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HIDDEN SECRETS FROM COLD WAR; Three bunkers unearthed at Altcar site.

Byline: JAMIE BOWMAN

THREE bunkers have been unearthed at an army training camp on Merseyside.

The fascinating discovery at Altcar in Hightown was made after the camp''s Commandant, Major Bill Hunter, decided to investigate the whereabouts of a secret anti-aircraft site thought to have been built in 1953 on the 620 acre rifle range.

He said: "I have always been aware that there were bunkers of some sort.

"We had a unit here from the Royal Logistical Corps who had a bit of time on their hands and we were looking for a project so I decided to uncover what was there. "We started clearing away the undergrowth and it shocked us to find at it was a radar site."

The remote bunkers were part of the Orange Yeoman Tactical Control project which was designed to supply radar information directly to 16 remote gun sites which were controlled from a base at Newton near Frodsham, in Cheshire.

Major Hunter, a veteran of campaigns in Aden, Northern Ireland and Iraq, added: "They were there to protect and war n.

"It was a radar system that would feed in the information about any aircraft or missiles that came across from Russia.

It was a dangerous and perilous time when we had a major threat from the Soviets."

It is thought that up to 15 highly trained people would have staffed the bunkers with the largest even containing cooking facilities.

But information about their identities and where they were from is a mystery due to the classified nature of the project.

Major Hunter said: "This was a very secretive site which is why we were unaware of it.

"Even in the history book of Altcar it is only mentioned in passing and doesn''t say what it was for."

Opened in 1860 as a training ground for British troops fighting in the Napoleonic wars, Altcar Training Camp and Rifle Range occupies a remote and wild stretch of the Sefton coast and Major Hunter believes the site still has many more secrets to reveal.

He added: "You never know what we are going to find here at Altcar.

"Every year I think we will find something else when we are digging about."

Join the Facebook page book.com/ Thousands of military personal and police visit the rifle range which is regarded as one of the best in the country.

Major Hunter said: "130,000 soldiers a year go through our site with two million rounds fired. It is a very busy site for regular Territorial Army and cadets and will continue to be popular for many years to come."

The Major is now hoping local schools and historians will visit the bunkers.

conversation on our www.face theliverpoolecho He added: "There is something there which can tell a story.

"It is a part of our history and I think we should preserve it for future generations."

Join the conversation on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/theliverpoolecho

CAPTION(S):

SECRET: The bunkers at Altcar were built in 1953 during the Cold War LOOKOUT: Major Bill Hunter in one of the hidden radar bunkers found at Altcar Army base in Hightown Pictures: GARETH JONES
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 12, 2012
Words:528
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