This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

North East England

2. North East England


RGHQ: Shipton, North Yorkshire


Alternate RGHQ: Hexham, Northumberland


Counties: Cleveland, Durham, Humberside, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Yorkshire


Nuclear Targets: Barnsley, Bradford, Grimsby, Hull, Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield, York


Yorkshire


Yorkshire had a mixed economy before the War; heavy industry was concentrated in south Yorkshire, particularly the area around Sheffield, which was a centre of the UK’s steel industry, whilst North Yorkshire was focused mainly on agriculture and tourism, the latter focused on two National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.  Whilst Yorkshire had traditionally been a coal mining area, that industry had gone into decline, although a handful of pits still remained at the start of the War. Much of Yorkshire was devastated by the second wave of nuclear strikes in 1998 as the Soviets tried to wipe out what was left of the UK’s industrial base.


Despite this, HMG retain a significant presence in the area which is centred on the large Army base at Catterick and nearby RAF Leeming. A major garrison and training centre before the War, the 5th Division formed up at Catterick before its move to Germany, and was the base for troops returning from Norway in the summer of 1998. Whilst the enclave at Catterick has ensured that HMG controls the area around the two bases, the garrison lacks the manpower to effectively project itself beyond the local area. Cut off from the main body of Government forces in the south of the country, resupply has also been a problem for the Catterick Garrison, with food, fuel, and ammunition all in short supply (the lack of fuel has grounded Leeming’s remaining operational aircraft). Catterick Garrison is a multinational force - it  includes men of half a dozen different nationalities who served with the British forces in Norway, a number of Italian troops taken prisoner by the British in Germany in 1997 and held at Catterick, and who have been judged to still have pro NATO sympathies, and a number of American airmen who relocated to Catterick from RAF Menwith Hill, a USAF electronic monitoring station near Harrogate which was heavily damaged by Soviet conventional attacks in 1997, and was evacuated at the start of 1998; what the airmen could not carry with them to Catterick they destroyed, and the base is now in ruins. The garrison also includes the 8th / 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, a Battalion of Scottish Territorial troops who obeyed orders to move from southern Scotland to Yorkshire in 1998. A number of Security Service personnel are also based at Catterick, from where they coordinate surveillance and intelligence gathering activities throughout northern England and Scotland. The garrison is under the command of Major General Colin Davidson. Formerly of the Royal Artillery, Davidson is totally committed to the welfare of the men and women under his command.


The troops are supported by the populations of the neighbouring towns and villages, who produce food and limited amounts of alcohol fuel for the garrison in exchange for the security provided by the military's presence. A number of makeshift camps have also sprung up on the peripheries of the area controlled by the Army, mainly populated by refugees from Yorkshire's devastated Cities.


Much of the rest of Yorkshire is in a state of anarchy; the nuclear strikes saw waves of refugees flee the Cities, leading to often deadly clashes with communities who had not been directly targeted. In some cases refugees would take over a community then start fighting amongst themselves, and a number of towns and villages are now little more than burned out shells occupied (and fought over) by several different groups, whilst others have become fortified enclaves, where strangers are unwelcome and will be turned away, by force if necessary. A number of marauder groups are also active in the area, some of which have former soldiers and policemen in their ranks, although no one group is powerful enough to claim the ascendancy. The Doncaster area has been ravaged by a particularly violent group made up of prisoners who escaped en masse from the nearby Wakefield High Security prison earlier in the War (Wakefield was one of the prisons designated to remain open as part of the UK Government’s pre war contingency plans and housed a number of particularly violent offenders) and those unfortunate enough to be living in Wakefield exist in a state of virtual slavery, with murder and rape everyday occurrences. Elsewhere, the moorland between the towns of Ikley and Keighley are the home of a group of cannibals known as the Beasts of the Moor, who have achieved notoriety throughout England.

 

The Yorkshire coast is home to a number of relatively isolated communities, from where a number of small craft, many fitted with improvised sails, regularly go out to trawl the North Sea. The centre of this fishing trade is the town of Scarborough, which, with a population of some 30,000 is one of the largest surviving communities in Yorkshire. Scarborough has no organised leadership as such, with what authority there is resting in the hands of several local strongmen (several of whom are trawler captains / owners), each of whom is backed by a number of thugs. The law is effectively whatever these individuals decide it is, and the town is home to numerous bars, and brothels and violence is a commonplace occurrence. A handful of French trawlers are occasional visitors to Scarborough, particularly when the fish market is on. One of these trawlers, the Elodie, is operated by the DGSE and serves as a conduit to bring material and, less frequently, people in and out of northern England. Amongst the material brought in by the Elodie are a small amount of firearms which the crew, posing as smugglers / gunrunners, have traded with locals in Scarborough. This has been carried out with DGSE sanction as part of the French Government’s undeclared policy of keeping the UK destabilised for as long as possible.


Hidden Nukes


Before the war both the KGB and the GRU planted a number of concealed weapons caches in the UK for use by saboteurs and Special Forces operatives in the event of war. A small number of these caches remain, most of which contain small arms, ammunition, explosives, and, less frequently, medical supplies or food and water. However one particular GRU cache buried in the northern part of the Peak District National Park contains two RA115 tactical nuclear devices or “suitcase nukes”, each of which has a five kiloton yield. Whilst the location of the cache is known to the handful of GRU operatives remaining in the UK, the existence of the nuclear weapons is not.


Tyne and Wear


Tyneside and Wearside both escaped nuclear attack (quite how this happened remains a mystery to most people in the region, not that they are complaining). With no regional Government in place the area fractured during 1999, with towns and cities clashing with each other over resources. A number of Cities have become Free Cities, although Newcastle upon Tyne, together the neighbouring City of Gateshead, which lies on the south bank of the river Tyne and is linked to Newcastle by a number of bridges, has gradually emerged as the dominant force in the region - as the largest City in North East England (and one of the largest remaining Cities in the United Kingdom), it has acted as a magnet for all sorts of people including traders, scavengers, criminals, and would be entrepreneurs (many of the City’s visitors fall into more than one of these categories), who come from throughout the region and beyond. The City's local Government collapsed in 1999, creating a power vacuum that was soon filled by a handful of local strongmen. Known locally as the Three Kings, and supported by an assortment of henchmen (who include a number of former soldiers who have deserted from the garrison at Catterick), these individuals began to establish their own fiefdoms as the year wore on. With no one person or group strong enough to claim the ascendancy over the others, an uneasy peace currently exists between the various factions, although random outbreaks of violence are not uncommon. Lying just outside Newcastle are the towns of North and South Shields, the latter of which is home to the Port of Tyne, from where the 5th Infantry Division sailed to Germany in 1998.


Newcastle cannot produce sufficient food within the City environs to feed its inhabitants, so must rely on trade to bring in more food from the surrounding agricultural areas (including over the Anglo Scottish border). Consequently, a number of markets exist throughout the City where all manner of goods are traded, including items that can be virtually impossible to find anywhere else outside the territory controlled by HMG. The largest of these markets is located in the heart of the City in the Grainger Town area. Paper money has little value in Newcastle (except perhaps as toilet paper), with most deals being paid by barter goods which come in various forms, from every day staples such as food, through to luxury items like medical supplies or jewellery.


The City has become home to a number of “cottage industries”, many of which consist of one or two craftsmen working by candlelight in a back room or a kitchen; these craftsmen who can fabricate all manner of things if the price is right. Newcastle also produces significant quantities of alcohol fuels at the Tyne Brewery, which was famous before the War for the production of Newcastle Brown Ale. Electricity is a luxury; what power there is comes from a small number of alcohol fuelled generators, most of which are under the control of one or other of the City’s powerbrokers. One such generator can be found at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, which remains nominally open, however all forms of drugs and medical supplies are in extremely short supply, and what procedures are carried out are frequently done so under a local anaesthetic at best. Newcastle’s two other hospitals, the Freeman and Newcastle General, have both been closed down, with surviving staff concentrated at the Royal Victoria. Both the Freeman and Newcastle General have been extensively looted and are now empty shells.


A popular area for nightlife before the War, the Quayside refers to the area of the City along the banks of the River Tyne. The area has become a de facto red light district, with an array of bars, strip clubs, brothels, and gambling dens catering to a wide range of vices. Many of the bars have their own generators, which they use to power lights and music, and serve a variety of alcoholic drinks that range from locally produced “home brew” to exclusive pre War brands. The Quayside is not a safe place to be at the best of times, but particularly so after dark, although the various establishments provide an extensive source of rumours and information.


Also noteworthy is the British Aerospace factory at Elswick, in the west of the City, where Challenger I and II Main Battle Tanks were manufactured. Despite being the target of Soviet conventional bombers on several occasions, Elswick continued to produce Challengers right up until the end of 1997. In early 1998 salvage teams from Catterick garrison stripped Elswick of everything of value they could find including several partially built tanks and one fully operational Challenger II, all of which were taken back to Catterick.

The Princess of Scandinavia


A roll on / roll off car ferry that plied the routes between the UK and Scandinavia before the war, the Princess of Scandinavia’s last voyage was to Germany carrying elements of the 5th Infantry Division in the summer of 1998. She remains seaworthy, but has not put to sea since then due to a lack of fuel, and is currently docked at South Shields.






























The Princess of Scandinavia tied up alongside at South Shields

Sunderland lies approximately fourteen miles south east of Newcastle on the mouth of the River Wear. Like Newcastle, no one individual or group can claim to control the entire City. Once famous for shipbuilding and coal mining, like the rest of the North East, by the start of the Twilight War the traditional heavy industries were in decline (the last shipyard closed in 1998 and the last coal mine in 1994), although since 1986 Sunderland had been home to a major car manufacturing plant operated by the Japanese company Nissan. The plant has been looted several times, but still retains some heavy equipment that the looters were unable to carry away. It is currently occupied by a group of some one hundred plus children aged from five to seventeen. Orphans of the Twilight War, the children are led by a seventeen year old boy known only as Spider and a sixteen year old girl called Daisy, and lead an almost feral lifestyle, surviving by a combination of foraging, stealing, and begging. They have set up numerous booby traps within the plant to ward off intruders.


Before the War there was a fierce local rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland, which tended to manifest itself most obviously when the Cities' football teams played each other. Following some bitter - and often fatal - clashes earlier in the War, a peace of sorts currently exists between the two Cities, although random acts of violence still occur and it wouldn't take much to reignite hostilities.


The towns of Hartlepool and Middlesbrough lie a further twenty miles or so further down the North Sea Coast. Located just outside Middlesbrough on the south bank of the River Tees is Teesport, which was the third largest sea port in the UK before the War, handling approximately six thousand vessels and over fifty million metric tonnes of cargo. Like much of the rest of the North East's industrial facilities, Teesport has sat idle since the start of 1998, and has been looted of much easy to carry items, however the heavy machinery is still in place, as are thousands of ISO shipping containers. Whilst looters have broken into many of these containers, such is the quantity that some still remain untouched. A small number of cargo vessels also lie tied up. Abandoned by their crews and slowly rusting, several of these ships still retain some of their cargo in their hold.


As well as Teesport, the Middlesbrough / Hartlepool area is home to two other sites that could be critically important in any future efforts to rebuild the UK. With capacity to process 280,000 barrels of oil a day before War, the Teesside Refinery sits on the north bank of the Tees, opposite Teesport, and only a few miles from the Hartlepool nuclear power station, which was capable of producing 1.32 gigawatts of electricity from its two generators. Both the refinery and the power station are currently shut down and in a state of disrepair after suffering damage from EMP and several years of looting and general neglect (and, in the case of the refinery, Soviet conventional air attack). Should a leader emerge who is able to unite the various factions in the area and focus on reconstruction efforts, the North East could, potentially rival HMG, particularly if that leader was able to win over any of the Army personnel at Catterick.


Elsewhere, the cathedral City of Durham is garrisoned by an overstrength Company of HSF troops who have remained loyal to HMG. Originally part of the 7th Battalion, Light Infantry (7LI), Durham’s garrison now refer to themselves as the Durham Light Infantry (DLI), a throwback to 7LI’s historic antecedents. The DLI are in sporadic contact with Catterick garrison, with (very) occasional patrols travelling up the A1 from Catterick to Durham.


Marauder activity in Tyne and Wear tends to be limited to a number of small bands, numbering at most a few dozen members and relatively poorly armed, although several communities along the Scottish border having fought a number of battles with groups encroaching from Scotland, most noticeably the Hawick based Border Reivers. That is not to say that the area is stable or safe however - with no central authority in place violence is relatively commonplace throughout the region’s urban areas as towns and cities clash with each other and different factions clash within the same towns.