Building Programme


R.O.C Reviews, Defence Cuts & Change

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the 1966 Royal Review

Building Programme

The 1960’s saw the construction of 1,563 underground posts.

Royal Review

On the 24th June 1966 the Queen attended a special event at RAF Bentley Priory. The day formed the Royal Review of the Corps’ and which marked the 25th anniversary of the assumption of the style and awarding of the ‘Royal’ title in 1941. The occasion also saw the Queen award the Corps’ with their banner in recognition of the corps’ long service and achievements from its beginnings and through WW2.

Further Reorganisation

Economic constraints during the mid to late 1960s led to reduced defence spending by the UK Government and ultimately led to a need to reduce defence spending by the Government. In 1962, the forty ROC Groups from 1953 were reorganised and reduced in number to 31, with a further reduction to 25 taking place in 1968, including the control in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Service age limits of 16 to 65 were introduced, with service after the age of 65 only occurring where replacements could not be recruited, subject to annual review, and where appropriate medical certificates could be provided.

As part of the Government’s Home Defence review during 1968, the Government decided to reduce civil defence. As a result of this scaling down of the ROC activity it was decided that the number of underground monitoring posts throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland would be reduced from 1,563 to 873 from 1st April 1968. Staffing was 324 spare-time officers and 12,300 observers.

The sectors in 1968 were reduced to five within which were five UKWMO Groups, with one of these being the sector control headquarters. Each group had a number of Monitoring Posts, varying between 27 and 58 and spaced between 10 and 15 miles apart. These monitoring posts reported directly to the Group control.

Table to the right listing the main five sectors and respective group headquarters as from 1968. Sector-Group HQ’s are shown in bold.

Map to the right of Area & Group Boundaries from 1968


Nuclear Reporting Cells: “The Secret Corps”

During the 1970’s, a new class of observer was created to operate specialist Nuclear Reporting Cells (NRC). These NRC’s were located at selected strategic armed forces Headquarters across the country.

The initial role of the NRC observers was to provide the army, navy and air force with comprehensive visual displays and scientific interpretation of the information provided by the ROC group controls with respect to nuclear bomb bursts and radioactive fallout dispersal.