BBC considered camouflaging its building to confuse Germans during World War II

Posted By: Staff
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London, August 28 (ANI): The BBC considered camouflaging its Broadcasting House in London during the Second World War by painting fake street scenes and dummy shadows on its walls, in order to confuse German bombers.

According to a report in the Telegraph, BBC's staff feared that the Germans would easily spot the central London building, which was made of gleaming white Portland stone.

The plan was contained in a memo released recently by the BBC from its wartime archives. Other documents detail the corporation's intention to hand over editorial control to the Government.

In a memo dated September 28, 1939 and headed 'Broadcasting House: Protection', house superintendent HL Chilman wrote to his superiors: "If we are going to have a succession of bright moonlit nights this winter, might it not be worthwhile having a 'street' or two and perhaps 'cross roads' and an odd dummy shadow or two on the south end and west face of Broadcasting House? At 2am tonight the building shone beautifully."

The idea was dismissed as Chilman's bosses felt confident that enemy bombers could not target the building.

In a handwritten remark to a colleague, WK Newson, Assistant Defence Executive at the BBC, wrote: "I cannot appreciate any reason for camouflaging Broadcasting House. I am extremely doubtful if any enemy will be able to get low enough to hit the building deliberately. If the building is a good aiming mark from a high height, I feel we are safer still."

On October 3, RS Stafford, the Defence Executive, wrote in reply to Chilman: "With reference to your memo of September 28, I really don't think that camouflaging Broadcasting House would be much use. It isn't the only white building - the London University is much more conspicuous."

But, Newson's words of reassurance were misplaced, as Broadcasting House was bombed three times between 1940 and 1941.

One of the attacks killed seven members of staff. (ANI)

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