Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

The secret network of Northern Ireland supply depots set up for World War III

Supplies of food were secretly stored in depots across Northern Ireland under plans for a nuclear attack.

Vast reserves of commodities including flour, sugar, biscuits and even boiled sweets were harvested away in the event of a doomsday scenario.

Equipment such as boilers, field cookers, and food containers were also held by officials who feared a catastrophic atomic bomb.

The Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) had responsibility for controlling and releasing supplies to education and library boards, who would feed the population through an emergency feeding service.

A briefing paper warns: "In the pre-attack period of heightening tension, which might include conventional war, there would be an increased demand for food, coupled possibly with a serious and prolonged reduction in food imports."

It states the public would be advised to conserve stocks of food for use after the attack, sufficient for up to 14 days.

The paper continues: "After attack, food would be scarce, lacking in variety and unevenly distributed throughout the country, with little likelihood of any significant food imports being received for some time."

In the worst case scenario, emergency supplies would be handed out.

"MAFF maintains, primarily for wartime purposes, a reserve of selected commodities (biscuits, sugar, yeast, refined fat, salt, boiled sweets and bromate)," the paper adds.

The file states the commodities were stored in buffer depots "strategically situated throughout Northern Ireland".

According to a list of locations, sugar, biscuits and sweets were being stored at Simpsons Mill in Portglenone; flour and sugar were kept at Ewart's Mill near Ballygawley and sugar and sweets were held at Tavanagh Mill in Portadown.

The file describes how stocks of emergency feeding equipment, which were the property of the Northern Ireland Office but under MAFF's control, were held in depots around the province.

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