UK Sites

The UK has had a long and varied military history, leading to a multitude of installations around the UK.

Atlantic Sea Wall, Hankley Common

Atlantic Sea Wall, Hankley Common
The Atlantic Sea Wall was built in 1943 during the Second World War by Canadian troops as a replica of the German anti-tank defences on the northern coast of France.  It was constructed of concrete, steel rods and wire.  Prior to D-Day it was used as a major training aid to develop and practice techniques...

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Campsie Anti-Air Observation Room (AAOR) Northern Ireland

Campsie Anti-Air Observation Room (AAOR) Northern Ireland
Post World War Two some 30 Anti-Air Observation Rooms were built - large above ground hardened concrete constructions, each one to control a specific Gun Defence Area (GDA). More than 30 were planned but weren't all built (or no evidence has been found so far!). In Northern Ireland there were originally two Gun Defence Areas,...

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Dorking Deepdene Railway Control Centre

Dorking Deepdene Railway Control Centre
During World War 2, the Southern Railway group took over the Deepdene Hotel, near Dorking, as their War Headquarters. On their take over, it was discovered that the grounds to the rear of the buildings contained a series of caves. It was decided that the natural protection of the caves would be utilised for the...

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Drakelow Tunnels, Staffordshire

Drakelow Tunnels, Staffordshire
The War Years Drakelow Tunnels is an underground complex with tunnels stretching to around 285,000 sq. ft. It was built during World War Two as a protected shadow factory for the manufacture of Hercules, Mercury and Pegasus aero-engines by Rover. Construction was started in July of 1941 using a blasting technique to form the shape...

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Farleigh Down Sidings, Wiltshire

Farleigh Down Sidings, Wiltshire
During the 1930's the government of the United Kingdom recognised the need for secure ammunition storage throughout the country.  Their proposal was to construct central ammunition depots at strategic locations throughout the country, one in Cumbria and Shropshire and a final site was selected down close to Bath where there was extensive abandoned mine workings.  CAD Corsham was the...

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Gilkicker Fort, Portsmouth

Gilkicker Fort, Portsmouth
Fort Gilkicker was built in 1871 as part of the coastal defence around Portsmouth Harbour, the fort had 22 heavy guns on a semi-circular wall and was built specifically to stop the French landing on the point. The fort was in use right up until 1956 when it was deemed surplus to requirements. in its...

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Llanberis Bomb Store, Wales

Llanberis Bomb Store, Wales
During 1939 the Air Ministry was looking to build a large bomb store capable of storing a large amount of ordnance. In Llanberis the Glynrhonwy Isaf slate quarry was sitting disused, upon inspection it was deemed suitable for the Air Ministries needs of storing 18,000lbs of bombs. Following the success of the design employed at...

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Longcross Barracks, Chertsey, Surrey

Longcross Barracks, Chertsey, Surrey
Not much is known about the reason for Longcross Barracks, it can only be assumed that it was there to protect the MOD defence research establishment close by and was not used for a fighting unit.  It was constructed in the either the 60s or 70s and is of typical barracks construction, there was an...

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North and South Front Casemates, Dover

North and South Front Casemates, Dover
The fortification of the Western Heights in Dover Begun in the 18th Century, when the Spanish and French Armada sailed off our coast.  A simple earthworks was constructed to compliment the fortification at Dover Castle. In response to Napoleons planned invasion in 1804, Lieutenant-Colonel William Twiss was order to modernise the existing defences of the Western Heights.  Two...

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Paulsgrove Secure Radio Station, Portsmouth

Paulsgrove Secure Radio Station, Portsmouth
Whilst building the Underground Headquarters (UGHQ) under Fort Southwick nearby (operation Overlord command centre), the Army built into the face of the Paulsgrove chalk pit a secure radio station. This was to provide the communications for the UGHQ. It was sited some distance away so that the large aerial arrays would not attract enemy bombers...

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Portsdown Main, Portsmouth

Portsdown Main, Portsmouth
Portsdown Main is an enormous art deco styled building on the north Portsmouth skyline and is known locally as Portsdown Main or ASWE. The site was designed in the 1930sbut was not built until the 1950’s because of WW2. It has been known as) Admiralty Signals Establishment (ASE) Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE) Defence Evaluation...

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Portsdown Oil Fuel Depot, Portsmouth

Portsdown Oil Fuel Depot, Portsmouth
The Portsdown Underground Fuel Bunker, located under the hills North of the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth, was built during the late 1930s by the Sir Robert McAlpine's construction company.  They bunkers were designed to provide a bombproof Royal Navy fuel oil reservoir to serve the fleet at the Portsmouth Naval Base. The oil was needed as...

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RAF Stenigot ACE HIGH relay station, Lincolnshire

RAF Stenigot ACE HIGH relay station, Lincolnshire
RAF Stenigot is a former World War Two Chain Home radar station situated in Lincolnshire to give warning of the approach of the Luftwaffe to Nottingham, Sheffield and the central midlands. It was retained as a radar station after WW2 as part of ROTOR phase 1 but was then upgraded to a tropospheric relay station...

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RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire

RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire
Towards the end of World War 1, RAF Upper Heyford was established by the Royal Flying Corps. During World War 2 it served a number of units, and was predominantly involved in the training of bomber crews in the 16th OTU (operational training unit), flying Handley Page Hampden bombers. Number 18 squadron, equipped with Bristol...

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RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire

RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire
Towards the end of World War 1, in 1917, the Royal Flying Corps requisitioned 160 acres  of farmland near the village of Upwood, Cambridgshire. In September of that year the station opened as Bury (Ramsey). Initially the No. 75 Squadron, flying BE.2 aircraft out of nearby the Elmswell Airfield in Suffolk used the station as a night-landing...

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RAF Uxbridge Battle of Britain Fighter Command Bunker

RAF Uxbridge Battle of Britain Fighter Command Bunker
RAF Uxbridge was an RAF station in the London Borough of Hilingdon, and was active from 1917 to 2010 when it was closed as part of the MOD plans to reduce defence sites in London in favour of a core site at Northolt. Located within the site is the No.11 Group (Fighter Command) Operations Room...

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RAF West Raynham, Norfolk

RAF West Raynham, Norfolk
Prior to World War II, an extensive review of the air defence capabilities of the UK was undertaken by the government. This led to a major expansion of the Royal Air Force after the 1934 and resulted in the opening of many new airfields over the remainder of the decade. Construction of RAF West Raynham commenced in 1936 as part of this scheme,...

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Reigate Mobilisation Centre, Reigate

Reigate Mobilisation Centre, Reigate
Thirteen Mobilisation Centres were built between 1889 and 1903 as part of the London Defence Scheme. These were not planned as forts although some of them would have been armed on mobilisation. Their main function was as a store for guns, small arms ammunition, tools and other equipment required for the batteries and infantry allocated...

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Reserve Home Forces Headquarters, Wentworth

Reserve Home Forces Headquarters, Wentworth
The Wentworth estate, which is infamous for its world class golf course, was commandeered at the outbreak of world war two and became a military encampment just outside of Virginia Water in Surrey.  The bunker was constructed as a back-up control bunker in the event that the main one, under Whitehall was destroyed during the...

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St Patricks Barracks, Ballymena, Northern Ireland

St Patricks Barracks, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
St Patricks Barracks is a large army base in Northern Ireland, that first opened in 1937 as a depot for the Royal Ulster Rifles, during WW2 it was used by the Americans as a barracks and it reverted back to its original role as a depot of the Royal Ulster Rifles after the war. In...

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The Grand Shaft, Dover

The Grand Shaft, Dover
The Grand Shaft was built to provide a shortcut for the soldiers garrisoned in the forts and barracks situated at Western Heights; it was constructed at a time when there was a great fear of invasion from the Napoleonic forces amassing at Boulogne.  The entire defensive network throughout Dover consisted of two detached forts conected...

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Modified: 6th Feb 2018