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  1. #1
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    Irish Army Observer Corps

    Can anyone tell me when the Observer Corps was finally disbanded?

    Have been doing a lot of geeky reading up on the Cold War & Ireland over the last few months - have found that they were formed in 1961 & were to liaise with CD & GS in the event of MAD.

    Guessing it was around the time that the UKWMO/ROC went?

    Relevant Dáil debate:
    http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas....1?opendocument

    UKWMO Setup in the 60's:

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  3. #2
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Well in the 1995/6 reorg, D Reserve assumed responsibility for the Observer Corps functions so I suppose around then.

    The Observer Corps was only really the HQs, the bodies were provided by the RDF.

    http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas....0?opendocument

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  5. #3
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    Grim times - but found a funny link on google:
    http://michaelotoole.biz/?p=847

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  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Well in the 1995/6 reorg, D Reserve assumed responsibility for the Observer Corps functions so I suppose around then.

    The Observer Corps was only really the HQs, the bodies were provided by the RDF.

    http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas....0?opendocument
    If I remember correctly there was an observer Corp/ unit at Griffith Bks in 1977?? . We went there for a day as part of the std. NCOs course . They has some sort of a handheld radition detector and a plotting system in place. If memory serves me right their flash was a heron or Crane holding a stone in one of its claws, Could be wrong about the flash but somehow i seem to remember something like that, .. For all ye young chaps the squadron used to be Griffith in those days after they left Cathal Brugha.

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  9. #5
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    My old sub-unit has all the equipment.

    There were a number of national RADMON (I think is the term) exercises between 2005 and 2010 that we were involved in

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  11. #6
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    I did the basic course one time when a few of us were at a loose end on an FCA camp in Fort Davis. Radiation monitoring and recording of the flash of a nuclear explosion and there was also a national network linked by radio. Interesting enough.

    regards
    GttC

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  13. #7
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    I linked this video a little while back:
    http://euscreen.eu/play.jsp?id=EUS_1...20AAE56E88DFFA

    From my reading of public sources - it doesn't seem like there was anything on the scale of the ROC setup in the UK, they had 1500+ permanently staffed mini shelters, but we just had a few dotted around the country for officials/monitoring to come on-line during heightened tensions.

    A pretty alarmist article on the shelters from 2001:
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/NUKE+A......-a078505749

    The old CD shelter in Kildare was sold off recently.

    GTTC: who decided on which poor bloke had to go out and retrieve the blast plot paper?

  14. #8
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    I still have my notes about it somewhere....
    The CD used to have regular exercises with the DF in the early 80s, normally on a sunday morning, when the russians would launch random warheads.

    What advantage knowing the yield of a nuclear impact would provide in the long term was never really explained though.

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  16. #9
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    Long term, feck all - short term, working out where was blown to pieces & where fallout was going to fall.

    Were there sirens/maroons issued to warn the public?

  17. #10
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Nope.
    Just monitoring equipment.

  18. #11
    Non Temetis Messor The real Jack's Avatar
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    I vaguely remember seeing a RPI book on dealing with the fallout at home, never opened...think it was given out to local authority engineers at one stage

  19. #12
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    I got the impression that the nuclear threat wasn''t taken very seriously until the Cuban missile crisis, when the observer corps was set up, as a panic measure, and then was more or less neglected until 2001, when loads of iodine tablets were acquired .

    Thinking was that there were so few strategically important sites in Ireland, save shannon and a few in the north, that most of the problems during a nuclear was would come from fall out from attacks on the U.K. But hopefully the prevailing winds would blow all of that over the Uk and back towards Europe and away from us.

    For me the funniest thing was reading in the government booklet produced along with the iodine tablets that after years of whinging about sellafield, they then turned around and said " don't worry, if there is an accident than it will not come near us as the prevailing winds are south westerly.
    Last edited by paul g; 14th February 2013 at 20:00.

  20. #13
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    And if a missile missed!

  21. #14
    Burt, the Netherlands
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    Interesting film, would fancy being the bloke who got sent up to change the cassettes!

  22. #15
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    The only guy with a functioning anti-radiation suit, ie FCA boiler suit.

    regards
    GttC

  23. #16
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    The only guy with a functioning anti-radiation suit, ie FCA boiler suit.

    regards
    GttC
    Don't forget your piss pot helmet!

  24. #17
    Lt General Bravo20's Avatar
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    Does anyone remember the annual civil defence exercises that used to be shown on telly?

  25. #18
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bravo20 View Post
    Does anyone remember the annual civil defence exercises that used to be shown on telly?
    As mentioned in Post 8. Sunday mornings usually. Don't remember any detail about them though.

  26. #19
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    Off topic slightly as this all relates to Norn Iron...

    'When I were a lad'...I lived in the married quarters of an RUC Station.

    Which was a house attached to an RUC Station...

    Me and my brothers used to make a general nuisance of ourselves around the place.

    In the 'Guardroom' there was amongst the phones, radios and Sterling SMG's a grey thing with a big switch and a speaker.

    When you switched it on...as I often did...it made a blip...blip...blip noise continuously.

    Apparently it was part of the infrastructure to detect and report a nuclear attack???

    I also recall about two dozen hand cranked air raid sirens in one of the store rooms at the back of the station.

    Again...story was they were to be issued in the event of the threat of nuclear war.

    All sounds a bit fanciful I know...but my late Father was the local Sheriff (Station Sergeant) and he told me...

    As another aside...for my Duke of Edinburghs Award Scheme community service I painted...

    Our local Royal Observer Corps Nuclear Bomb Shelter

    Changed times!!!
    'History is a vast early warning system'. Norman Cousins

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  28. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by spider View Post
    Off topic slightly as this all relates to Norn Iron...

    'When I were a lad'...I lived in the married quarters of an RUC Station.

    Which was a house attached to an RUC Station...

    Me and my brothers used to make a general nuisance of ourselves around the place.

    In the 'Guardroom' there was amongst the phones, radios and Sterling SMG's a grey thing with a big switch and a speaker.

    When you switched it on...as I often did...it made a blip...blip...blip noise continuously.

    Apparently it was part of the infrastructure to detect and report a nuclear attack???

    I also recall about two dozen hand cranked air raid sirens in one of the store rooms at the back of the station.

    Again...story was they were to be issued in the event of the threat of nuclear war.

    All sounds a bit fanciful I know...but my late Father was the local Sheriff (Station Sergeant) and he told me...

    As another aside...for my Duke of Edinburghs Award Scheme community service I painted...

    Our local Royal Observer Corps Nuclear Bomb Shelter

    Changed times!!!
    bahahah!

    you mean this?



    here it is in action, in probably the grimmest piece of cinema ever created:
    http://youtu.be/X9rh4CDj9SI?t=5m44s
    Last edited by pym; 15th February 2013 at 00:06.

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  30. #21
    CQMS spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pym View Post
    bahahah!

    you mean this?



    here it is in action, in probably the grimmest piece of cinema ever created:
    http://youtu.be/X9rh4CDj9SI?t=5m44s
    Thats it...and that clip brings back some memories!

    I googled that bomb shelter I painted years ago...it's still intact...I must go and have a look at it.
    'History is a vast early warning system'. Norman Cousins

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  32. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by spider View Post
    Thats it...and that clip brings back some memories!

    I googled that bomb shelter I painted years ago...it's still intact...I must go and have a look at it.
    As per the Dáil debate in my first post - It was leaked in the mid 80's that the Barracks in Athlone was linked to the same grey box system (HANDEL) - which certain people tried to exploit for political purposes, despite the fact it was sensible & mature for us to be linked: it was the only way there'd be a chance the authorities here could know that the warheads were inbound.

    More info about HANDEL:
    http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/Page212.htm

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  34. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pym View Post
    As per the Dáil debate in my first post - It was leaked in the mid 80's that the Barracks in Athlone was linked to the same grey box system (HANDEL) - which certain people tried to exploit for political purposes, despite the fact it was sensible & mature for us to be linked: it was the only way there'd be a chance the authorities here could know that the warheads were inbound.

    More info about HANDEL:
    http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/Page212.htm
    That whole infrastructure was amazing...every Police Station was linked in.

    I see photos of the sirens in your link.

    Now I'm going to be hunting ebay for a WB400 Handel Unit!!

    Re the ROC shelter...it was accessed via a very deep vertical shaft which led into the living / working area.

    If my memory serves me correctly, there was a water tank of some sort near the top of the shaft, which would be filled with water in times of heightened threat. That was then the decontamination facility for anyone who had to venture outside. They were expected to take a photo of any blast and the subsequent mushroom cloud, then report its dimensions back to HQ.

    I had a Saturday job labouring on the farm of a bloke who was in the ROC, sadly since deceased, thats how I ended up getting into it.

    So sorry now that I didn't take some interior photos, but back then you just assumed those things were always going to be there.
    'History is a vast early warning system'. Norman Cousins

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  36. #24
    Hostage Flamingo's Avatar
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    Lots of those shelters / OP's in the UK, I saw on for sale on eBay a while ago. A chap I work with was in the Royal Observer Corps and used to spend days at a time locked up in them, any questions I can pick his brains.
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
    'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
    http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

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  38. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingo View Post
    Lots of those shelters / OP's in the UK, I saw on for sale on eBay a while ago. A chap I work with was in the Royal Observer Corps and used to spend days at a time locked up in them, any questions I can pick his brains.
    The one question that's been going around my head since I first learned about them is - during their operational days, were they often/ever vandalised?

    They would seem to be a prime spot for vagrants, drunks & hoodlums - if unmanned for any length of time.

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