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Welshpool’s nuclear secret

Created on 11/11/2011 @ 15:42
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A declassified top secret Government document has confirmed that Welshpool and its surrounding community would have been nuked during the opening minutes of a war with the Soviet Union.
The former communications site at Criggion, which lies in the shadows of Rodney’s Pillar, topped the list of Russian targets with four 500-kiliton bombs primed and pointed to obliterate everything within its vicinity, including Welshpool just six miles away.
The confirmation will shock local residents who sat through the cold war knowing there could be a threat but unaware that the Government had prepared a document based on intelligence placing the mouth of the Severn Valley firmly in the firing line.
The declassified document marked TOP SECRET was prepared by the Joint Intelligence Committee at the height of the Cold War in 1967 with the reference Annex A to COS 1929/2/11/67 and was discovered by respected Cold War historian and author Steve Fox.
Mr Fox dug it out from the National Archives for his ‘Governing Britain After the Bomb’ work with Criggion targeted for its role in communicating to Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine fleet as well as monitoring Russia’s underwater movements.
“I am not sure how close we came to Nuclear War,” said Mr Fox. “But the damage caused by a H bomb varies according to many factors. You could simply say that the destruction would be vast with massive fires and radioactive fall-out.”
Criggion became one of Britain’s key military locations in 1942 when the Churchill Government learned of Hitler’s plans to bomb the communications headquarters in Rugby. They acted quickly to decentralise communications to several locations with Mid Wales chosen.
The station is believed to have played a key role in Britain’s security since and, in 1982, it is believed that Margaret Thatcher’s direct order to sink the Argentine ship – the General Belgrano – during the Falklands War was transmitted through Criggion.
Closed in 2002, the site is now a typical legacy of the Cold War. Its 500-foot masts have gone but the buildings are falling into decay behind barbed wire fences with its windows boarded up.
The Ministry of Defence was contacted by mywelshpool and asked about the Criggion Transmitter’s purpose but insisted their records indicated that the MoD had neither owned nor used the facility.
To read Steve Fox’s document Governing Britain After the Bomb, please visit

PICTURES: Landmarks from the Cold War: No it's not Eastern Europe, buildings remain derelict in the shadow of Rodney's Pillar and concrete squares mark the spot where nuclear submarine communication masts one stood.

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