Newly released script from 1970s would have been used as announcement after nuclear attack in UK

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The nuclear bombing of Nagasaki
Image: United States Office of War Information.

A script prepared by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Government of the United Kingdom in the 1970s, and released today, shows the text of the radio announcement that would be made in case of a nuclear attack on Britain.

The script was released by The National Archives, and it was discussed during the years from 1973 to 1975, as an act of preparation for a nuclear attack. This increased concern occurred due to the ongoing Cold War.

The script started by saying "This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes." It emphasised people should not leave their homes: "Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger."

"If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which follows a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors."

The script continued by telling citizens to "make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished," before telling the listener to "use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes."

"Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more," continued the script. "If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out."

The script finishes people by telling people to turn off their radio to conserve energy.

The documents were released under Britain's Freedom of Information Act, and it also said that all reports should be given out in an authoritative and comforting tone. It also contains letters from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications which describe how the use of a familiar voice will assure listeners that the BBC has not been obliterated.