May 16th 2018

Local employers visit Battle of Britain Bunker

Employers outide the bunker in Uxbridge

Employers outside the Battle of Britain Bunker

A group of employers from across the East Midlands has visited the Battle of Britain Bunker in recognition of their support for the Armed Forces community.

The employers based in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland were invited to travel to Uxbridge as part of an employer engagement activity on 14 May.

Employers outside the RAF Club in Piccadilly

Employers outside the RAF Club in Piccadilly

The majority of those attending have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging to support employees from a range of Defence personnel including veterans, reservists, and Cadet Force adult volunteers. They were intrigued to see the Bunker in Uxbridge that played a crucial role in the defence of the United Kingdom in its darkest hour in 1940.

Now under the ownership of a local council, the bunker housed the Fighter Command Operations Room throughout the Second World War, from which much of the RAF’s Battle of Britain activity was coordinated.

The employers climbed down the 76 steps into the bunker, before reaching the plotting room that houses a large map table and squadron display boards. The plotting room is visually exactly the same as it was when Winston Churchill visited on 15 September 1940.

Outside the Battle of Britain Bunker visitors centre

Outside the Battle of Britain Bunker visitors centre

The group also heard a talk about the function of the bunker during the Battle of Britain and had the opportunity to ask questions about key decisions that were made and the work of the controllers and plotters who worked in the facility.

John Wilson, the Ministry of Defence’s Regional Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands arranged the visit. He said: “2018 is the year of RAF 100, celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force so this was a good time to visit the bunker and see replica aircraft, original artefacts, hear some oral accounts of the time through video clips and see some wartime photos and archive video footage.

“I am pleased that so many employers could join us to experience the bunker as well as a tour of the Palace of Westminster. We have received a lot of positive feedback about the event and the useful opportunity to talk with other employers about the benefits of employing reservists.”

Feedback from employers who attended the event: 

Miranda Cannon, Director of Delivery, Communications, and Political Governance at Leicester City Council, said: “This visit is a great opportunity to develop links with other organisations across the region in support of the Armed Forces community, and to continue to further develop our understanding of the needs of that community, and how we can help both as an employer and as a service provider.

Maj General Ranuld Monroe (responsible for reserves and cadets) talked to employers over lunch

Maj General Ranuld Monroe (responsible for reserves and cadets) engaged with employers over lunch

“Leicester City Council is firmly committed to the Armed Forces Covenant. We continually seek ways in which we can support the important principles of the covenant in promoting understanding and awareness of issues affecting the Armed Forces community, and in working closely with current and former service personnel, families and dependents, reservists and veterans and the organisations that represent them.”

Claire Carter, Senior Lecturer in the College of Health and Social Care at the University of Derby, said: “At the University of Derby we are very keen to support the Armed Forces community.

“We have recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant and made an application for the Employer Recognition Scheme. We wish to increase our support to this community, and our upcoming Armed Forces Days are an example of this. Attending the Heritage Day further underpins our knowledge, understanding and how as an employer and educator can support those within and having left the forces.

Allison Webb, Head of Careers, Employability and Enterprise at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, said: “‘Staff from Bishop Grosseteste University were delighted to attend the event to strengthen the University’s partnership with East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association. It also provided the opportunity to network with other employers who support Defence personnel to share good practice.”

Calum Osborne, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Nottingham Forest Community Trust, said: “Nottingham Forest Community Trust believe that leadership, communication, problem solving, decision making, and teamwork are fundamental skills that can be enhanced through sharing good practice with like-minded employers in the region and accessing bespoke Armed Forces training programmes. We see great value in being part of the Armed Forces community and supporting the men and women that serve our country.”

Employers inside the Battle of Britain bunker visitors centre

Employers inside the Battle of Britain bunker visitors centre

Ian Razzell, Business and Finance Director at Oakham Medical Practice and Market Overton and Somerby Surgeries, said: “As a retired Officer and veteran of the Royal Army Medical Corps, I was delighted to join the London Heritage Visit on Monday.

“Since retiring after 33 years’ service, I am acutely aware of the value of our Armed Forces and see the visit to Westminster as an opportunity to widen our Midlands network and engage with other employers and signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant.  Supporting Service families, reserves and veterans with healthcare provision and employment opportunity is a key component of our business strategy and we actively welcome all those who serve into our NHS Primary Care community.”

“This visit is a great opportunity to develop links with other organisations across the region in support of the Armed Forces community"