THE jury is still out on if the Nazi forces had invaded this country in the summer of 1940 as to whether they would have succeeded.

Between that summer and the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 the nation geared up for total war.

In a new book Secret Wartime Britain, Colin Philpott charts the many places across these isles that had somewhat darker purposes.

Interrogation centres and prisoner of war camps are listed along with the many secret locations of command and control centres.

Philpott relates how captured German scientists had their conversations bugged in an attempt to find out if the Nazis were on the verge of creating a nuclear bomb.

If they had so much of what is conveyed in this fascinating volume would have proved ineffective.

For anyone interested in the fate of this nation during the war this book illuminates the efforts to ensure we remained free from Hitler’s plans.

In Wiltshire there was the Imber evacuation in which the Salisbury Plain community were made to leave their homes on the promise of an eventual return.

Their village was then used to train troops in fighting house to house combat in readiness for the liberation of France. Sadly of course the residents have not been allowed to return.

A similar event took place in Tyneham over the boarder in Dorset.

And then there were the elaborate decoy operations such as creating a phoney Bristol on the Mendips with lights at night to trick the Luftwaffe into bombing the hills instead of the city.

Philpott writes in his conclusion about the remarkable fact that so many of the secret places of the war still remain secret, or at least little known.

The reasons were two fold he says. Firstly the establishment has a tendency towards secrecy anyway, and the other reason is that shortly after the war was ended code breaking operations such as those used at Bletchley Park were immediately deployed in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

The last thing the Government wanted to do was to let the Kremlin know just what they knew and how they could crack an enemy's secret codes.

Philpott concludes: "The Silent relics of Rhydymwyn and of The Paddock and many other places are testament to the vital role played by the ordinary people of Britain in keeping quiet in the Second World War."

One myth the author dispels is the notion of People's War, a war in which the nation united to defeat Hitler.

In fact crime levels soared as did the black market while the authorities were more concerned about a potential arrival of German troops landing. However one aspect of the war that did work among almost everyone was the careless talk costs lives. Philpott notes that very few people were charged under the secrecy laws suggesting there was a collective fear of what could occur with the example of Poland in mind.