Cold War radio system from Suffolk post-office to be sold at auction

The Cold War early warning radio system was originally installed in Bentley Post Office during the mid 1980s and was removed in 2009.

The Cold War early warning radio system was originally installed in Bentley Post Office during the mid 1980s and was removed in 2009. - Credit: Chris Elmy

A Cold War radio system once installed at Bentley Post Office and medals belonging to a Suffolk serjeant are among a number of unusual pieces of local and national history to be sold at an online auction.

From the mid 1980s and in the event of incoming nuclear attack the postmasters and postmistresses of village post offices around the UK would have been expected to raise the alarm and signal their villages to take cover. A secret code would have been received via a British telecom receiver speech box, like the one above, which is being sold at auction. 

This radio system was taken from the Bentley Post Office in Suffolk - which no longer exists - but was once part of the Warning District Colchester 19.

It was removed from the old post office in 2009 and is expected to be sold for around £50 to £70 when it goes on sale on Saturday, January 23. 

The radio system is just one of the lots being auctioned by Lockdales Auctioneers & Valuers, which is being held online, and spans across two days. 

The online auction will be selling a variety of coins, medals and militaria. 

Chris Elmy, of Lockdales, which is based in Martlesham Heath, said: "This is a very unusual piece of local and national history, and a chilling reminder of the precarious state we lived in during the 1980s, with regards to the stand-off between the Western and Eastern Blocs."

ww2 lots

The top two medals (from the First World War) belonged to Serjeant F. Brabrook, born in Wetherden, Suffolk. The others, from World War Two, belonged to his (presumed) son: Royal Navy Commissioned Ordnance Lieutenant W. F. Brabrook. These are accompanied by four volumes of photographs and paperwork from W. F. Brabrook’s naval career before, during, and after WWII. - Credit: Chris Elmy

Also on sale is a wealth of personal and official photographs and medals belonging to a Suffolk serjeant, who was born in Wetherden. 

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The top two medals from the First World War belonged to Serjeant F. Brabrook. The others from the Second World War belonged to his (presumed) son;  Royal Navy Commissioned Ordnance Lieutenant W. F. Brabrook.

These are accompanied by four volumes of photographs and paperwork from W. F. Brabrook’s naval career before, during, and after the war. 

Mr Elmsy added: "This really illustrates our navy at its peak, and is a wealth of personal and official photography from that time."

The lot is estimated to be sold for £240 to £260. 

ww2 lots

Lot comes with a superb personal archive compiled by W F Brabrook mapping the Second World War naval history, his service, etc including original photos/paperwork, postcards, copy photos, etc. - Credit: Chris Elmy

The Lockdales auction starts at 10am on Saturday.

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