Report - Royal Naval Reserve Headquarters (HMS Wildfire), Kent - December 2015

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Flaxenation of the G!!!
Regular User
Jan 20, 2010
Royal Naval Reserve Headquarters
HMS Wildfire

Visited with The Wicker Man & Space Invader


The Explore

It had been a very long time coming and was labelled as one of the ‘holy grails’ among many explorers in Kent since it was opened in about 2007 for a short while and photos hit the internet from the inside.

Rewind about 4 years to a group of 9 of us forum members from Kent hatched a plan to gain access to the place. We managed to bypass the first obstacle with some careful planning and some special tools only to then find we had underestimated the security of the place by miles. There was a reason we had always been told it was no longer doable and now we understood why.

I wouldn’t like to say we gave up at this point but the place did take a back seat on the list until circumstances changed or we exposed another weakness in the security but this never happened.

Back to the original plan and I was having some late night discussion with Wicker Man about it and we both agreed it needed to have some time spent on trying to see the place.

There have been countless nights of ice, snow, rain, and locals disturbing us at really inconvenient times while trying different means of access. It became almost an obsession and as time went on we got closer and closer to achieving our goal. Space Invader joined us for the long repeat nights of fail as we slowly sussed the way we were going to enter.

Hats off to The Wicker man for his skills here that proved to be invaluable at the final hurdle and eventually saw us gain access.

I even remember travelling down here in a wheelchair with the boys who were determined that if we got in they would get me round it while crippled ha-ha. I'm still curious to know how easily someone that cant walk can still ascend ropes though.

I don’t want to give too much away but I think officials would be very hard pushed to understand exactly when or how we did it and that is the true beauty of these things. As sad as the exploring moto sounds – leave only footprints - there's a distinct reward leaving a site knowing you have done just that.



There is loads of history that can be found online but here’s some brief info:

During 1958 the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) was absorbed into the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR). Among the new shore service roles for the RNR were the RNR HQ Units working in Maritime HQ's at the Major Ports. In 1963 the RNR established such a unit in the recently closed ACHQ at Chatham, being commissioned as HMS Wildfire on 10th September 1964.

The function of the unit was to provide a trained and stable staff for plotting and communications duties in the Flag Officer, Medway’s operational headquarters now entitled Local Command Head Quarters (LCHQ) in time of war. Ratings were training in both of these trades, in addition Officers specialised in Naval Control of Shipping (NCS), Mine Counter Measure (MCM) and Intelligence duties. With the closure of Chatham as a naval base in 1983 the requirement for the HQ Unit ceased, with the resultant vacation and closure of the LCHQ and the tunnels.

The bunker is built up of 59 different rooms in total including conference rooms, Telephone exchange, Class rooms, Operations room, Ventilation plant rooms, etc.

There was a large fire when the site was previously open meaning there was damage to the main operations room and some of the original features are now lost but it is still an impressive space and pretty clean considering.

















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