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Visiting Harris' Wartime Office

I recently had the chance to visit the office of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris' headquarters at RAF High Wycombe, which was the original HQ for Bomber Command during the war.

It was as part of an short organised tour and was very interesting and well led and explained, as well as providing some of the background context to Bomber Command. From the outside of the base all that remains of Bomber Command is its faded emblems on the original gateposts to what is still an active RAF station. Interestingly the original site buildings built pre-war, were interconnected by underground tunnels and the trees on site were preserved to make the site look like a village from the air and with winding roads. This extended to making the fire station look like a chapel with a cross shape and even a tower and the officers mess styled as a manor house. Today the site houses the most recent command - Space Command.

There is a WWII underground bunker which, sadly, is off limits.

Harris' office features his original desk, clock and also the panelled wall section which slides back to reveal electrically operated boards on which maps and other documents could be displayed. Were someone to enter the office who wasn't cleared to see the material, a single press of a switch would immediately slide all six panels back behind the outer wood panel (Quite advanced for the time).

This original office was actually used in the filming the Dam Busters film - I'd assumed it would have been filmed on a set!

For those interested in joining a tour I went with Hidden History Tours.


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