The Searchlight Operations Room

The Searchlight Operations Room is a joint activity between the Garrison the WW2 section of the Historical Maritime Society. The idea came originally from a trip to Malta  when we saw the Operations Rooms there. So we tried to set one up for the Museum in the Park for the VE/VJ day celebrations in 2005.

The first attempt at a small plotting board. The board with the planning and site location map in the back ground. Just a few of the support desks in the operations room.
The St James's Park Operations Room in 2005 was our first attempt at doing it and while it looked OK we felt it could be better.
We had another go at it in the Rooms at Fort Nelson and while the the venue was better than a tent it was still not right so we spent a lot of time researching how to make it better.
The Navy and RAF Plotter/Tellers. All three services with the Navy and Army SL Bty Plotter/Tellers and the RAF Fighter Plotter. The top table with the OC and the RAF Sector Officer.

The catalyst for deciding to build a large plotting table was from the 1946 manual on searchlight plotting room  which showed exactly what one would look like. We choose to base our plotting table map on Portsmouth so it would would work with the naval involvement of the display and fit with a large Ack Ack display we where doing at Fort Nelson in the Easter of 2006. The added bonus in that the map section is instantly recognisable and takes little explaining.


We carried out the display again at Kelmarsh in August 2006

The plotters hard at their task


Members of the Ops Room busy at their desks. The top table looking over the plotting table.

The display we did at Stoneleigh was probably our best one yet. It was inside and the whole group got involved which made it look very busy. The raid displays worked well and all the support desks looked right.

The addition of a 'chain home' radar element.

Helmets on ready for the raid.

The low lighting in the under croft gave a really realistic atmosphere .
The Raid Displays that we do with the plotting board always draws a great crowd, is different and gives us a chance to show women at war.

Plotting Room Display at the Goodwood Revival in 2010...

...and again in 2011
For video footage of the Ops Room in action, please see the Garrison's YouTube channel:

A regimental office, somewhere in Italy (6 AGRA)