The Plot Thickens…..


Western Approaches has recently agreed the receipt of two very exciting donations with a direct link to the history of the bunker. More donations which have been kindly made by visitors to the museum will be shared in the coming weeks.

The first donation consists of a set of original plotting pins, kindly donated by the daughter of Marjorie Jackson. Marjorie worked as a plotter in the bunker during the war, meaning she would have been used these pins on a daily basis. At the end of the war, we believe that the plotters were given permission to keep the pins as souvenirs of their work. The meaning of these symbols may well have been lost over the decades, were it not for Wren Mary Hall. Her photographic memory (and detailed record of her work in the bunker) mean that we know exactly what some of the pins represent – for instance, we can clearly see a Calm symbol which is a pin used to denote weather patterns in the Atlantic, as well as the white and blue arrows which we believe were used to indicate wind speed and direction. We are still researching the meaning of some of the pins, so if anyone is able to shed any light on their significance, please get in touch.

Wren Mary Hall
Plotting pins alongside a photograph of Marjorie Jackson

The wall plot in the Operations Room was updated every four hours with the last known locations of convoys, Royal Navy vessels and U-boats, so the pins would have been in constant use. Having only ever seen the plotting pins in black and white pictures, seeing them in colour, and in such good condition, is a real thrill for the team at Western Approaches. To be able to touch these objects that were used during the War, and were such a key part of the bunker’s history was an absolute privilege, and we are extremely grateful to Marjorie’s daughter for the donation. We are hoping to return the pins to their rightful home in the Operations Room in the very near future so that visitors can see the pins for themselves.

We’ve also been in discussions with Wren Elizabeth Copley, who was mentioned in the first blog post. In addition to kindly agreeing to record some of her experiences of the bunker with us, she has also very graciously agreed to donate her WRNS uniform (complete with hat!) to be displayed in the museum. More information about this donation will be provided when it is confirmed.

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