Britain's Secret Wartime Tunnels
Mastering climate challenges
Hidden below Dover Castle and deep within Dover’s White Cliffs hides Britain’s Secret Wartime Tunnels.
With three miles of ‘secret’ tunnels dating back to the Napoleonic Wars these tunnels offer an insight, with sights and sounds (and smells!) of the Second World War and before.
The first level of tunnels is ‘Annex’, which, following closure after the Napoleonic War where it was used to house 1000’s of soldiers, you will find the military dressing station used during World War II after it was dug out and re-opened in 1941. Not only was this used as a Medical Dressing Station but was also used as a kitchen and as the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force dormitory.
"By the recent installation done by HumiTech, we
not only spread the risk of failure by installing multiple units but our monitoring showed that the humidity levels became a lot more stable."
Steve Russell, English Heritage
Protecting Britain's Secret Wartime Tunnels
The next level ‘Bastion’ has been lost to fill-in and cave-ins and therefore there is no access to this level. It is not certain if it was ever used.
The same cannot be said to the third level, ‘Casemate’. This was utilised during WWII as the Head Quarters for Dover Naval Command led by Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay.
With the German forces closing in, Ramsay pulled off a miracle. With no technology and limited resources, from his HQ in the tunnels, he masterminded the rescue of 338,000 troops. Operation Dynamo: the Rescue from Dunkirk goes down as the greatest rescue in British military history.
Whilst there is no access to ‘Esplanade’, the deepest level of tunnels, the forth deepest, ‘Dumpy’ does have access, albeit limited.
‘Dumpy’, was originally set to be utilised as the Regional Centre of Government in the event of Nuclear War. Government officials, elements of Military, Police, Emergency Services, Communications and other personnel deemed important would have been accommodated here in the event of a nuclear attack.
To help enable public access and to limit the exposure to moisture ingress, these tunnels have a network of air circulation, filtration and drying processes. The newest of these are the recently installed dehumidifiers carefully selected and installed within the confines of the secret tunnels, by HumiTech.
© Image courtesy of English Heritage