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Report - HMS Forward - South Heighton - June 12

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by REEF, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. REEF

    REEF Getthegirlkillthebaddies
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    Visited With Monk and The126

    This has been on my list for a very long time but with the access problems I didn't think it would ever happen.

    In 1941 the Royal Navy constructed a complex of tunnels 66ft underground, this housed a control centre which plotted all shipping traffic in the English Channel between Dungeness and Selsey Bill. This filled the gap between Dover (Dumpy) and Portsmouth (Fort Southwick).

    As there were no above ground fortifications in the area (unlike Dover) the Navy based the site in the former Guinness Trust Holiday Home grounds utilising the main building as the entrance to the bunker. Pill boxes were also constructed accessed from the bunker to defend the site.
    HMS Forward was decommissioned on 31 August 1945.

    In 2000 English Heritage declared HMS Forward as a site of National Importance.

    The Guinness Trust house (now demolished)
    [​IMG]

    The entrance to the tunnels that would have come from a room in the house.
    [​IMG]

    Looking down the main access stairway to the grenade pit at the bottom, note the machine gun loop in the wall.
    [​IMG]

    Close up of the pit and the loop.
    [​IMG]

    The reception area taken from a stairwell which lead to a observation lookout disguised as a chicken coop.
    [​IMG]

    Backfilled lookout.
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    Airlock at the bottom of the second flight of stairs.
    [​IMG]

    Original airlock door
    [​IMG]

    The main bunker consists of two long rooms interlinked with passageways.
    One of the main Rooms.
    [​IMG]

    The other main room with smaller areas built within. These were used as Mess Rooms, etc.
    [​IMG]

    Interlinking passageway.
    [​IMG]

    Telecom area, the floor was dug out due to the size of the machines installed.
    [​IMG]

    A corridor than leads off the above areas to another airlock. Here two more tunnels lead off to four of the Pillboxes.
    [​IMG]

    Leading up to the Pillboxes, note that there's no stairs....
    [​IMG]

    To bottom of the access shaft to the Pillbox, all four looked pretty much the same.
    [​IMG]

    Plant room.
    [​IMG]

    Toilets
    [​IMG]

    This is the final corridor which feels like to goes on for miles and leads to another entrance.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Guard room at the end of the tunnel, note another firing loop.
    [​IMG]

    I have many more photo's but think that will do....... ok, just a few more.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Massive thanks to Monk, I never thought this would happen and had forgot all about the place. I hope the owners get to do something with the place as it could be a valuable attraction to the area.

    Thanks for looking
     
    Minor, The Kwan, Mr Sam and 2 others like this.

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  2. richy 2 times

    richy 2 times 28DL Full Member
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    I'd love to go down there but I guess it's been locked solid for the last few years.
     
  3. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Only one way to find out aye!
     
  4. CoptainCack

    CoptainCack 28DL Full Member
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    Just been there. Admittedly was dark and late but since i was in the mood ..... the only access point is surely up the stairs from the road side. I had not seen this report before my quick reccy, wish I had, but it seems like all other entrances have long since been backfilled or built over.

    As it stands at the moment there is a large steel plate welded over the entrance doorway. There is a few inch gap which I tried to take a couple of pictures through, sorry for quality. The only way in now is basically vandalism. Its not welded all around and if you happened to have a portable plasma cutter you could get in in just a minute by cutting through 4 short welds. Perhaps an angle grinder ... but the noise would be prohibitive. Not really something I want to do. Trespassing on a national heritage site is one thing ... breaking and entering is another.

    Gutted, but good to find it, proof that research works!

    http://i1050.photobucket.com/albums/s411/2001gti1/20161011_222201_zps7auusvgt.jpg
    http://i1050.photobucket.com/albums/s411/2001gti1/20161011_222326_zpsr77iefs0.jpg
    http://i1050.photobucket.com/albums/s411/2001gti1/20161011_222332_zpsconutkr8.jpg
     
  5. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Crikey mate it was dark looking at you shots :) as you rightly say though breaking and entering aint cool and Plasma cutters and angle grinders are not standard exploring kit :) hopefully you will get to see it at some point.
     
  6. monk

    monk mature
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    Bad timing mate, it was sealed about two weeks ago, been wide open for a long time.
     
    the126 likes this.
  7. CoptainCack

    CoptainCack 28DL Full Member
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    yeah gutted! Difficult to see this ever being open again really, i mean ... I don't think its near the top of any heritage organisations list of things to do right now. Would surely cost millions to make it 'health and safety friendly' by reopening other ways in /out or replacing the corrugated lining / iron framework - which would kinda take the history away anyway. Add to that H&S would surely demand modern ventilation system.

    Shame ... this is an amazing report! a real gem of a site that will never be seen by the public.
     
  8. monk

    monk mature
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    It's disgusting that a site with such historical importance is left like that really, maybe when the idiot in the house above pops his clogs someone like the national trust might take it on, like they did fan bay in Dover.

    If not.. it got opened once, I'm sure it will again ;)
     
    the126 and Wevsky like this.
  9. the126

    the126 Reckless & irresponsible
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    That bloke moved away about 2 years ago!
    I think the whole idea of opening it up just ran out of steam, the people involved are all getting on a bit now
     
  10. monk

    monk mature
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    Oh really, he was the only objection to people going in wasn't he ?
     
  11. wander1er

    wander1er 28DL Full Member
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    anyone fancy a revisit then think again the front door has been welded shut then a thick steel sheet has been welded over that , I assume the person at the top who used to sweep the top staircase was fed up with up and wanted the site to themselves
     
  12. CoptainCack

    CoptainCack 28DL Full Member
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    It looked like the door was gone, just the metal plate in its place, but i don't know what the original door looked like. Either way acces is going to be the same method,4 x 2 inch welds that need cracking, hacksawing or angle grinding. Portable oxy -acetalene a quieter option ... know any welders?!?! lol
     
  13. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Guys you're on a public forum discussing angle grinders and cutting welds..tsk tsk..
     
    canute and the126 like this.
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