The Churchill War Rooms

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

http://www.dreamdestinations.com

On our 2019 D Day Tour, our first visit will be to the Churchill War Rooms.  This is a fascinating exhibit that will help anyone who visits this place to learn about the facilities and conditions that PM Churchill and his war cabinet used to decide how to win the Battle of Britain and WW II. 

The visit here on the one way route is self guided with an excellent audioguide–each room has an account of an actual person who worked in this complex.

So, let’s explore this underground bunker maze of 27 rooms, learn about the most important rooms, and learn a little more about Winston Churchill, the war-time Prime Minister (PM).

Map Room

The map room was the central place in the Churchill war rooms where the daily intelligence of the war was monitored.  It was operational 24 hours a day from 27 August 1939 until the end of the war.  When the war ended, the room was left just as it was on that day.

From this room, a daily intelligence briefing was prepared for the Prime Minster, the King and the military chief of staffs.

Here is a picture of the map room:

Map Room
Map Room of the Churchill War Rooms with the D Day Invasion Plan Displayed

Cabinet Room

Although only used once until the appointment of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister, in May 1940, he decided to use this area to direct the war.  He held 115 cabinet meetings during the course of the war (the last was on 28 March 1945).  From these meetings, the key leaders developed the plans for the conduct of the war.  This is what the room looks like:

Cabinet Room
Cabinet Room

Transatlantic Cable Room

This room allowed secure access to the US.  It was first used in 1943 so Churchill could talk to President Roosevelt.  They used a code scrambling encrypted telephone.  

It also provided communications to other wartime leaders and facilities.  This room looks like this:

Telephone Room
Transatlantic Cable Room of the Churchill War Rooms

Prime Minister’s Bedroom

As well as a place to rest, this also served as his office.  The BBC installed radio address equipment, so Churchill could address the people of his country.  He made 4 wartime broadcasts from this room.  Although this was equipped from Churchill to sleep, he preferred to sleep in his 10 Downing Street residence and seldom sleep in this actual room.  Here is a good photo of this room:

Churchill Bedroom
Churchill Bedroom and Office Area with the BBC Broadcast Equipment

The Churchill Museum

This area contains displays highlighting the life of Churchill.  The displays are quite good and interesting about the life of this British statesman.  A lot of information is contained in this large room–it is a really honest look at the successes and failures of this giant of the British nation.

Here is a photo of part of this large display (look carefully at the bottom to see the war cabinet room in action and his famous quote “This is the room which I’ll direct the war”:

Churchill Museum
Churchill Museum Poster displaying some of the story of the War Room and the War

Other Areas

Many others had to support this 27 room complex.  There were dormitories for both men and women and kitchen facilities.  Many women supported this effort as switch board operators or typists–they often worked 16 hour shifts.  The tiny, cramped area is reminder of the stark life during the war–the darkness and isolation of this area was so complete, they even posted weather notices of the outside to help make their mole-like exsistenace seem a little more bearable.   Here is a photo of the kitchen area:

Kitchen Room
Kitchen Area

My Final Thoughts

Wow, what a fascinating place!  I have seldom been able to step back in history and actually be able to clearly envision exactly what it would be like to live in those troubled times.  A visit here is a look at this unique command center and it is easy to understand the importance it played in winning WW II.

This is just one place in Europe we can help you experience.  We are travel experts, ocean and river cruise experts, and Europe destination experts.  We have first-hand knowledge of almost anywhere you want to visit in Europe.  We know our products and the vendors who sell them to you.  We have designed special tours for dozens of clients, led several and will continue to find just the right vacation that will exceed your expectations.

When you are spending your hard-earned money for a vacation, you want an advisor who can match you with the right trip.  You want someone who will understand your expectations and fuel your anticipation (or excitement) to get you the best possible trip experience.  And, you want someone who can help you with the decision-making process.  We think we have all these qualities.

Whatever your Dream Destinations are, we are here to help you get the best possible vacation based on what is important to you!  We will provide you high quality, expertly planned travel.  Please give me a call 713-397-0188 (Hank) or email me at hschrader@dreamdestinations.com.  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

HANK is a certified Western European Destination Specialist (DS) who has been traveling to Europe for 45 years.  He is also an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), conferred by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).  This recognized expert in cruise and leisure travel is a retired Army Officer, and taught World Geography for 8 years.  He is a `71 graduate of West Point and has earned 2 master’s degrees.   His other Certifications:

  • AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist
  • Viking River Cruise Specialist
  • Scenic River Cruise Specialist
  • Emerald Waterways  Specialist
  • Avalon Waterways Specialist
  • Brit Agent
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