18 January 2012
Tunnels have played an important role in history and none so more than those at Dover Castle. Intrepid visitors can still descend into the Medieval Tunnels burrowed beneath during and after the 1216-7 siege. A second and much larger network was begun during the Napoleonic War to house secure underground barracks for over 2000 soldiers.
At the beginning of World War II these tunnels were recommissioned and extended housing a hospital and becoming a bomb-proof nerve centre for the defence of Dover and the coast. Around 3000 to 4000 navy personnel, 3000 army personnel and 500 RAF personnel were stationed. In these tunnels. It was from here that Admiral Ramsay directed ‘Operation Dynamo’ the evacuation of British troops from the Dunkirk beaches in May and June 1940.
If you want to want to find out more then the Secret Tunnels and Underground Hospital are well worth a visit as the dramatic room and films vividly recreate with breathtaking realism, the drama of the beach operation being planned and taking place around you. In the Underground Hospital you can follow the story of an injured World War II fighter pilot as he is rushed into emergency surgery.
For more information on Dover Castle’s Secret Wartime Tunnels visit the website, where you can also find out about upcoming events, such as ‘Frontier Fortress: Guns of Dover’ (January 20th, Dover Castle).
Post by Keren Sall, Sales and Marketing Executive, English Heritage South East Region.
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