Armed and ready: For the first time since WWII, London’s green space is transformed by anti-aircraft guns for Olympic ring of steel

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It is a sight which many older generations thought they would never see in this country again.

Soldiers in residential tower blocks and green open spaces were yesterday pictured installing surface-to-air missiles at six sites across the capital, a show of strength not seen in this country since the Second World War.

With two weeks to go before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, it marks a dramatic development in the biggest peacetime security operation the country has ever seen.

Security: Soldiers in residential tower blocks and green open spaces were yesterday pictured installing surface-to-air missiles at a number of sites across the capital. This image shows Rapier missile systems on Blackheath Common
Show of strength: With two weeks to go before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, it marks a dramatic development as part of the security operationShow of strength: With two weeks to go before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, it marks a dramatic development as part of the security operation
Powerful: With two weeks to go before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, it marks a dramatic development as part of the security operation. Rapier missiles are pictured being unpacked on Blackheath CommonPowerful: Rapier missiles are pictured being unpacked on Blackheath Common
Protection: An anti-aircraft rocket is pictured being put into place at the William Girling ReservoirProtection: An anti-aircraft rocket is pictured being put into place at the William Girling Reservoir

Yesterday, the military began installing Rapier and high-velocity missile systems at the six sites in Leytonstone, Bow, Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood, both in South East London, Enfield and Epping Forest.

The most controversial of these is at the residential block Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London.

Swarming like ants across the rooftop, members of the Royal Artillery were pictured setting up the weapons.

 

Troops carried truckloads of equipment up the 17-storey block ready to assemble it to protect the Olympic Games from terrorist attack.

The Starstreak high-velocity missile systems, whose laser-guided weapons have a range of 3.4 miles, are so powerful they can bring down an aircraft.

Residents this week lost their bid to force a judicial review into the decision to deploy the air defences above their heads.

Different times: Anti-aircraft guns similar to those being used to protect the Olympic Games are seen in action in England during World War TwoDifferent times: Anti-aircraft guns similar to those being used to protect the Olympic Games are seen in action in England during World War Two
Deadly: This picture shows troops testing anti-aircraft guns in Hyde Park, London in 1939. Many older generations of people no doubt thought they would never see such weaponry in the capital againDeadly: This picture shows troops testing anti-aircraft guns in Hyde Park, London in 1939. Many older generations of people no doubt thought they would never see such weaponry in the capital again
Force: Soldiers are pictured preparing the missile site on the top of Lexington Building, Tower Hamlets. It is part of the biggest peacetime security operation the country has ever seenForce: Soldiers are pictured preparing the missile site on the top of Lexington Building, Tower Hamlets. It is part of the biggest peacetime security operation the country has ever seen
Controversial: This picture shows the site on top of the Lexington Building, in Bow, London, from a distance. Residents have been left alarmed by the plans to store missiles on the six sitesControversial: This picture shows the site on top of the Lexington Building, in Bow, London, from a distance. Residents have been left alarmed by the plans to store missiles on the six sites

The tenants fear the move could make them a terrorist target but security chiefs say there is ‘no credible threat’ and the siting of the missiles is ‘proportionate.

Another Starstreak system was also placed at the Lexington Building, a gated community in Bow, East London.

Cover is also being provided by Rapier towed missile systems, which have a range of 7.5 miles, at Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood, both in South East London, a reservoir in Enfield and a farm in Epping Forest.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), security service and police maintain there is ‘no credible threat’ to the Games and say the siting of the missiles is both ‘legitimate and proportionate’.

Preparation: Soldiers are pictured yesterday installing Rapier and high-velocity missile systems on the roof of Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east LondonPreparation: Soldiers are pictured yesterday installing Rapier and high-velocity missile systems on the roof of Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London
Work to do: Around 12 soldiers wearing camouflage arrived at Fred Wigg tower near the Olympic site and were spotted carrying crates and other equipment into the blockWork to do: Around 12 soldiers wearing camouflage arrived at Fred Wigg tower near the Olympic site and were spotted carrying crates and other equipment into the block
Deterrent: Once on top of the building, they began constructing the surface-to air missile system on the roof Deterrent: Once on top of the building, they began constructing the surface-to air missile system on the roof
Bizarre: A woman goes about her daily business close to the residential tower block as soldiers prepared the missile defence systemBizarre: A woman goes about her daily business close to the residential tower block as soldiers prepared the missile defence system

The Defence Secretary has described the ground-based air defence systems as ‘just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan’ which would provide ‘both reassurance and a powerful deterrent’ during the Games.

The security plan includes a helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean, being moored in the River Thames, with RAF Typhoon jets stationed ready at RAF Northolt and Puma helicopters at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford.

David Cameron will have the grim task of ordering the Armed Forces to use the missile defence systems to shoot down a passenger airliner over Britain if a suicide attack is suspected of being underway.

The Prime Minister will be ultimately responsible for a decision to fire missiles to blast a suicide jet, possibly carrying terrified innocent civilians, out of the skies.

Colonel Jon Campbell, commander of the Joint Ground Based Air Defence, has previously said: ‘We have done as much as we can to allay people’s fears.

‘The Rapier system has a world-class radar on it and is particularly good at picking up low and slow-moving objects in the sky.

‘It means we’re able to get the very best picture of what is happening in the skies of London.’

Strategic: An aerial view of the Lexington Building, in Bow, London, which is one of the six missile sites. The Defence Secretary has described the ground-based air defence systems as being a 'powerful deterrent' during the GamesStrategic: An aerial view of the Lexington Building, in Bow, London, which is one of the six missile sites. The Defence Secretary has described the ground-based air defence systems as being a ‘powerful deterrent’ during the Games
Not happy: A legal bid by the residents of the Fred Wigg tower, in Leytonstone, pictured, was dropped after the High Court rejected the challenge yesterdayNot happy: A legal bid by the residents of the Fred Wigg tower, in Leytonstone, pictured, was dropped after the High Court rejected the challenge yesterday
Armed: Blackheath Common was also chosen because of its strategic location to the Olympic site Armed: Blackheath Common was also chosen because of its strategic location to the Olympic site
Secure: An aerial picture of the William Girling Reservoir, in Enfield, London. Yesterday troops began setting up missiles at the siteSecure: An aerial picture of the William Girling Reservoir, in Enfield, London. Yesterday troops began setting up missiles at the site
Open space: Oxleas Meadow, near Shooters Hill, London, is also one of the six sitesOpen space: Oxleas Meadow, near Shooters Hill, London, is also one of the six sites

Air Vice Marshall Stuart Atha also said previously: ‘We want the focus to be on Usain Bolt this summer and not us. We’re very proud to be part of this plan to deliver a safe and secure Olympics.’

A campaign to stop the Ministry of Defence deploying surface to air missiles on top of homes as part of Olympic security was taken to Parliament yesterday.

Labour’s John Cryer tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons urging MPs to signal their opposition to the plans.

The Leyton and Wanstead MP said residents in his constituency feared the result of deploying the weapons, which could be used to shoot down aircraft threatening the London 2012 Olympics over east London.

A legal bid by the residents of the Fred Wigg tower, in Leytonstone, was dropped after the High Court rejected the challenge yesterday.

Mr Cryer’s motion said: ‘This House recognises the need to provide reasonable security for the Olympic Games but is concerned at the unprecedented decision of the Ministry of Defence, in peacetime and where no emergency has arisen, to station troops, armed police and ground-based air defence missile systems on top of Fred Wigg Tower.

‘(It is) a civilian residential block of flats, in Leyton, and without any consultation with the residents affected and without bringing the matter before Commons.

‘(This is) despite the fact that seven years have passed since this country was awarded the Olympic Games.

Operation: The anti-aircraft rocket sites at Oxleas Woods are heavily protected by security servicesOperation: The anti-aircraft rocket sites at Oxleas Woods are heavily protected by security services
Worries: The anti-aircraft rocket sites have been causing alarm and panic amongst local residentsWorries: The anti-aircraft rocket sites have been causing alarm and panic amongst local residents

‘It calls on the Ministry of Defence to examine urgently the possibility of building a temporary tower for the missile systems instead of siting such weapons and launch pads over the heads of the ordinary men, women and children who have had no say in the decision.

‘Or, alternatively, to provide proper security to protect the residents living in Fred Wigg Tower from potential terrorist attack and to provide financial assistance to concerned and worried residents who wish to move for the duration of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.’

Early day motions are tabled by MPs seeking to gather support for an issue or cause.

Other MPs can sign them to signal support but they are not debated in the Commons. One MP, Labour’s John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) has so far signed Mr Cryer’s motion since it was posted yesterday.

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One Response

  1. Dan Gilfry says:

    The Jew Zionists have taken control of London, their “New Jerusalem”.
    Satan has declared his New World Order.
    God help us all!

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