Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mount Wise MHQ, Plymouth

As a main Naval base, a WW2 Headquarters in Plymouth was necessary. It was sited within the grounds of Admiralty House, a 19th Century house within the garrison area of Plymouth docks, and became known as Mount Wise. Construction of the main, two level sunken concrete bunker began in 1939 but the site was extended with a series of underground tunnels in 1942. This was known as the Plymouth Underground Extension, and it is located under the grounds of the house. The main bunker area was fitted and operational with many rooms, and remained in MOD use throughout the Cold War, until it was decommissioned in 2004. It is obvious, however, that the tunnels were abandoned long before this time, although some operational equipment still remains within them. The bunker is currently being refitted as a secure storage data centre, and fortunately, the renovation plans seem to be sympathetic with the site's history.

Many thanks to the owners for allowing a visit to this facility, and Mr John Sar for arranging.

Entrance to the bunker in the C19th Ditch

Corridor in the bunker

One of the rooms

Inside the plant room

Concrete tunnel passage
Long access tunnel to Underground Extension

Inside the main tunnels

Another tunnel
Compression unit

One of the higher ceiling tunnels

Large tunnel with two spurs at standard tunnel height

Another view in the main passage

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you didn't follow the passage to the right of the entrance, before the blast proof door, as you enter the bunker .. now that would have been an interesting series of pictures because you would have seen the barrack rooms that housed many servicemen as they waited for D-day.

That path would have taken you to beneath the cricket pitch outside the main house.

I spent many happy hours wondering through the tunnels there.

If you follow the passage way past the doors, you also find the main control room which was used to control shipping movements through the channel during the war. If you enter that room and look up you'll also see the viewing gallery where the watch officer could see everything and because it's totally enclosed, with you standing behind a glass screen, you can have conversations without being heard ...

For information, that room was used, in the late 1980's, as the back-up MRCC to Kinloss.

1:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had a draft there in early eighties. Was told about the tunnels but wasn't allowed through the doors as it was flooding.
Spider ,.,.

11:43 am  
Blogger Bob Mann said...

After leaving the RAF I joined 3 MHU and arranged for my own detachment to the TARE Commcen at Mount Wise. I worked with the Navy for two weeks in about 2002.

4:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was often sent into the old PUE in the 1970's whilst working for the DOE Property Services Agency as a carpenter. We were sent in to shore up some of the collapsed roofs etc. and used to enter through the large doorway in the wall at the back of Blagdons boatyard, under the footpath between Richmond Walk and Mutton Cove. I remember that it was huge inside and very damp, with water underfoot, but very impressive.

2:49 pm  
Blogger Wayne Hodges said...

I know this is nothing to do with plymouth but dose eny one have eny info on the bronze doorway in the navy monument on chatham lines pls help me sombody :) thanks

4:47 pm  
Anonymous Popeye said...

As an RN radio op I worked at Mountwise with the RAF from 1977 to 1978. Used to do the 'scran run' to a local Chinese during the first watch

12:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mum volunteered in the Wrens Reserve in the 1960s, and our family used to see her disappear through a mysterious rocky entrance.

1:34 pm  

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