List showing Salcombe as a “nuclear target” has “no relevance to the present day”.

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List showing Salcombe as a “nuclear target” has “no relevance to the present day”.

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Salcombe appeared on a Cold War list of “probable nuclear targets” that has been shared recently on social media, despite it not being “based on recent intelligence information”.


The South Hams town appeared on a 1970s list released by the National Archives in 2014, a list that “doesn't give any reliable indication of the situation today” according to online fact-checker Full Fact.

The list of 106 “probable targets” has recently been republished on social media due to the current situation in Ukraine, despite having nothing to do with anything since the Cold War ended in 1989.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Defence commented at the time of their release: "These are historical records and like many other documents released every year by the National Archives have little or no relevance to the present day."

At the time it was written, on 2 May, 1972, Salcombe was thought by the Ministry of Defence to have been one of those targets “because in the event of a decapitatory bombing of London it was going to be a regional seat of government” (The Telegraph, 2017)

So the inclusion of our tourist-trap town appears to be a twist of fate or a quirk of history, and nothing to worry about in the whirl of unsettling current events.

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