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The Communications Centre Lokki

The Communications Centre Lokki

 

The headquarters communications centre in Mikkeli operated in a cave quarried into Naisvuori hill during the Continuation War of 1941-44. It transmitted the headquarters signals and telephone and teleprinter messages. In an adjacent cave there was the Air Surveillance District Centre, a German signal station and rest rooms for the personnel of the communications centre. There were also workrooms for Commander-in-Chief Mannerheim and his immediate subordinates.

The idea of restoring the communications centre was conceived in the late 1980s. The badly decayed timbers had to be taken down and a similar structure was built in their place. The rebuilt communications centre was officially opened on 4.12.1995.

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Photo: Jorma Hytönen

On the recommendation of the Defence Council it was decided on 17.7.1939 to locate the army headquarters in Mikkeli. In autumn 1939 quarrying of Naisvuori was begun, the intention being to use the resulting caves for the offices of the headquarters. But the quarrying was not completed until the time of the interim peace, so the headquarters had to be accommodated in the nearby Central Elementary School. During the Winter War, the headquarters communications centre was in the cellar of the school.

 

During the period of the interim peace, the headquarters
were transferred to Helsinki. The unsettled military situation
in Europe meant that the interim peace lasted only until the
summer of 1941. Preparations for the relocation of the
headquarters in Mikkeli had begun in May 1941 and the
order to transfer the headquarters was given on 24.6.1941.

Workrooms for the Commander-in-Chief and the rest of the
high command were found in the Central Elementary School.
The headquarters communications lines passed through the communications centre, which had the code name
'Lokki' (Seagull).

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The headquarters telephone exchange in the cave quarried into Naisvuori hill. Photo: Military archives

 

Radio communications were handled via the local radio
station. Lokki's staff numbered 100-130 people, mainly
members of the women's auxiliary services. These women
were responsible for the telephone and teleprinter
connections. Professionals from the Post and Telegraph
Office were seconded to the centre to take charge of
technical matters. The staff worked in three shifts with
about 30 people in each shift.

 

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A Hughes teleprinter in the
Communications Centre Lokki.
Photo: Matti Sikanen

 

The Communications Centre Lokki
Entrance at the corner of Vuorikatu and Ristimäenkatu
50100 Mikkeli

Open 2.5. - 31.8. daily 10-17.
At other times to order tel. +358 15 1942424.
Contacts
 

Entrance fee 3 €, under 18-year-olds free of charge, groups (more than 12 persons) 2,50 €/person.
A joint ticket to the Headquarters Museum and the Communications Centre Lokki 7 €/person, groups (more than 12 persons) 6 €/person.

Visits outside opening hours 60 € plus entrance fee. Visits outside opening hours on Saturdays, on the eve of public holidays, from 18 to 24, on Sundays and holidays 100 € plus entrance fee.

Free admission on June 4 (Defence Forces' Day).