In 1937, 450,000 square feet of disused gypsum workings next to Peter Ford’s plaster works were purchased by the Air Ministry for weapons storage during the Second World War. The RAF venture into underground storage was one of disaster and tragedy. The depot at Fauld became the site of the largest explosion in the UK, when 3,670 tons of bombs stored underground exploded en masse. After the explosion there was a mushroom cloud, about 50 yards wide and upwards out of sight. Mounds of earth weighing up to a ton in weight fell to the ground. Afterwards a fine dust up to 4 inches thick fell, and it was possible to walk without making any noise. A crater, half a mile across and 100 feet deep was left behind. Firefighters from Burton, Stafford and Lichfield attended. At the depot, both R.A.F. personnel and Italian prisoners of war were employed. Both airmen and Italians were killed in the blast. The entire mine was not destroyed, but the hills housing the mine completely disappeared. Access to the remaining tunnels opened up in late 2012, the location was kept very quiet and is now sealed again. I have only just decided to post these photos as it seems several forums have released them from there ‘private’ sections. Glad we got in while still could. Enjoy.
“During the war Birmingham was still thriving as a industrial city and was a heavy target for the German raids. Longbridge being a ridiculously sized plant was easily going to be a main target so they constructed a maze of tunnels under the main plant so if the shit hit the fan they could continue production of plane engines and other bits there and the war effort wouldn’t be too badly damaged” Took a trip with Bubblehead last night after spotting an entrance. We descended 4 the flight staircase deep into the ground and where confronted by a flooded passage, I was immediately thankful i had brought my wellies (unlike Bubblehead, who had a very squelchy explore). We waded through a tunnel to emerge into a large underground tunnel, corrugated walls, the reminiscence of a narrow gauge railway and the strong smell of diesel. Bubblehead gave me the guided tour of the main features, few of which have survived, although what remained made for some great shots, including the male toilets while looked like it was straight out of Trainspotting. Anyone for a dip?
Krampnitz Kaserne was a military complex, outside Potsdam, created by the Germans during the rearmament period. It was used by the Nazis until the end of the Second World War. After the war it was used by Soviet troops until its abandonment in 1992. The site was used by the German army since 1937 when the cavalry moved its school from Hannover. It was also used as a driving training centre until the Russians took control of the area, taking over a day after the Germans abandoned it April 26th, 1945. The 35th Guards Motor Rifle Division was then stationed there until its abandonment in 1992, after the Dissolution of the Soviet Union. The whole complex consists of more than 50 buildings, most of which are apartment buildings and storage, though it also includes an officers’ club, a Tennis court, theatre and more. It is rumored that movies such as Inglourious Basterds and Enemy at the Gates shot some scenes here.
After my visit last year, we had to take another trip! There was so much more to see, and aided by the locals, we managed to cover it all! (well a lot of it) It’s like a small town, impossible to describe the scale of the place. ‘Beelitz-Heilstätten, a district of the town, is home to a large hospital complex of about 60 buildings including a cogeneration plant erected from 1898 on according to plans of architect Heino Schmieden. Originally designed as a sanatorium by the Berlin workers’ health insurance corporation, the complex from the beginning of World War I on was a military hospital of the Imperial German Army. During October and November 1916, Adolf Hitler recuperated at Beelitz-Heilstätten after being wounded in the leg at the Battle of the Somme. In 1945, Beelitz-Heilstätten was occupied by Soviet forces, and the complex remained a Soviet military hospital until 1995, well after the German reunification. In December 1990 Erich Honecker was admitted to Beelitz-Heilstätten after being forced to resign as the head of the East German government. Following the Soviet withdrawal, attempts were made to privatize the complex, but they were not entirely successful. Some sections of the hospital remain in operation as a neurological rehabilitation center and as a center for research and care for victims of Parkinsons disease. The remainder of the complex, including the surgery, the psychiatric ward, and a rifle range, was abandoned in 2000. As of 2007, none of the abandoned hospital buildings or the surrounding area were secured, giving the area the feel of a ghost town. This has made Beelitz-Heilstätten a destination for curious visitors and a film set […]
Boeing B-29 Superfortress no. 44-61999 that crashed on Shelf Moor, Bleaklow in between Manchester and Sheffield, Derbyshire. It belonged to the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 91st Reconnaissance Group, 311th Air Division, Strategic Air Command, USAF. Crashed at about 11am on 3rd November 1948 while descending through the clouds. All 13 crew members died.
On 18th August 1939, the Air Ministry sought approval to acquire the disused Glynrhonwy Isaf slate quarry which had closed in 1930; the quarry, near Llanberis in North Wales, was deemed suitable for the storage of 18,000 tons of bombs. It consisted of a number of deep open pits, linked together by tunnels. Following the apparent success of the design employed at Harpur Hill in Derbyshire, the air ministry decided to use the same technique at Llanberis, converting the eastern pit into an underground depot, but because of the great depth of the quarry the design was adapted to produce a structure with two floors throughout. The lower level and a conventional flat reinforced concrete ceiling which also formed the floor of the upper level which had an arched roof like that at Harpur Hill. Standard and narrow gauge railway lines entered the lower level of the depot through the original quarry access tunnels, while three electric lifts transported bombs to the upper floor. The deep pits to the west of the depot were later used for burning and dumping redundant and dismantled ordnance. Overhead protection was given by forty feet of broken slate. In response to pressure from the treasury efforts were made to cheapen and accelerate the construction of Llanberis, but unfortunately the cost cutting had disastrous consequences only six months after the depot was opened.
‘This former Bath stone quarry was converted in to a sub-depot of the Central Ammuntions Depot. The site consists of two areas, the main storage area – districts 12 to 18 and connect via a drift, districts 19 and 20. Each storage district was divided up in to numbered storage bays, passage ways were fitted with conveyor to transport crates of ammunition around the mine.’ – http://www.nettleden.com/venues/monkton-farleigh/ Having first tried getting to this place several years ago and failing, this explore has always been one that I have had a passion to reach. This weekend we finaly made it, and I was prepared to endure pain, grovel ;), and ache like hell to get there.
Beelitz-Heilstätten, a district of the town, is home to a large hospital complex of about 60 buildings erected in 1898 and deigned by architect Heino Schmieden. Originally designed as a sanatorium, the complex from the beginning of World War I became a military hospital of the Imperial German Army. During October and November 1916, Adolf Hitler was treated at Beelitz-Heilstättenfor a leg wound at the Battle of the Somme. In 1945, Beelitz-Heilstätten was occupied by Soviet forces, and the complex remained a Soviet military hospital until 1995. In December 1990 Erich Honecker was admitted to Beelitz-Heilstätten after being forced to resign as the head of the East German government.
RAF Stenigot was a World War II radar station situated near Donington on Bain, Lincolnshire, England. It was part of the Chain Home radar network, intended to provide long range early warning for raids from Luftflotte V and the northern elements of Luftflotte IIalong the approaches to Sheffield and Nottingham and the central midlands. After World War II, the site was retained as part of the Chain Home network. In 1959 it was upgraded to a communications relay site as part of the ACE Highprogram, which involved adding four tropospheric scatter dishes. The site was decommissioned in the late 1980s and was mostly demolished by 1996. The dishes however, still remain.
Construction of the airfield was completed by mid 1942, with a classic three concrete runway RAF “star” arrangement. The name ‘Whitchurch Heath’ being used until 1 June 1943, when RAF Tilstockwas adopted. Between 1 September 1942 and 21 January 1946, the airfield was used by No. 81 Operational Training Unit and No. 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit Royal Air Force for the training of pilots and crews in the operation of Whitley, Stirling and Halifax heavy bombers. During the 1950s, Auster AOP.6 ‘spotter’ aircraft of No. 663 Squadron RAF used the facilities of the otherwise non-operational airfield during weekends for liaison flights with Royal Artillery units. The airfield is still being used today at weekends for skydiving. Skydivers have used the airfield for Tandem Skydiving and running Parachute Jump Courses since 1966. Today all that is left of the old RAF base is the control tower, standing alone in a field next to the A49, 1 runway used by the parachute club and a jumbled mess of overgrown buildings in the wood. These building however do still have a few suprises left behind.
Built in 1940 as a WW2 strategic grain silo between Kidlington and Oxford, the Water Eaton Grain Silo was used up until the 1980s and has remained derelict since. It has had planning permission passed, to enable Ewelme based waste company Grundon, to build an enormous waste processing and recycling plant. Quite a layed back, easy explore, but still fill of industrial gems.
Royal Ordnance Factory Featherstone was filling factory No.17, covering just over 64 hectares, the factory used to specialise in filling various munitions, including, Bombs, Shells, Smoke and Cartridges. It served a major role in WWII but since then has remained derelict, at some point BAE Systems took over the site and kept the majority of the buildings but sold off 13 hectares to HMP Service who have now constructed a prison on the remains of certain parts of the site. At present the remainding site is up for disposal and planning permission has been sought to transform the site into a housing estate.