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The Operations Room Plotting Clock MkII

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In this section you will find all sorts of odd and interesting Air Defence items that don't fit into the other categories.

The Operations Room Plotting Clock MkII

"The Operations Room Plotting Clock MkII is 100% British made, has an 8-day mechanical 7 jewel movement with lever escapement and the face bears the official RAF insignia. Its appearance is unique and will fascinate visitors because, as a piece of living history, it has such a tale to tell.

Information received by the Group Operations Room concerning the height, bearing and strength of approaching hostile aircraft would be plotted on large table maps. Group would then alert the most appropriate or its subordinate Sector Operations Rooms, who would take charge of the local aerial activity once their squadrons had been "scrambled".

Work in the Group Ops Rooms was hectic. Numerous incoming messages had to be sorted, prioritised and disseminated at speed; late information could send a precious squadron of Hurricanes or Spitfires looking for hostile targets on bearings and at altitudes long since vacated by an enemy raid, which in August 1940 would often be heading for the fighter stations themselves. An instant method of weeding out stale information from current reports was therefore devised.

All fresh reports would be colour coded either red, yellow or blue according to the time they were received, using this special clock which had its dial painted with the trio of colours at five-minute intervals in succession around the dial.

The colour indicated by the minute hand at the time the report was received would be the colour given to the message and plotted on the Operations Room table map.

Thus ensuring that the Controller remained in full command of the developing battle."

The last time I saw a clock like this was in the Eng. Co-ord cell at R.A.F. Bawdsey in 1974 (what happened to it when the station closed?) - now I know what those colours meant! I found this advertising item on the Sewills web site, a nice little item for the shack/den - if you have £500 to spare! (02/01/02 - It's now been reduced to £150 - Ed.)

Ian Hopley informs me that a similar clock sold for £826 on E-Bay recently.

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Updated 02/01/2002

Constructed by Dick Barrett

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©Copyright 2000 - 2002 Dick Barrett

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