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Two Air-Raid Shelter Locations Winchester

Discussion in 'Leads, Rumours and News...' started by oldtimer, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. oldtimer

    oldtimer 28DL Member
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    Hello to all...

    Firstly I must confess that I have no practical interest in exploring myself. I'm 50 with mobility concerns.
    I just thought I'd post what I know in case anyone can profit from it. So sorry mods but this may well be the only post I make.

    I went to a boarding school on the outskirts of Winchester, Hampshire that was closed in the 1980s. The main building is listed and remains. It is now the Winchester Business School which is part of Winchester University.

    As a child at the old boarding school I used to explore two air-raid shelters.

    The first was a simple concrete tunnel embedded underground. It was built in a horseshoe shape and had an entrance on each side. It was slightly raised above ground level and covered in grass banks. When I schooled there there was nothing on top of it other that the school weather station which was housed in a small wooden box. The shelter was open at both ends to the elements without doors. The whole thing was built out of concrete but it had a very muddy floor. I explored with a torch on several occasions and just went from one entrance around to the other. There were no large objects left in the shelter. It was just an empty tunnel but I've often thought of the soft mud floor that I had to wade through and that there may well be artefacts in the mud.

    The Business School now has residential buildings built around where the shelter was. The place is now called "Sarum Court" and I've just added a place marker to Google Earth for it although I'm not sure how Google Earth works and whether or not the place marker I've added is visible to all or just locally on my own PC. At any rate - I've given the co-ordinates below. The good news is that the new buildings seem to be built around the old shelter location and not actually on it so it may still be there somewhere underground now no doubt.
    51° 3'42.79"N
    1°20'5.44"W

    The second shelter would undoubtedly be more interesting if it could be found but the entrance was through a very small manhole cover in some woods that were owned by the school and used for scouting. The woods were known as Melbury (Melbrey or Melbry?) and there were located on the other side of the Romsey road, opposite the school's main building. It was all totally wild and there was a long path or rough roadway accessible from the main road that wound down to a large building. We knew the house as "Melbury Dorm" because it was a large dormitory for one of the scout packs in the school. It was fun to be billeted at this dormitory. It was very remote and we'd all cross over the Romsey Road and make our way down to it by torchlight each evening. The house was on the edge of a steep incline that went down to a very large meadow. The meadow formed the base of a natural crater inclined at all sides. The shelter was on the other side from the house in the far south west corner of the land. Again, I've place marked it at Google Earth and co-ordinates are...

    51° 3'32.58"N
    1°20'5.17"W

    Of the two shelters this one would be the most interesting to explore. As I've said, the only entrance we knew was just a normal sized manhole cover on a square concrete plinth but it was a large shelter about the size of two or three squash courts inside. There were dividers that made separate rooms with desks and a sleeping area. There were storage shelves with all sorts of military equipment on them and a large deep pit at one end with block and tackle sets above large engines (maybe truck engines?). There were things that looked like oscilloscopes, large walkie-talkies, drums of wire and and military electronic equipment. Some of the rooms had desks and there were several telephones. There wes plenty of wartime ephemera - calendars, notice boards etc.. I remember blankets in boxes too. There must have been another entrance to the place because it would have been impossible to get all that stuff in there through the one manhole cover.

    I think I've told all that I can remember. I left the school in about 1978 and it was closed about 10 years later. Alumni included Sir Oswald Mosley (Leader of the British Union of Fascists!) and many other famous people. There is a Wiki entry for the school here...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Downs_School
    There is also a very amaturish site commemorating the school with old photos etc here...
    http://www.westdowns.com/

    I came upon this forum because I've just read about it in the comments section of the Daily Telegraph on-line in a story about Spitfires being possibly buried in Birmingham. A friend of mine has always claimed that an RAF officer whom he knew (now dead) told him a secret and never told anyone else. According to my friend he was given the exact location of "a lot of perfectly good spitfires that had been disassembled and hidden". He also claims that he was told that they had all been well preserved. My friend has been prattling on about it for as long as I can remember but he has always kept the location a secret. He only ever said that it was "somewhere in England". It's always been a bit of a joke with him and we always teased him a bit about it. I never thought much about it until they found Spitfires in Burma and so I gave him a call. It was only a few months ago and when I asked him about it he told me that they were not the planes he had been told about and was still convinced that he knew a location of a lot of Spitfires in Britain. Today I read the story in The Telegraph about the possibility of Spitfires being buried in Birmingham and am again wondering if these are the planes he is talking about.

    Well... I hope my fading memories might help someone somehow. I've never spoken about the shelters to anyone. Shelters were just a normal part of growing up in the 1970s along with derelict houses. All these places were our playgrounds but I suppose they are increasingly becoming history for new generations so I just thought I'd say what I know before I become a part of history myself.
     

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  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Cheers, not everyone is up for mooching about, plenty of people on here that prefer to sit behind a keyboard and post leads (paul powers) :p: :thumb
     
  3. paulpowers

    paulpowers Massive Member
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    :O I'd much rather be out but me stupid job prevents it :(

    I'm actually in on a 12 hour shift right now
     
  4. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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  5. paulpowers

    paulpowers Massive Member
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    I'm in right over christmas, don't even get christmas day off
     
  6. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Think of the $$$ Paul
     
  7. paulpowers

    paulpowers Massive Member
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    I'm not even getting time and half :(

    I'm looking for a new job anyway so I'll be out again soon enough
     
  8. goan

    goan Chatbox Retard
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    Pffft. Armchair explorers...
     
  9. hjkind

    hjkind 28DL Member
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    Had a bit of a look around the area - an estate of houses now. Didn't manage to find it but as we were leaving we spotted the meadow you mentioned so it may have been on the other side of that so we'll take a look next time. It was down a slope with steps with some cast iron railings if that rings any bells. Also found this similar shelter story from Winchester:

    Winchester Library Excavations - The Bomb Shelters
     
  10. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Nice work, the meadow and the library locations both worth following up.

    I know it's a while ago, but the buried Spitfire rumours always make me laugh. They never found them in Burma, and they sure as hell weren't buried in Birmingham. For God's sake.
     
  11. sneaky

    sneaky 28DL Full Member
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    thanks Mr oldtimer looks good think i will go and have a look ....any 1 want to come ???
     
  12. canute

    canute 货车司机和国王
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    PM me Sneaky (your mailbox is full)
     
  13. urbanchaser

    urbanchaser 28DL Full Member
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    Did anyone ever find this shelter? Could be worth a look??
     
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