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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dockyard WW2 HQ, Chatham

This vaulted tunnel was original designed by Marc Brunel and built at the beginning of the 19th Century. Its purpose was to allow timber to be brought from a nearby canal to the Brunel Sawmill, within Chatham Dockyard. After the closure of the timber yard, the tunnel was re-used as a Civil Defence HQ. Halfway along the remaining section of the tunnel a second floor has been added, giving this area two levels, the lower level forming the rooms for the HQ. A few interesting items, such as wall fixings, tables and a chalk board still remain in situ from this time. Blast walls have also been added in the other parts of the tunnel, and three emergency exits created.


Unfortunately, these tunnels are not open to the public, this was a one-off specially arranged trip with Kent History Forum.

Looking in from the entrance

One of the vaulted rooms

Light switches from WW2

Most of the vaulted rooms look like this:

Ladder to one of the escape hatches

Another entrance, sealed at the top

Inside the control room

Another view inside

Board still remaining on wall

Small annex room

Original doors remaining in good condition

This ladder leads up to the upper level

Looking back down

Looking along the upper level of the vault, which is only a few feet high

This was probably part of the ventilation system

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting tunnel.

It's the Brunnel Sawmill tunnel.

http://www.medwaylines.com/brunelsawmill.htm

Anonymous said...

I have it from a very reliable source that there is a military bunker under the Medway towns with an entrance in the dockyard. He claimed that the bunker was so vast that a jeep was needed to get around down there, also that there was halls the size of several football field. He told me it was built to house 4000 military personnel, and that the part he saw extended under the River Medway and at least as far east as Rainham, where he said there was another exit. The officer who showed him around told him it was larger than that. As I can find no mention of this facility anywhere, I can only assume it is a shaggy dog story, or that the bunker is still operational.

Anonymous said...

There is an underground bunker complex within the former HMS Pembroke and Naval base.

There was an entrance from the Dockyard and one in HMS Pembroke which was located in one of the three casement like stores which had WWII air raid shelters built onto the outer, these were on the rear terrace road.The tunnels were very long and well illuminated.

They were refurbished in the 1960s and 70s.

During my time at RNPHQ Chatham we had to go in and conduct rounds, to a certain point which was in the dockyard.

It was also rumoured amongst those that knew, that there was a connecting tunnel to HMS Wildfire (http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/w/wildfire/index2.shtml)

I cannot confirm this, I do however know from first hand experience that as stated there is a bunker complex as I have mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I think I found this bunker 20odd years ago when I was working as a painter in the dockyard, is the entrance through a pill box above ?

Anonymous said...

I can conform that their is military bunker under the Medway towns with an entrance in the dockyard.

As i have been down their when i was posted Brompton Barracks i can also conform that some of it is still used for training.