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Report - St Margaret's Deep Shelter, Dover, October 2013

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Altair, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Altair

    Altair Poking holes since '84
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    St Margaret's Deep Shelter aka Z Rockets​



    Visited with SirJonnyP and non-member Rusty. This was the first site of our day trip to Dover. Not much to say except cheers to SirJonnyP for being tour guide and for bringing a rope which proved very useful :thumb


    History

    Situated on the cliffs above St. Margaret's Bay is the site of a four gun, 5.5" battery that was one of the earliest of the protective emplacements that were rapidly established along this vulnerable area of the Kent coastline during the early years of the Second World War. As at Mill Point Battery at Folkestone, these guns had been removed from the secondary armament of HMS Hood in the period 1935 – 1940. In the case of St. Margaret’s Battery, the guns involved were numbers 6, 7, 9 and 23, all manufactured by the Coventry Ordnance Works.

    Manned by 411 Battery, part of 540 Coast Defence Regiment, the limited range of these weapons (less than 18,000 yards) meant that it rapidly became 'redundant' as a Coast Defence battery as the more powerful and flexible 6" weapons at Fan Hole Battery were commissioned. This led to the site becoming a training battery, until eventually the idea was hit on of establishing a 'flashing battery' here. Because of its exposed location near the edge of the cliff, any gun flash from here was fully visible from the occupied French coastline - this meant that when an enemy convoy was sited the 'flashing battery' could pretend to open fire using special charges, thus causing the ships to change course away from the expected danger and into the range of the (hidden behind reverse slopes) big guns at South Foreland and Wanstone.

    Tunnelled accommodation, which was dug by 172 Tunnelling Coy R.E., was provided behind the four concrete emplacements. Today this is about the only visible sign of the original battery site as the gun emplacements themselves were destroyed in the 1970’s. Commonly referred to as 'Z Rocket Battery' by local explorers (due to a possible misunderstanding about what was here during the war - the battery was protected by 2â€￾ Unrotated Projectile launchers at one point), two of the entrances to the system have been sealed leaving only one access point very close to the edge of the cliff.

    At St Margaret's Bay there is the underground deep shelter for St Margarets 5.5" Battery. This site was the first one to use the unrotated projectile known as the Z - Rocket which was a anti - aircraft (AA) weapon. It was officially known as a UP or unrotated projectile. It was not particularly accurate, but the thinking was that if fired in large enough amounts an enemy plane just might get hit.


    Anyway, on with some pics;


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    Thanks for looking :thumb
     

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