written. The ECN Directory has a similar set of codes with a few variations. The locations are derived from a Declassified Joint Signalling Instruction, where the codes match. Some physical locations of codes in this list are currently unknown.

Additionally, the military had their own private automatic telegraph network 'Telegraph Automatic Switching System' ( TASS ) working in a similar way the to the now defunct UK Public TELEX network but with four digit numbers. Lines from this network terminated at the RGHQ military liaison offices.

RGHQ Military Liaison

Military Liaison at RGHQ
Routing Codes

RGHQ			Routing
Number	Location	Code
======	=======
21	Shipton		RBDPAP
22	Hexham		RBDPDA
31	Skendleby	RBDPAI
32	Loughborough	RBDPAV
41	Bawburgh	RBDPDK
42	Hertford	RBDPDM
51	Kelvedon Hatch	RBDPDL
61	Dover		RBDPFD
61	Crowborough	RBDTRX
62	Basingstoke	RBDTVL
71	Ullenwood	RBDTVR
71	Chilmark	RBDTRV
72	Hope Cove	RBDTRG
81	Colwyn Bay	RBDTVQ
82	Brackla		RBDTVS
91	Swynnerton	RBDPKN
92	Kidderminster	RBDTWT
101	Southport	RBDPKP
102	Hack Green	RBDTVK
   -- Scotland --
Central	Kirknewton	RBDPBQ
North	Anstruther	RBDPAK
West	East Kilbride	RBDPAL
East	Barnton Quarry	RBDPAJ
   -- Northern Ireland --
Central	Cookstown	RBDPKJ

Each Regional Government Headquarters, contained a room designated 'Military Liaison' containing military personnel and communication equipment. There were printers and telephones connected into the RGHQ network. The printer had a separate routing code in the UKWMO / RGHQ network to distinguish its messages from those used by the civilian government officers. Telephones connected into the RGHQ private branch telephone exchange.

Additionally there were connections into the military Teleprinter Automatic Switching System ( TASS ) for printers. This employed a four digit numbering scheme allowing message to be sent anywhere across the whole of the UK military.

As well as phones on the RGHQ Private Branch Exchange, some connected directly into the Army and RAF Private Wire network. There were two connection points into that network, one being the Region's AFHQ and the other an Army or RAF base. Most RGHQ's connected to the Army Network with a few into the RAF Network. These PW Networks had automatic switching centres, very similar to those used in the public telephone network, enabling automatic dialling between telephone across the whole country.

Emergency Radio Communication Provided by the Army

Very secret plans were in place for the Territorial Army to provide radio linked telegraph communication for the RGHQs in a Post-Strike situation should the normal landline and radio communication networks be severed by war action. A declassified Joint Signal Instruction ( JSI ) document sheds light on this scheme known as CONtrol by RADio ( CONRAD ). See the CONRAD topic linked in the further reading section below.

A series of RBD routing codes were reserved for allocation during the POST STRIKE phase by GATEWAY Commands to CONRAD sub stations not included in the routing lists on the UKWMO switches. Additionally each of the three GATEWAYS had a four character routing code allocated. South Gateway No.1 'RBDS' - Central Gateway No.2 'RBDM' - North Gateway No.3 'RBDN'.

During the early 1980's, the MOULD radio system was deployed for use by the home defence regiments. This system is described in detail on this site and consisted of a number wide area VHF networks each covering a RGHQ sub-region. See the MOULD topic linked in the further reading section below.

Radio Communication with Military Aircraft

Airband Transceiver

Airband transceiver ARC 52

UHF Biconical Monopole Aerial

UHF Biconical Monopole

To communicate with aircraft a rack mounted, mains operated, version of the radio fitted to all front line RAF planes in the 1960's were installed a RGHQ's. This radio was connected to a UHF Biconical Monopole antenna like this one photographed at Hack Green which was mounted on the main communications lattice mast. These were a common sight at RAF and Navy land based communications sites and ships masts. At Bawburgh RGHQ, the aerial was mounted on a wooden pole that can just about be distinguished on the 1981 photograph on the Detail / Radio / My Hunt for Masts page, but was clearer to the naked eye.

On the radio rack, the ARC52 transceiver unit is mounted at the top of the rack next to the mains power supply. The cockpit control panel mounted on a plate at the bottom of the rack.

The specification of the transceiver is given as: The AN/ARC 52 transmitter/receiver is manufactured under licence from the Collins Radio Co, USA. tuning to 1750 channels spaced with 100KHz spacing, in the UHF range 225-399.9MHz This was the full NATO UHF Band at the time.

Provision is made on the control panel for 18 preset channels and also full tuning across the working range by the use of four knobs to select the frequency. The transmitter provides an average of 18 Watts output giving a 200 miles of ground to air range. This operated as single frequency simplex with the receiver section listening on the same frequency.