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Know Your Anderson Acronyms, Part 2

Anderson acronyms are go, once again! Following on from our previous explanatory guide of all the various acronyms utilised throughout the worlds of Gerry Anderson, we’re now turning our attention to organisations seen throughout Gerry Anderson spin-off media!

Away from the various TV series, such Anderson-centric publications as TV Century 21 and its accompanying sprawl of seasonal specials and annuals often included original characters, vehicles, and outfits that never appeared in TV shows or films. Some of these comic-exclusive organisations would appear throughout entire strips, others only in single stories, and several would only ever receive a passing mention in a character biography. Sometimes, this would even create some curious continuity bumps!

Military Organisations

The 1966 TV21 Summer Extra includes several illuminating world-building features which prize open and clarify TV21’s shared world.

W.A.A.F. – World Army Air Force

While many 1960s Anderson TV series regularly featured a World Army and/or World Air Force, TV21 consciously combined the two military powers together to become the World Army Air Force (sometimes stylised as World Army/Air Force). The 1966 TV21 Summer Extra includes a detailed, in-universe breakdown of many of the world’s security, military, and space exploration outfits, and explains that the World Army and World Air Force, previously separate entities, were combined into a single force in 2052. The WA/AF is stationed in Boscombe, England under the command of General McCormack. The World Army itself sometimes still operates independently as the World Army Corps.

W.N. – World Navy

Stingray shows there to be some tense, if amusing, rivalry between the WASPs and the World Navy, which the shared world of TV21 lapped up by explaining how the World Navy had its role initially overtaken by the WASPs. Once again, the 1966 TV21 Summer Extra explains that the World Navy had to endure a period of intense reinvention to become a formidable military force in defending the Earth’s oceans.

S.P.S. – Space Tracking Station

The S.P.S. is described as being the eyes of the World Space Patrol. Possibly taking inspiration from Marineville’s own Tracking Station, the Space Tracking Station operates thousands of manned and automated space stations. These outposts are scattered across the cosmos and help the W.S.P. in its mission to monitor and defend the Earth Space Empire.

W.A.A. – World Air Alliance

This organisation plays a brief, scene-setting role in the short Stingray text story Seven Hours to Sunburst from the 1967 TV21 annual. The W.A.A. is described as having a devastating battle fleet under its wing, including the tactical strike bomber craft Dominator. How precisely the W.A.A. fits into the wider W.A/A.F., if at all, is never quite clarified!

Espionage Organisations

U.S.S. – Universal Secret Service

The Universal Secret Service remains one of the most fully realised original organisations from the shared world of TV21. Effectively the comic’s equivalent of the World Intelligence Network, the U.S.S. is situated on the outskirts of the Mars capital, Kahra, and is disguised as the factory of Century 21 Toys Incorporated. In truth, the U.S.S. is the universe’s top covert intelligence organisation, each planet boasting its own unique branch of the outfit. The U.S.S. is most widely seen throughout the Agent 21 strip.

S.O.F.R.A.M. – Solar Organisation for Revenge and Murder

The Universal Secret Service battles many villainous entities, both human and alien, but none is as deadly for the U.S.S. as S.O.F.R.A.M.! The Solar Organisation for Revenge and Murder constantly seeks to unravel the universal harmony of the Earth Space Empire. Operating unseen from the shadows, individual members are nearly impossible to identify. Some of their most noteworthy targets include the W.S.P. and W.A.S.P.!

Private Organisations

U.E.I. – Universal Engineering Incorporated

You may not be entirely familiar with Universal Engineering Incorporated, but you’re almost certainly a fan of its work! Stationed in Australia, U.E.I. is the largest engineering company in the world and is responsible for many technological marvels of the 21st century. The Fireflash, Wombat aircraft carrier, WASP’s ocean-going vessels, and the Angel Interceptors are all designed and constructed by U.E.I.. The outfit is also jointly responsible for building the W.S.P.’s Fireball fleet.

W.M.C. – World Motor Corporation

The World Motor Corporation is another outfit briefly mentioned in the 1966 TV21 Summer Extra. As the name suggests, it manufactures automobiles and is jointly responsible for the Shark Mk. 10 sports car, along with Green Dragon Cars.

W.T.L.S. – World Transatlantic Liner Service

The World Transatlantic Liner Service operates a variety of pioneering ferries, including the Atlantic Ferry. This remarkable invention is powered by intakes of air and is capable of producing speeds up to 800 knots.

Other Organisations

W.A.S. – World Aeronautic Society

Another aeronaut-themed organisation alongside the World Air Alliance and World Army Air Force, the World Aeronautic Society is mentioned in the 1968 Captain Scarlet annual as being the organisation that Adam Svenson served in prior to joining Spectrum as Captain Blue. The W.A.S. is home to test pilots who face impossible dangers flying advanced aircraft. Unfortunately, it’s prone to enemy infiltration, a problem eventually solved when Adam himself was transferred from the frontlines to lead its security department and rid the society of enemy forces.

W.G.P.C. – World Government Police Corps

The W.G.P.C. is committed to tackling crime on a global scale, from intercepting petty criminals to performing complicated detective work. It was this organisation that shaped the character of Richard Fraser, who’s lacklustre performance at university resulted in his dreams of joining the W.A.A.F. being scuppered and being forced to join the Police Corps as a cadet. Doing so instilled a fascination for detective work, and Fraser’s commitment to the cause eventually resulted in him being offered the spot of Supreme Commander. However, his preference for field work instead of a desk job had its own impact when Spectrum approached Fraser to become one of its operatives – Captain Ochre.

The 1968 Captain Scarlet annual includes a wealth of character biographies, revealing that many Spectrum personnel served in a variety of organisations prior!

W.M.O – World Medical Organisation

The World Medical Organisation may perform vital public service in keeping the citizens of the world safe and healthy, but it ran on antiquated ideals and concepts of the 20th century. That is, until Edward Wilkie joined the outfit. The brilliantly-minded Edward, with honorary degrees in biology and medicine, revolutionised the W.M.O. with his introduction of advanced robot doctors, able to diagnose patients’ illnesses within seconds. Initially joining the W.M.O. as Medical Assistant Controller in its Australian sector, Edward quickly moved up the ranks with his selfless devotion to reorganising the service. It was this dedication that made Spectrum offer Edward the role of becoming the organisation’s own medical officer, assuming the title of Doctor Fawn.

W.W.C. – World Weather Control

World Weather Control monitors the world’s natural environment and has numerous outposts in strategic positions across the globe to help maintain and develop our understanding of Earth’s environmental forces. World Weather Control is mentioned in various strands of TV21 literature, but it plays a prominent role in the comic strip Blackmail for Power from the 1967 Thunderbirds annual.

T.O.P. – Telephotographic Observation of Planets

T.O.P. agents play a crucial role in our understanding of the universe. The outfit photographs and analyses all data regarding alien planets, hostile or otherwise. T.O.P. agents work directly for the World Space Patrol, which uses their reports to inform its own approaches to maintaining the security of the universe. T.O.P. appears in the standalone, untitled Fireball XL5 comic story from the 1965 TV Century 21 International Extra.

S.S.E.C. – Solar System Exploration Centre

Alternatively known as the Solar System Exploration Council, the S.S.E.C. serves as the primary organisation for determining humanity’s conquest of the stars and the development of the best technologies to do so. Mentioned in various ancillary TV21 media, the S.S.E.C. is effectively the organisation which Zero X operates under.

N.W.A.C. – New World Aircraft Corporation

The New World Aircraft Corporation is surely best know as the manufacturers of Skyship 1, seen in 1968’s Thunderbird 6. However, the N.W.A.C. has an intriguing pre-Thunderbird 6 life in TV21-related media. In the 1967 TV Century 21 Spring Extra, the N.W.A.C. is namechecked as also being the manufacturer of Zero X.

Only Project S.W.O.R.D. can salvage the Earth!

S.W.O.R.D. – Space World Organisation for Research and Development

In the far-flung future of 3025, Earth’s natural resources become so extinguished that a new fleet of multifaceted space exploration vehicles are developed to discover the possible riches of other worlds. The Space World Organisation for Research and Development, shortened to Project S.W.O.R.D., is initially created with this task in mind, aware that it must probe the deepest fringes of space and avoid draining pre-existing off-world colonies of their own precious resources. Nuclear Ferries, Booster Rockets, Space Gliders and more form part of S.W.O.R.D.’s incredible fleet of vehicles.

However, S.W.O.R.D. eventually becomes tasked with an entirely different purpose. In the year 3031, a colossal meteorite strikes the Earth, destroying vast chunks of civilisation and rupturing the planet, causing dormant volcanic activity and other disasters of nature to spread across what’s left of the globe. Earth now becomes a ticking time bomb. S.W.O.R.D. becomes tasked with the prolonged effort of salvaging what’s left of humanity – evacuating those deemed suitable enough to rebuild civilisation, rehabilitating those of society left behind on the dying Earth, and investigating how to transform the Earth into humanity’s one true home once again.

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Written by
Fred McNamara

Atomic-powered writer/editor. Website editor at Official Gerry Anderson. Author of Flaming Thunderbolts: The Definitive Story of Terrahawks. Also runs Gerry Anderson comic book blog Sequential 21.

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