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Report - - Days In Dover (Z-Rocket, St. Margaret's Esplanade, Langdon Hole) - Oct '19 to June '20 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Days In Dover (Z-Rocket, St. Margaret's Esplanade, Langdon Hole) - Oct '19 to June '20


Rainey

Hilariously under-equipped since 1999.
28DL Full Member
Hello once again lads, I've been gone for a while it seems, and I can explain why. I lost my job back in early July, which also lost me my motivation to even get out of bed in the morning, let alone write reports. Things are looking a bit better for me now though, so why not come back to 28 with a nice, beefy Dover report? I get it's been done to death, but I wanted to see what has been reported many, many times with my own eyes. So here we go:

DAYS IN DOVER
A report by Rainey

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Dover for us has always been a tricky one, it's a pretty long trip, time isn't always on your side and some locations are easy to miss. But now, after all the trips we've made, I can safely say that it's not as bad as we make it out to be. To put it simply, actually doing research and asking the right people (You know who you are, I owe you a drink) will get you leaps and bounds further than searching blind. So, here's what we got:

LANGDON HOLE
VISITED IN OCTOBER 2019


Langdon Hole was the very first bunker in Dover that my friends and I managed to venture into, it was a pretty cold day in Mid-October, and this was actually our second time in Dover... We missed the entrance by literal METRES the first time we went... Slight bitterness turned to uncontrollable laughter once we realised just how close we were.

Dug in late 1942, Langdon Hole was one of two satellite sites (The other bunker being at Long Hill), both of which handled communications for DUMPY, under Dover castle. It was considered a direct part of the DUMPY system, being assigned the designation 'DUMPY B' (Long Hill was 'DUMPY A'). This small set of tunnels housed large amounts of wireless COMMS equipment, as well as accommodation for the staff who manned it. Whilst the tunnels themselves are of typical WW2 construction, there are some unconventional features, like flat ceilings at junctions and breeze-block lining. The ventilation system in Langdon Hole is also much more heavy-duty than other shelters in the area, a positive air pressure was required to keep cool air coming in, since the COMMS equipment tended to get quite hot.
One rumour I'm unsure on, is that Langdon Hole continued use past the end of WW2, into the early years of the cold war. I don't know if this is true, since DUMPY at Dover castle did continue use in the Cold war.
The bunker is in varying levels of condition, the inner lining in some tunnels is still highly intact, whilst the rearmost tunnel is missing it's inner lining, and the vents keep on being kicked down and put back up again.
Regardless, Langdon Hole was an interesting place, and is still worth revisiting to me.

Also, during my time looking this place up, I noticed it didn't actually have a tunnel plan anywhere I looked online, so I had a crack at making one. Yes, it's bad.

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There used to be stairs here... Note the rail system that goes down the ramp, for getting the heavy COMMS equipment in.

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'Into the hole' - Rainey, 2019

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This wider tunnel was where the COMMS equipment was placed. Unfortunately we found the vents were kicked out when we came, we tried to put one back up, but God are those things awkward to lift.
These large 'cod's eye' vent towers provided cold air for the COMMS equipment, and the pole coming down from the ceiling in this tunnel was for air to come down, where it then circulated under the floor and came out of the vents.

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Whilst the bigger rear tunnel held the COMMS equipment, this narrower front tunnel held the bunker's power distribution board, presumably water tanks and also a generator. The plinth for it still stands, and so does the exhaust ducting. A large vent runs through this tunnel, with both ends of it coming out just before the bunker's airlocks.

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The chassis of the power distribution board on the right.



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The generator plinth on the lower right.


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Rumour has it that the National Trust have their eyes on this place, for a similar move to what they did at Fan Bay shelter. It would sure gain my respect if the National Trust did manage to do that. Better than sealing it up, that's for sure.

ST. MARGARET'S BAY DEEP SHELTER (Z-ROCKET)
VISITED IN LATE JUNE 2020


This was now our third trip to Dover, a trip we'd planned for when the Covid regulations had loosened a bit, so we picked the very end of June. We were a bit more experienced than the last time we'd been to Dover, and we were armed with much more research. It was a lovely day too.

I was also willing to test a new BLF Q8 I bought, with the help of Grom's torch buying guide. I'd check his guide out, I couldn't have made my mind up without it.

St. Margaret's Bay Deep Shelter was one of the first dug in the Dover area (Roughly 1941), providing cover from air attacks and artillery fire to 170 crewmen of the St. Margaret's gun battery above. The battery consisted of four 5.5" guns and also a form of fixed 'anti-air mine' system, firing 76mm rockets, known as a Z-Battery (Hence the shelter's nickname 'Z-Rocket'). Nothing is left of the battery today.
The tunnels are of conventional WW2 construction, with some of the plywood and felt inner lining still standing too. The shelter consists of 2 parallel tunnels, with a 45 degree turn at their halfway point. Both entry stairways are blocked off today, and only the secondary entrance remains usable.
Z-Rocket was easy sailing for us, and quite a pleasant set of tunnels to do, the air being pretty good down there too. We came across 'the hole of death' that I'd found out about during my research. Getting in without a chalky arse afterwards is all but impossible as well, but after taking on the initially daunting ramp of Langdon Hole, Z-Rocket's entry didn't even phase us.

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Z-Batteries.

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The unlined chalk section before reaching the main complex.

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Z-Rocket's two parallel tunnels are linked at various points. However, 3 of those links are only 6ft high 'access' passages. This is the only 8ft high 'standard' tunnel between the two. This short tunnel apparently would have been the shelter's medical station.

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Toilet cubicles.

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After we got out of Z-Rocket, we headed to the beach down at St. Margaret's bay. Thankfully the drinks kiosk was open, and we managed to get something ice-cold down us, before we then decided to take the opportunity to visit somewhere else on the same day.

ST. MARGARET'S ESPLANADE TUNNELS
VISITED IN LATE JUNE 2020 (SAME DAY AS Z-ROCKET)


Now this was a funny one. Those familiar to Dover will know exactly how accessing these tunnels works... And this tunnel system is also full of dead pigeons. But, nevertheless, a bunker is a bunker, and I liked the uhhh... Challenge that accessing this place presented.
Dug very early in WW2, possibly late 1939 or early 1940, these tunnels would have protected the beach of St. Margret's bay from a potential German beach landing. The defence system consisted of a Type 24 pillbox near the original entrance, a thick concrete MG post in the cliff facing the beach, and also an observation room that looked out towards the English channel.
These tunnels are highly unconventional in construction, being tall, narrow and only partially lined with interrupted sets of brick and corrugated iron, plus a large concrete wall along one side of the rearmost tunnel.
During their service life, these tunnels were reportedly manned by a Royal Marines Commando unit, who liked to scare other units in the area by staging mock attacks on them.
These tunnels likely saw no further service after WW2, although they could possibly have remained in a state of readiness until coastal defence was abolished in 1956.
These tunnels are in pretty good condition on the inside, the same can't be said for the outside parts of this system though.

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The type 24 pillbox near the bunker's blocked original entrance.

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These tunnels have some pretty good headroom.

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The thick concrete wall along one side of one of the tunnels. I don't quite know what it's purpose is.

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The tunnel up to the former observation room. It's pretty slippy, go up carefully if you want a good view.

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This is the tunnel to the MG post. Facing back into the main complex.


We needed quite the break after hitting up Esplanade. We did hit Langdon Hole again, because why not? We didn't take any photos, but we did find that someone is trying to put the vents back up again.
A lot of time was spent at the beachside too, trying to avoid sunburn.

We will be here again one day, we aren't done here, that's for sure.

I thank you for reading this, this was actually pretty fun to write, and I hope you found everything interesting, familiar or not - Rainey.

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This wouldn't be one of my reports if there wasn't at least one of these photos in there.

The end.
 
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Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
I need to get back to st mags esplanade, all my pics are 8 odd years old and gash, Nice report of a few dover classics
 

Rainey

Hilariously under-equipped since 1999.
28DL Full Member
@Wevsky Glad you like it.

Was entry to Esplanade the same as it is now? I was half loving it, half shitting it.
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
@Wevsky Glad you like it.

Was entry to Esplanade the same as it is now? I was half loving it, half shitting it.
Sketchy climb up a very old rope. back then the shingle was higher so like a twat ( a drunk one) i jumped down..twice
 

Rainey

Hilariously under-equipped since 1999.
28DL Full Member
Sketchy climb up a very old rope. back then the shingle was higher so like a twat ( a drunk one) i jumped down..twice
Jesus Christ, I can imagine the pain in the morning.
The ropes were fairly decent, it's the last bit of the climb that sucks.
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Jesus Christ, I can imagine the pain in the morning.
The ropes were fairly decent, it's the last bit of the climb that sucks.
i jumped down and the shingle was frozen, Krnonebourg works wonders for stupidity though , so didnt feel a thing
 
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Rainey

Hilariously under-equipped since 1999.
28DL Full Member
i jumped down and the shingle was frozen, Krnonebourg works wonders for stupidity though so didnt feel a thing
Now all we need to do is have a diving competition from the hole in the cliff at high tide.
 

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