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Report - - Portland Underground Comms HQ and Breakwater Fort - Feb 2012 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Portland Underground Comms HQ and Breakwater Fort - Feb 2012


Chaos

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
First of all a bit of history pinched from subbrit website

With the strategic importance of the Dockyard an underground headquarters and communications centre was planned in 1940. Two tunnels were driven deep into the hillside to the rear of the dockyard leading to a series of underground rooms based around a central ring. The new underground headquarters was completed by 1941 with Portland acting as a sub-command of Commander in Chief, Portsmouth at Fort Southwick

There were two pairs of entrance tunnels, each pair joining to form single tunnels after twenty yards. At this junction toilets, washrooms and a small guardroom (in the western tunnel) were located with the twin tunnels extending into the hillside for a further 150 feet to two airlocks. The control centre is rectangular in shape with a short branch on the south side housing ventilation and heating plant and a standby generator. After construction, plans were drawn up to extend the control centre with the addition of further tunnels on the north side but this plan was quickly abandoned.

After the war the Naval Comcen was relocated to the Portland Heights adjacent to the ROTOR radar station, it was still in use at least until the early 1990's. The underground headquarters remained on care and maintenance until 1952 when the tunnels were refurbished as a standby operational headquarters for Portland Dockyard in the event of a nuclear attack. This involved the removal of all the original partition walls and the installation of a completely new room layout. The underground headquarters was never used but could be brought to a state of readiness within eight weeks if required. The underground headquarters was under the control of an NOIC (Naval Officer in Charge). During the 1960's some of the rooms were occupied by the RNXS for a short period before they moved to the Dockyard offices. The tunnels were abandoned some time in the late 1960's
After receiving a call from MarkyMark saying that he and Kinger were going to hit this and would I like to join them, I jumped at the chance!!

Now bear in mind that to access this place, you have to pass through a live 24 hour fuel depot which is also monitored by the port police. This wasn't going to be easy!! The main road in was a sprint of chance, a long, downhill road with few places to hide, through a tunnel and then through the fuel depot. To make things even more interesting, temperatures were below 0. Ice had formed on the road making standing up a challenge in itself.

We dodged trucks to-ing and fro-ing the icy roads and had a few close calls resulting in us throwing ourselves over a wall with an 8ft drop to the other side into a service route for the fuel pipelines. Eventually we made it inside!

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Next we had to break our cover again to make our way to the breakwater, we passed through the yard keeping in the shadows close to the buildings with lights on inside. On one windowsill sat a row of walkie talkies, hopefully we wouldn't be spotted and these put to use!

The breakwater itself is a long narrow strip which stretches out into the sea, luck was on our side that despite the sub zero temperatures, there was no wind. We passed the shipping refuelling station and arrived at the fort to find the main gate locked. There was no other choice but to climb our way in over oct covered rocks and walls. Dodgy was an understatement. One slip and you were in the water!

The pictures were definitely worth the effort. My first ever attempt at night photography too.

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