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

South West England

7. South West England


RGHQ: Chilmark, nr Salisbury, Wiltshire (closed down Jan 98; some staff transferred to alternate facilities at UKLF HQ, Salisbury, others moved to Winchester with Central Government)


Alternate RGHQ: Bolt Head, nr Salcombe, Devon (abandoned Jan 98, staff relocated to HMNB Devonport)


Counties: Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire


Nuclear Targets: Bristol, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Yeovil


North of the M4


The main Motorway running from London to South Wales before the War, the M4 now marks the northern border of the territory currently controlled by His Majesty's Government. Just north of the M4, the town of Swindon in Wiltshire has emerged as one of the largest Free Cities in England, with a population approaching some 100,000 people (approximately half of its pre War population), many of whom have made their way to Swindon to escape the devastation and anarchy found further north. The City maintains a limited manufacturing capacity, much of which is based around the Honda Car manufacturing facility, with the plant's former workers able to fabricate a number of items. Together with its strategic location on the crossroads of the territory controlled by HMG and the regions to the north, this has made Swindon a major trading centre, with merchant convoys travelling to and from the City from as far afield as Newcastle, Carlisle, and, occasionally, North Wales. Such travel is of course hazardous, and there is always a demand amongst the merchants for experienced soldiers willing to serve as escorts in exchange for both financial and material reward. Unlike some of the Free Cities further north, Swindon maintains relatively organised, thanks in no small part to its proximity to HMG's forces (RAF Lyneham is only eleven miles away from Swindon, whilst the nearest garrison is only six miles away, in the town of Wootton Basset, which is home to a detachment from the 6th Battalion, Light Infantry). It also has its own militia force, with many of the men and women within its ranks deserters from the Government forces south of the M4.


Further north the spa town of Cheltenham was perhaps most famous before the War for the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race and its literary and music festivals. It was also home to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the arm of British Intelligence responsible for providing Signals Intelligence to the Government and the Military, a fact that made it the second location in the United Kingdom to be targeted by Soviet nuclear weapons, at 11:15am on Thursday 27th November 1997 (approximately ninety seconds after the first warhead detonated over London). In an effort to ensure GCHQ was completely destroyed a second warhead was aimed at Cheltenham eight days later, although it overshot its target, devastating the nearby town of Gloucester instead. Today the ruins of Cheltenham and Gloucester are inhabited by small bands of survivors who try to survive as best they can. Much of the rest of Gloucestershire is rural, and has become increasingly threatened by marauder incursions from three directions - south Wales to the west, and the Midlands to the north and east. Earlier in the War US Air Force B52 heavy bombers were stationed at RAF Fairford, approximately fourteen miles north of Swindon. The USAF abandoned the base in early 1999 when they consolidated surviving personnel within the territory controlled by HMG (the base no longer had any operational aircraft by this time anyway, with the last B52 flight having taken place in March 1998). A small number of American personnel lingered in the area afterwards; whilst some joined up with the Bandito Yankee marauder group, approximately fifty men and women eventually found their way to Swindon, where they joined the town's militia.

Wytch Farm


Located near the town of Poole on the English South Coast and owned by BP, the Wytch Farm onshore oil field and processing facility was the largest in Western Europe before the War, with eighty wells producing a peak of just over 100,000 barrels per day. In early 1996 BP opened a new state of the art refinery in the suburb of Hamworthy, close to the Port of Poole ferry passenger terminal and linked by pipeline to Wytch Farm. 


The Wytch Farm complex was the target for Soviet conventional airstrikes the area several times during the opening months of the War, with the Hamworthy refinery suffered particularly heavy damage during a series of concentrated raids in August 1997 that forced it to shut down whilst the damage was repaired. The British Government managed to successfully fool the Soviets into thinking that their airstrikes had destroyed the facility when MI5 arranged for false documents to passed to a known Soviet agent.


Before the repairs could be completed the UK was targeted in the nuclear exchanges of November 1997 however, and the refinery remained closed for over a year until a joint team of BP personnel and soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers were able to complete the repairs and restore the refinery to working order. Over a period of several months BP engineers were then able to bring a small number of Wytch Farm’s wells back on line and resume the flow of oil to Hamworthy, where it is refined into fuel (including aviation fuel), lubricants, and other products.


The engineers were able to bring additional wells on line during 1999, and whilst the refinery’s production remains modest by pre War standards, it is more than enough to meet the needs of the British Government and Military, including the Royal Air Force, who receive sufficient supplies of aviation fuel to continue limited air operations. The fuel is distributed throughout the area controlled by HMG in southern England by the Royal Logistics Corps' 9 Supply Regiment.

The Two Princes


In an attempt to safeguard the lines of succession at the start of 1999 the heirs to both the British and Dutch thrones – Prince Harry and Prince Willem Alexander respectively – secretly took up residence at a country house just outside Salisbury, where they are protected by a small detachment of Gurkhas.

GCHQ Bude


GCHQ Bude was a satellite ground station on the north Cornwall coast operated by GCHQ, the British Signals Intelligence Service. The station was abandoned by the Government in 1998, with personnel relocating to Plymouth Naval Base, together with what equipment they could carry. Small groups of scavengers have visited the site several times since, but a number of specialised electronic items remain (including some larger items that the scavengers were unable to carry away).

Drake’s Drum


Drake’s Drum is a snare drum that Sir Francis Drake took with him when

he circumnavigated the World in the 16th Century. Shortly before his

death the Drum was taken to Buckland Abbey, near Yelverton in Devon,

where it has become part of English folklore. Legend has it that it can be

heard to beat when England is at War or significant national events take

place and it has been claimed that it was heard beating in the moments

before the first nuclear attack on the UK in November 1997. The Drum’s

current whereabouts are unknown.


South of the M4


Southern Wiltshire and eastern Dorset are both firmly under the control of HMG, with large military garrisons based in Salisbury, Warminster, Bovington, and Blandford Forum, all of which have long been associated with the British Army. Headquarters, United Kingdom Land Forces is still based at its pre War home, Erskine Barracks near Salisbury, whilst Royal Air Force Strike Command Headquarters relocated to RAF Upavon, also near Salisbury, at the start of 1998 following the destruction of RAF High Wycombe.  Wiltshire is also home to two of the Royal Air Force's remaining air bases, RAF Lyneham and RAF Boscombe Down (the former is home to the remnants of the RAF's C130 Hercules Transport fleet, whilst the latter was a Ministry of Defence test site before the War; converted to an operational airbase at the end of 1997, it is now home to a number of the RAF's surviving fighter aircraft, including the last operational Eurofighter). The Army’s 43rd Infantry Brigade carries out regular patrols throughout the area, operating as far north as the M4 Motorway and far as west as a line running from Bath in the north to Dorchester in the south, although long range patrols are occasionally carried out beyond that, pushing west as far as Taunton, and, less frequently, north as what remains of Cheltenham and Gloucester. Patrols operating outside HMG's borders will be well armed and well equipped, including radios to stay in contact with their headquarters. They will usually use Land Rovers, usually either WMIK or Snatch models, although Fox and Ferret armoured cars will also occasionally be encountered.


Also located close to Salisbury is the military and Government research centre at Porton Down. Before the war the exact nature of the research carried out at Porton Down was a closely guarded secret however it was widely believed to carry out work in the biological and chemical warfare fields. Porton Down remains shrouded in secrecy and is heavily guarded by the Army.

Avon and Somerset


Bristol was destroyed in the nuclear exchange and is currently inhabited by refugees and scavengers who are rarely bothered by anyone. The rest of the region is largely rural; a number of towns and villages have formed loose alliances with each other, and outsiders are generally unwelcome. The area has a small surplus of food which supports a modest trade, much of which is with Exeter in Devon. The Army patrol along the M4 as far as Bristol, and has established a presence in Bath, so the area has not suffered greatly from marauder incursions from the north - its greatest threat would come should Marcus Rose emerge as the victor in the struggle for control of Devon and Cornwall, for it is unlikely that the smaller communities in Somerset would be able to offer much resistance to the Duke's forces should that happen.


Many refugees entered the area after the nuclear exchanges, and a large number have lingered at Minehead in Somerset, on the edge of Exmoor, where they have occupied a former Holiday Camp (the site's chalets offered ready made accommodation). Several hundred strong and led by a man known only as Vince, a forty year old from Bristol, the refugees have established a relatively peaceful co existence with the local population.

Devon and Cornwall


Three main power blocs currently exist in Devon and Cornwall, none of them strong enough to control the entire region. HMG maintains an enclave at the Plymouth Naval Base in Devon. Consisting mainly of Royal Navy personnel, the Plymouth garrison is relatively powerful but is isolated from the main body of HMG’s forces, and is reliant on resupply by sea.  


The entire western part of Cornwall has been taken over by a marauder army that numbers several thousand strong and is led by Marcus Rose, a former Major in the Parachute Regiment, who has declared himself to the Duke of Cornwall. Rose sees himself as the leader of the whole of post war England; his forces are well armed and continue to expand eastwards. He tolerates no dissent, and the people of Cornwall live in terror of him and his troops. He has taken control of a tin mine, using slave labour to mine the tin. A large number of Rose’s troops are refugees who entered the area in 1998.


A few brave souls continue to resist the Duke’s forces under the banner of Mebyon Kernow (Cornish for Sons of Cornwall). Recently a small group of MI5 operatives have entered Cornwall and Mebyon Kernow’s leadership are keen to make contact with them.


The third force in the region is the city of Exeter and its neighbouring towns, which have formed a mutual trade and defence alliance. The alliance is led by a council consisting of members of the pre war local Government and prominent citizens and headed by Gillian Gardiner, the former leader of the Exeter City Council. The various towns belonging to the alliance maintain an isolationist policy; those entering the area to trade or who have useful skills are welcomed, but refugees are turned back, by lethal force if necessary. In order to protect their borders, Exeter and its neighbours can call on a defence force of several hundred soldiers and policeman, supported by large numbers of civilian auxiliaries.


Both HMG and the Duke of Cornwall are eager to establish a relationship with Exeter’s leadership; a three man undercover MI5 team entered Exeter at the start of March and the Duke has also despatched envoys to the City. The Government’s goal is to bring Exeter back into the fold peacefully and re-establish a land corridor to the Plymouth garrison. Marcus Rose feels that if Exeter can be convinced to ally itself with him then Plymouth would be isolated amidst a sea of enemies. Gillian Gardiner is unwilling to enter into dialogue with Rose, but there are others in Exeter who feel differently. Noteworthy amongst this group is Steven Kemp, a local businessman who was rumoured to have links to Exeter’s criminal underworld before the War.


Elsewhere in Devon, the Torbay area is in utter anarchy, with numerous different groups all fighting with each other to try and gain control. Dartmoor Forest is home to a marauder group consisting of Warsaw Pact Prisoners of War who broke out from Okehampton POW Camp in Devon in 1998; known as Konev’s Wolves, they are led by Captain Nikolai Konev, a Spetznaz officer captured in Norway. Other escapees from Okehampton can be found throughout the region, either individually or in small groups of less than half a dozen. Whilst some of these groups have joined local militias, a handful have found their way into the ranks of the Duke of Cornwall’s forces.