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Report - Westcliff Section, Ramsgate ARP Shelter, Kent, November 2012 (pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by NutUE, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. NutUE

    NutUE 28DL Planet Thanet Member
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    Hi all, visited with Wevsky, Obscurity, Urbanginger, Stealth2k12 + wife :p:, This was my first visit to this section of the ARP shelters in Ramsgate. there are 3 section which did use to join up, but due to pipe laying and roof falls they have been separated in to 3 sections. here is the history,

    World War II

    The County of Kent has long been regarded as the UK’s Bomb Alley, and positioned at the sharp end of Bomb Alley is Ramsgate. Stories abound of raids over Ramsgate when enemy aircraft returning from failed missions decided to ‘unload’ over the town rather than take their bombs home. Shelling from German guns situated just 30 miles across the Channel in France was also a frequent danger.

    On the 24th August 1940 Ramsgate received more than 500 bombs when a squadron of German aircraft were approaching Manston. Their leading aircraft was shot down over the harbour and in vengeance they decided to release their bombs over Ramsgate. This was the first air raid by the Germans on an unprotected town.

    On that fateful occasion countless lives were saved by an underground Air Raid Protection (A.R.P.) system of tunnels dug for the purpose. These tunnels extended for approximately 2½ miles around the town with 11 entrances at strategic points providing refuge within 5 minutes walk of most areas. A 1500 yard long former railway tunnel was also used and linked to the A.R.P. system. The tunnels were equipped with chemical toilets, bunk beds, seating, lighting and a loud speaker system. Many people took up residence below ground having lost their homes above. Others used them just for shelter or to move around town during a raid.

    The design and construction of the tunnels was masterminded by the Borough Engineer Mr. R.D. Brimmell B.Sc. A.M.I.C.E. as early as 1938, but was repeatedly turned down by the Home Office. Ramsgate's flamboyant Mayor of the time A.B.C. Kempe kept the pressure on, and with the increasing intensity of the war in Europe permission to start construction was given in the Spring of 1939.

    Work started immediately at a cost of just over £40,000 plus a further £13,500 for services and fittings. The first section between Queen Street and the Harbour was opened by the Duke of Kent on the 1st June 1939.

    The tunnels were 6 feet wide, 7 feet high and constructed at a depth of 50-75 feet to provide an adequate degree of protection against random bombing with 500 lb. and 1000 lb. medium capacity bombs. In the case of a direct hit, a 500 lb. bomb would not be expected to damage the tunnel; but some spalling (splintering) of the chalk would be expected if the bomb was a 1000 lb. medium capacity type and the overhead cover was less than 60 feet.

    After the end of World War II a large sewer pipe was installed in part of the system under Ellington Road and continued down to the Harbour. The remaining entrances were sealed and the tunnels began to fall into disrepair.

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    Thanks wevsky, obs, stealth2k12, urbanginger :thumb
     
    #1 NutUE, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012

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