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Tunnel Vision #2: Winston Churchill’s Secret WWII Tunnels, UK

An underground labyrinth sealed for decades provides a glimpse into the past with bullets and graffiti among the discoveries. These are the World War II network of underground tunnels beneath the White Cliffs of Dover.

Officials at the National Trust, which carried out the extensive restoration of the Fan Bay Deep Shelter, said the subterranean labyrinth was a “time capsule”, offering a glimpse into life during World War II.

 

This rediscovered piece of the country’s Second World War heritage is a truly remarkable find.

 

Bullets, graffiti and even a pools coupon were among the finds during the excavation of the tunnels, which were taken out of action in the 1950s and then filled in with rubble and soil during the 1970s.

The tunnels were dug out of the chalk earth in just 100 days in the 1940s on Winston Churchill’s orders to connect Dover’s gun batteries.

 

The tunnels lead everywhere, right up to Winston Churchill's secret London Tube bunker which is now open to public tours.
The tunnels lead everywhere, right up to Winston Churchill’s secret London tube bunker which is now open to public tours.

 

Some 23m deep, they covered an area of 3,500 sq ft and were reinforced with iron girders and metal sheeting. And now the tunnels are opening to the public, more than 40 years after being sealed up.

Jon Barker, visitor experience manager at the White Cliffs, said: “This rediscovered piece of the country’s Second World War heritage is a truly remarkable find.” Words and Pic (except Churchill and Bunker): Sky News. 

 

Graffiti on the chalk cliff walls of Dover.
Graffiti on the chalk cliff walls of Dover.

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