RAF Anstruther, Troywood (Scotland's Secret Bunker)

About this Organisation

An R3 ROTOR bunker built between 1951 and 1953 which commenced operational life in 1953.

The ROTOR bunkers formed the critical, ambitiuous, top secret and elaborate backbone of the UK's early warning system.

R3 bunkers were the second largest in the ROTOR network and served as GCI (Ground Control Intercept) Stations, dedicated to monitoring the skies for Warsaw Pact incursions into our airspece, either on intelligence gathering missions or systematically testing our defenses.

The majorty of ROTOR bunkers were operational radar stations and Troywood served this role until approximately 1957/58 and was staffed by between three and four hundred members of the RAF, until her role changed in 1958.

An R3 bunker has two operational levels and one lower level beneath these. While many of the ROTOR bunkers fell into terrible disrepair as rapid technological evolution became a critical aspect of the Cold War arms and defence race, Troywood saw active service through the entire Cold War. In 1958 her role changed - just two years before in Autumn 1956 her new, highly advanced Green Garlic Type 80 radar had been fitted.

Troywood became earmarked, along with some other ROTOR bunkers, as a hardened, nuclear proof underground structure, to become Regional Seat of Government for Scotland North - that is, everything North of the East Neuk of Fife. The Regional Government System saw the UK divided into manageable sectors, as with ROTOR, and again as with ROTOR, each sector had an HQ at its centre to which the other bunkers would report in the event of nuclear war.

For ten years until the disbandment of Civil Defence in 1968, she would have seen a staffing of approximately 300 souls: a combination of the Civil Defence, a militia element, and key government administrators - civil servants who would form the Shadow Government in the event of nuclear war.

While many speculate that Troywood would have been a very quiet place since nuclear war never did break out, research tells us that the Civil Defence, Shadow Government and militia faction would have carried out frequent exercises in which their evacuation to the bunker would be emulated to the highest possible degree of realism. Their drills would be carried out alongside corresponding drills by the Royal Observer Corps, UK Warning and Monitoring Organisation, and the shortlist of Scientific Advisers and Met Office staff who would also be mobilized in the event of a nuclear strike.

Troywood underwent significant remodelling in the mid 1960s and again in mid 1970s to adapt her to her new role as a government headquarters. She was no longer an active defence bunker dedicated to radar interception after 1958. This mainly meant that the multi storey operations well, which would have been open to both operational levels, was floored over to create additional space for administration.

After the location of many RSGs and RGHQs (Regional Government HeadQuarters) were leaked by Spies for Peace in 1963, the Regional Government System fell into chaos somewhat as everything was turned on its head.

Troywood was retained for use owing to the fact that Spies for Peace never did discover her remote location.

In 1979 Margaret Thatcher came to power and she poured investment into defence and overhauled the regional government system, streamlining it and standardising it for the entire UK.

In England, each Sector was subdivided into North, Central, and South. In Scotland, until 1980, the Regions were North, East, West, and Central. When Thatcher came to power, Scotland's Regions changed to Central and North. 'East', 'West' and 'South' became dispensed with as concepts.

As a result, Troywood became RGHQ (Regional Government HQ) for Scotland North. Barnton Quarry ROTOR R4 continued to serve as HeadQuarters for Central Scotland until it was replaced by the newly built Cultybraggan, which was not complete until 1990.

This means that Troywood in the end was one of only two places from which Scotland would have been governed in the event of nuclear war.

(These findings are the result of exhaustive updated and revised research on the subject. For information on the sources referred to please don't hesitate to contact us.)

Organisation Type



RAF Anstruther, Troywood - ROTOR R3 Bunker
Crown Buildings
East Neuk of Fife
KY16 8QH
Entry last updated: June 14th, 2019

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