The Cabinet War Room at Storey’s Gate, London

by Phil Johnson | May 15th, 2010

As part of my extensive research for the novel, I felt I needed to make another visit to the Cabinet War Rooms in London. Just next to Horse Guards Parade, the CWR, now a museum, are an absolute must for any World War II enthusiasts who find themselves in London. Preserved almost as they were left on the last day of the war, the CWR are (quite literally) a mine of information that you could not find elsewhere. For me, the exciting bit was looking for the bits I needed, then experiencing the joy of discovery, like the map shown below, which hangs in Churchill’s personal quarters and shows the home defences of the UK as they were in July 1940. I photographed the section of North and East Yorkshire, along with the key to the map which was hung next to it. If you have read the novel, you will be aware that quite a bit of the story unfolds in the CWR, and the following photographs will hopefully give you a feel for the place. If you’ve never been, then get yourself down there – the entry fee is reasonable and it really is like going back in time!

The map of UK home defences shows block ships, heavy gun batteries, and specially defended areas, including the ports of Hull, Grimsby and Immingham, along with the airfields at Leconfield and Church Fenton.

The key to the map of UK home defences. Churchill uses this key and the map to which it relates, to argue a point with General Brooke in the novel.

This is the Chiefs of Staff Planning Room, with the maps of the world still hanging on the walls. Again, this room features heavily in the novel.

This photograph shows the Map Room, where, in the novel, Brooke, Dill, Newall and Pound run things from during the first few hours of the invasion. This room in particular will capture the imagination when you visit, as all of the original paperwork is still on display, including a daily statistics report from the Battle of Britain chalked on a black board. I spent over half an hour in this room alone!

And finally for this post, this photograph shows Brooke’s advanced HQ for Home Forces. His main HQ was at St Paul’s, and this office at the CWR would have been manned by Brooke himself and just a small group of his key staff officers. Situated between the Map Room and Churchill’s personal quarters, it was right at the hub of complex.

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Seelöwe Nord is the online home of Andy Johnson, a war fiction novelist. Seelöwe Nord is a war novel that tells the alternative history of Operation Sealion, the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. Followed by Thunder in May, and the recently released Crucible of Fate, the trilogy of War Fiction remains a popular read within the genre.

Andy has also started to publish small Leadership and Management Booklets drawing from his extensive experience across many sectors and industries, both military and civilian, the first of which is entitled Captains of the Gate and is now available for download on eReaders directly from Amazon.