Alternate History

United Kingdom (1983: Doomsday)

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United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday
Preceded by 1922-1984 Succeeded by
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Celtic Alliance, Essex, Kingdom of Cleveland, Kingdom of Northumbria, East Britain, Woodbridge
Flag of the United Kingdom Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom
Flag of Britain Coat of Arms of Britain
Capital: London
  other languages: Irish, Ulster Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Welsh, Cornish.
Type of government: Constitutional Monarchy, Monarch - Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister - Margaret Thatcher (Conservative).

Before Doomsday

Uk counties map-1

UK including English, Welsh and Ulster counties

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK, or Britain) was a country and sovereign state located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. It was an island nation, spanning an archipelago including Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland was the only part of the UK with a land border with another sovereign state, sharing it with the Republic of Ireland (which became independent from the UK in 1922). Apart from this land border, the UK was surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea.

The United Kingdom was a constitutional monarchy (headed by Queen Elizabeth II) and unitary state consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It was governed by a parliamentary system with its seat of government the Palace of Westminster (otherwise known as the Houses of Parliament) in London, the capital.

The Channel Island Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man were Crown Dependencies, which means they are constitutionally tied to the British monarch but were not part of the UK. The UK had fourteen overseas territories that are not constitutionally part of the UK. These territories were remnants of the British Empire, which at its height in 1922 encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land surface, the largest empire in history.

Government of the UK

The United Kingdom was a constitutional monarchy: Queen Elizabeth II was the head of state of the UK as well as many other Commonwealth countries, putting the UK in a personal union with those other states. The Crown had sovereignty over the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, which were not part of the United Kingdom though the UK government managed their foreign affairs and defence and the UK Parliament had the authority to legislate on their behalf.

The UK had a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that had been emulated around the world — a legacy of the former British Empire. The Parliament of the United Kingdom that met in the Palace of Westminster had two houses:

  • An elected House of Commons held 650 elected Members of Parliament or MP's, each represented a single area of the country known as a constituency, They were elected in General Elections. General elections were called by the Monarch when the Prime Minister so advises. Though there was no minimum term for a Parliament, the Parliament Act (1911) requires that a new election needed to be called within five years of the previous general election.
  • Also there was an appointed House of Lords taken from the aristocracy as well as nominated lords from the general population,

The position of Prime Minister, the UK's head of government, belonged to the Member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in the House of Commons, usually the leader of the largest political party in that chamber. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are formally appointed by the Monarch to form Her Majesty's Government, though the Prime Minister chooses the Cabinet, and by convention HM The Queen respects the Prime Minister's choices. The Prime Minister at the time of the attack was Margaret Thatcher.


At approximately 1:42am GMT on September 26, 1983, American satellites picked up Soviet ballistic missiles heading for targets in Great Britain. Upon confirmation by ground-based radar, an official from the Home Office stationed at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, authorized the issue of the dreaded "Four Minute Warning".

Immediately the alert of an imminent nuclear attack was sent to all military headquarters, police stations, hospitals, and other key installations. A nationwide network of sirens were sounded. Radio and television broadcasts were interrupted and the warning message was broadcast from an emergency studio located at the BBC Broadcast House in London.

BBC Emergency Broadcast

The entire British nuclear arsenal (which consisted of Resolution class submarines carrying Chevaline SLBMs) was launched in a counterstrike against targets in the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries. military policy was that of the four boats, three were on duty and one in for refit. Each Submarine carried 16 Chevaline Polaris SLBM's, with a range of 1950 nautical miles (3610km). Each missile carried 3 x 200 KT nuclear warheads. On DD HMS Repulse was in dry dock in Faslaine in Scotland, unable to launch whilst not underwater it was destroyed when Faslaine was hit by a tactical nuclear missile. HMS Resolution, HMS Renown and HMS Revenge were on duty and launched their weapons before the first bombs landed in the UK, in total the UK launched 144 nuclear warheads, it is unknown how many detonated.

Nuclear impact points2

Despite the little time available, military personnel managed to evacuate some prominent people before the missiles struck. Among those evacuated were Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip (The Duke of Edinburgh) who were at Windsor at the time of the attack. They, along with at least twenty minor government officials, were taken in helicopters specially designed to withstand the effects of EMP burst. Prime Minister Thatcher was in Canada at the time of the attack, contact was lost immediately and she was declared dead (even though she wasn't) on 27th September. Prince Andrew who was serving aboard a Royal Navy vessel in the North Atlantic at the time of the attack arrived on the Isle of Wight on the 22nd October 1983.

HMS Resolution and HMS Revenge survived Doomsday and reported for the Gathering Order. After debriefing the commanders of the vessels gave their targets as:

UK Nuclear weapon destinations

  • Moscow - Multiple warheads
  • Warsaw - Multiple warheads
  • Leningrad - Multiple warheads
  • Volgograd - Multiple warheads
  • Odessa - Multiple warheads
  • Nizhny Novgorod - Multiple warheads
  • Sevastopol - Multiple warheads
  • Gdansk
  • Riga
  • Vilnius
  • Minsk
  • Kiev
  • Tallinn
  • Arkangelsk
  • Petrozavodsk

It is unknown however how many warheads actually detonated and/or hit their designated targets.

Waves of Attacks

Doomsday in the UK

There were three waves of Nuclear detonations across the UK,

  • The first wave of tactical nuclear weapons detonated across the UK military bases between 1.52am and 1.58am. One-MT detonations occurred over Portsmouth, Southampton and Plymouth (probably due to their large military bases) as well as two one-MT detonations over the City of London.
  • Less than ten minutes later a second wave hit the 15 largest population centres across the UK between 2.02am and 2.11am. These were London (seven separate blasts), Birmingham, Glasgow (missed, detonated to the west of the city over Dumbarton), Liverpool (missed, detonated over the north of the city near Aintree), Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Leicester, Coventry, Kingston upon Hull, Bradford, Cardiff and Belfast.
  • The third and final wave hit the remaining population centres and re-hit some of the population centres hit in the first and second waves. These hit between 2.22am and 2.36am.
  • In total between 65 and 70 large (100 KT+) nuclear weapons fall on major UK cities and around 70 tactical nuclear weapons (ten KT) fall on military base throughout the UK on doomsday. Nuclear blast totals in the UK exceeded 15 MT.

Due to the time of the attack the first many people knew of the attack was a bright flash that woke them up followed by the blast wave that killed them. Of those who were awake at the time of the attack and survived to tell their stories, tell of seeing a new (or in some cases a second or third) sun in the sky followed by hurricane force winds that were burning hot.

Although details of the destruction of London are sketchy, it is believed that at least 12 nuclear detonations occurred in the Greater London area, two detonation in first wave (over the City of London), seven detonations in second wave, three more in the third wave. A Celtic Alliance pilot on a reconnaissance flight over the area in 2007 described it as "craters, rubble, and glass". The Greater London area is currently off limits to all but official scientific and military personnel. A comprehensive expedition into the wasteland is scheduled for 2012.

Other major cities hit included:

  • Manchester - second wave (200 KT), re-hit with third wave (100 KT)
  • Birmingham - second wave (200 KT), re-hit with third wave (100 KT)
  • Belfast - second wave (200 KT)
  • Edinburgh - second wave (200 KT)
  • Leeds - second wave (200 KT), re-hit with third wave (100 KT)
  • Sheffield - second wave (200 KT), re-hit with third wave (100 KT)
  • Bradford - second wave (100 KT)
  • York - third wave (100 KT)
  • Kingston upon Hull - second wave (100 KT)
  • Newcastle - third wave (200 KT)
  • Sunderland - third wave (200 KT)
  • Bristol - second wave (100 KT)
  • Leicester - second wave (200 KT)
  • Norwich- third wave (100 KT)
  • Coventry - second wave (100 KT)
  • Cardiff - second wave (200 KT)
  • Stoke on Trent - third wave (100 KT)
  • Wolverhamton - third wave (100 KT)
  • Nottingham -third wave (200 KT)
  • Plymouth - three or possibly four detonations over naval bases. - first wave (1 MT), re-hit in third wave 2 or 3 (200 KT)
  • Portsmouth - two or possibly three detonations over HMNB Portsmouth (HMS Nelson) area.- first wave (1 MT), re-hit in third wave 2 or 3 (200 KT)
  • Southampton - three detonations over port area.- first wave (1 MT), re-hit in third wave (2 x 200 KT). Also destroyed in the attack was RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 which was still undergoing a major refit after the Falklands war.
  • Reading - third wave (100 KT)
  • Dudley - third wave (100 KT)
  • Northampton - third wave (200 KT)
  • Durham - third wave (100 KT)
  • Luton - third wave (200 KT)
  • Swansea - third wave (200 KT)
  • Bournemouth - third wave (200 KT)
  • Southend on Sea - third wave (100 KT)
  • Swindon - third wave (100 KT)
  • Huddersfield - third wave (100 KT)
  • Oxford - third wave (100 KT)
  • Cambridge - third wave (100 KT)
  • Stockport - third wave (100 KT)
  • Peterborough - third wave (100 KT)
  • Slough - third wave (100 KT)
  • Dover - third wave (100 KT)
  • Brighton - third wave (100 KT)
  • Gloucester - third wave (100 KT)
  • Rotherham - third wave (100 KT)
  • Newport - third wave (100 KT)

Several major cities in the United Kingdom avoided complete destruction, due to malfunctioning missiles, these included:

  • Middlesbrough - one 100 KT hit over the North Sea NE of Hartlepool, one 100 KT over the North Yorkshire Moors, and one 100 KT bomb discovered unexploded in 2010.
  • Liverpool - (200 KT) hit to the north of the city, over Aintree.
  • Glasgow - (200 KT) hit to the west of the city, over Dunbarton.

Deaths in the United Kingdom on Doomsday and within one week of the attack were estimated from 30-48 million.

British Dependent Territories

Many of the British Dependent Territories survived unscathed however some were targeted on Doomsday

  • Hong Kong - 1 MT
  • Gibraltar - 100 KT
  • Military bases on Cyprus - Akroteri and Dehkelia - 10 KT tactical weapon, Island became Cyprus part of the Greek Federation
  • British Indian Ocean Territory - UK/USA military base on Diego Garcia - 10 KT tactical weapon. The rest of the islands, known as the Chagos Islands, became part of Mauritius

Of those which survived many became there own countries after Doomsday

The First Few Months

About three weeks after the attack, the surviving military, Government and Monarchy evacuated to the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. The Isle of Wight survived the attacks fairly well with only light radioactive fallout. The Isle was picked for evacuation to because it was hoped that it would act as a natural barrier to refugees who may try to storm the refuge for its supplies. Several thousand refugees tried to make their way to the Isle of Wight believing it to be a safe haven, however many died as they failed to find seaworthy boats and tried to swim. The Royal Navy assisted in carrying some refugees to the Isle and it became home to the British Provincial Administration which was based in Newport and headed by Acting Prime Minister William Whitelaw. The Isle of Wight retained some form of order in the days following Doomsday, especially after the arrival of the known surviving members of the Royal Family (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and Prince Andrew).

Queen Elizabeth II died in early 1984 of radiation induced liver and kidney failure, King Andrew I (Andrew Albert Christian Edward Windsor) is crowned in Osbourne House on 23rd April 1984.

The only Members of Parliament known to have survived were five members of the Scottish National Party who were on the Outer and Inner Hebrides at the time of the attack. One of those was Gordon Wilson M.P., the leader of the SNP and a member of the Privy Council, which made him the de facto head of the UK government. The five MPs were rescued by Irish Republic military forces and sent to Ireland. In 1986, they would sign the official merger of the states of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, creating the Celtic Alliance.


Due to the education about nuclear war that the British people had been given since the 1960's most people realised that the best place to be was undercover or inside. It had been decided by government scientists that it would be best to stay undercover for a minimum of three days, five would be better. Many people survived due to this education.

Many people however had no choice but to go outside and move around the irradiated landscape, particularly in areas on the outskirts of bombed cities.

Within a week of the attack law and order had almost totally collapsed throughout the country, records of this time are scarse due to the chaos however it is known that certain areas former military units and police units became feral bandits and started attacking bands of survivors for food, water and medical supplies.

It is estimated that of the UK population of 56.3 million approximately 25 million died within one hour of the attacks, mainly due to the blasts and severe burns, another 16-18 million died within two weeks from radiation poisoning and lack of clean water. Millions more died during the winter due to the cold and disease that struck many evacuation camps. By September 1984 the UK population is estimated to be between 11 - 12 million people, most living in coastal Wales, Northern England and Scotland.

The population continued to decrease due to radiation related diseases, famine and other contagious diseases such as Cholera and TB: it reached its low in early 1989 at roughly 6.5 million.

Doomsday + 25

2008, 25 years after the Doomsday nuclear war the population of the area formally known as the UK stands at roughly 7.5 million, mostly in the Celtic Alliance (North Scotland and various islands, and Ulster having an approximate population of 720,000 and a further four million in the former Republic of Ireland).

Approximately 2,700,000 people live in the area that used to be England, of which roughly 2,125,000 live in organised nations. These population levels are roughly the same as the UK post-Black Death (1347-50) levels

After the attacks many warlords (usually former military or police force officers) began building small personal empires based on fear and hunger, it took several years for these warlords to either be overthrown by their subjects or replaced by more democratic system of government.


In a similar way to the way the English nation continued after the Black Death in the late 1340's, many small villages which had a population less than 1500 people on DD have been abandoned, with people moving onto farmland in small farming co-operatives or into larger market townships for protection and for trade.

Many of these market townships have population of less than 2500. There are only a few towns or cities across the former UK with more than 25,000 citizens.

Large areas of land around the nuked cities were declared quarantined zones to protect humans from the radiation, these areas have returned to the wildwood that would naturally exist in the UK. The majority of former central England has begun to return to this 'wildwood' state due to the lack of population and agriculture, it is assumed that some of the human populations in that area have reverted to a hunter/gatherer style of living, thus reducing the radiation doses they acquire by moving in and out of irradiated zones.

Many new species have started developing:

  • A wild boar type animal has appeared from domesticated pigs that escaped after DD.
  • Many larger breeds of dogs have gone feral and become a mid-sized wolf type animal.
  • Feral cows and horses have appeared in woodland and heathland particularly in Northern Britain.
  • There are even rumours of big cats in some of the more remote areas and in quarantine zones, possibly from escaped pets and zoo animals

Successor States (as of 2011)

  • Newolland founded 1984 as East Britain became Newolland in 2011. Lincolnshire, North Cambridgeshire, West Norfolk, Eastern Northamptonshire, Northern Nottinghamshire, Eastern Leicester and Rutland. Population - 157,000.
  • Democratic Republic of Lindsey - central Lincolnshire. Population - approx 75,000
  • Duchy of Lancaster - Established 1984, former county of Lancashire. Population - 215,000.
  • Woodbridge - established 1986, Former Suffolk. Population - 150,000.
  • Matlock - established 1988, founded around town of Matlock, Derbyshire. Population - 9000.
  • Essex - established 1991, former counties of Essex, Hetfordshire and parts of outer London. Population - 786,000.
  • Federal Republic of the Isle of Wight and Sussex (Known as Southern England) established 1992, Isle of Wight, parts of mainland. Population - 189,000.
  • Kingdom of Northumbria - established 1993, Former county of Northumberland (North of Rheged became part of Northumbria in May 2011) Population - 136,000.
  • Kingdom of Cleveland - established 1995, Former counties of Cleveland, Durham, North, East, West and South Yorkshire. Population - 574,000.
  • Southern Scotland - Population - 42,000.
  • Westmorland and Furness Territories - Established 2010, former southern Rheged. Population - 21,000 Currently a protectorate of Duchy of Lancaster.

OBN officials have said that in November 2010 the population in survivor states in the former England reached three million, by the end of 2011 it is expected that the population of survivor states (excluding unknown populations levels in uncontrolled territory) will be approximately 3,030,000

In Scotland (including Scottish Islands) the population is 620,000, in Ulster to population is 320,000 and the various former UK islands totaling 34,000.

UK populations outside of the former UK

  • Celtic Alliance - established 1986, former Irish Republic, Ulster, Isle of Man, parts of coastal Wales, parts of coastal Cornwall and Devon, the majority of Northern Scotland, the Channel Islands, Former French Brittany and Normandy. Population - 5,500,000.
  • New Britain (In Africa) - established 1987, parts of former Republic of South Africa. Population - 2,500,000.

Due to the locations of the nuclear impacts on doomsday the majority of the central UK is still uninhabitable due to radiation, as such many successor states have been set up around the coastline or in areas that were semi-rural pre-Doomsday.

Evacuation Order

In early 1987 radio announcements across all bands tell anyone who wants to be evacuated to the New Britain and can make it before December 31st 1989 are to make their way to the Isle of Wight, due to the radioactivity still in the lower atmosphere coming from London and other central English cities that had been nuked, as well as the destroyed receivers across the country the radio announcement only reaches as far north as the M4 corridor. This leads to only 17,000 people getting to the Isle of Wight by the end of 1989 and not the expected 100,000+ that the military were expecting. Due to the lack of people arriving scientists mistakenly believe that the UK has been hit much harder than they expected.

In the next three years the Isle of Wight was a base for Royal Navy ships searching for a suitable new home for the British people and when they eventually secured an area of South Africa it was the base for the evacuation of the country. The last Evacuation ship left for New Britain in mid 1992


Across the UK many military bases were hit with tactical nuclear weapons (less than 10 KT). They are believed to have been launched from Soviet nuclear submarines based in the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.

Many of the Royal navy vessels were destroyed in attacks on Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton. However, many vessels out at sea survived the attack and assisted in the evacuation of the UK to the Isle of Wight and on to New Britain, where they became part of the Navy of New Britain.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) was particularly badly hit with almost every air base hit with tactical nuclear weapons, many older planes in the sky at the time of the attack crashed due to the severe turbulence and the EMP, those which had hardened electronics discovered their air fields had been destroyed on their return to base, many flew on until they ran out of fuel and then crashed, many airmen bailed out into the irradiated countryside and died of radiation poisoning. By the 30th September 1983 95% of the RAF personnel had been killed or seriously injured.

The British Army was also hit badly with its bases and even some training grounds hit, it was estimated that four-fifths of the UK based army died with one hour of the attacks, many survivors were on home leave and on returning to their bases found then obliterated. Of the surviving leading commanders of the army, several set up survivor states, as well as some small military dictatorships and some founded the racist True British Army.

Military Bases after DD

Many nations declared the bombed former military bases safe to enter 25 years after DD in late 2008, as scientists have ascertained that the radiation levels are now safe. However due to the time between DD and the 'all clear' the majority of any surviving military equipment had deteriorated to such a point that they are unusable and the bases themselves are completely overgrown with wildwood regrowth.

Weather at time of attack

The weather conditions on DD varied depending on where in the country people were located. On DD a large low pressure area was located north of Scotland with its centre roughly between the Shetland islands and Orkney islands, with a pressure of 988 (millibars) at its centre, between Southern England and northern France was located a large high pressure system of 1003 (millibars). This configuration of pressure systems lead to northeast to easterly winds blowing across the UK.

In Scotland the winds were registered between 30mph in Aberdeen and 20mph in Edinburgh, and across Scotland bands of heavy rain moved south west across the country. The wind strength decreased rapidly the further south in the country south from the town of Filey, East Yorkshire the wind was negligible, however the minimal amount of wind blowing off the North Sea was bringing heavy sea fog and drizzle far inland. In areas with little or no fog the air temperature had dropped to around Zero Celsius.

Once south of Lincolnshire the skies were clear and due to the lack of wind the air temperature had dropped well below freezing to approximately minus 4 Celsius.

As the low cloud blew across the country it reached highlands in the east of the country and it began producing heavy rain over the highland areas of Wales, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall.

Future Habitability of UK Cities

Scientists working for the Celtic Alliance have calculated that any UK cities hit with 100 KT detonations will begin to be completely habitable again by roughly 2020 and cities hit by 200 KT detonations will be habitable by roughly 2070, any hit with less than a total yield of one MT should be habitable by 2120.

Cities with one MT or larger total blasts, to all intents and purposes, will be uninhabitable indefinitely. These areas are Central London (within ten miles of Whitehall), and five miles around the detonation points of Southampton, Portsmouth and Plymouth.

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