DOVER CASTLE AND DYNAMO ROOMS

by Author | November 28th, 2011

I thought I’d put up a quick post showing a few bits and pieces relating to Thunder in May. Having previously posted some picks of Dunkirk and other locations at the far side of the Channel, I thought I’d best include some of this side. Admiral Ramsay, the man in operational command of Operation Dynamo (the evacuation from Dunkirk) had his headquarters in the Tunnels at Dover Castle. When it became inevitable that the British Expeditionary Force would need to be evacuated from France, Ramsay needed to establish a specific operations room to focus specifically on this task, thereby allowing the usual operations room to concentrate on its routine business. He chose a vacant chamber that had once housed the Dynamo Electric Generators, and thus the evacuation became known as Operation Dynamo.

Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the extensive tunnel system, cut into the White Cliffs of Dover and see a very modern an informative series of presentations on the Dunkirk story. It’s a fascinating trip, be you a military enthusiast or curious tourist. The only slight pain is that there is no photography allowed within the tunnels themselves. However, I managed to get a couple of useful snaps. The first one shows the entrance to the tunnel system. As you can see, Ramsay also shared the tunnels with the local Army garrison headquarters too.

The next photograph was taken on the balcony which is carved into the face of the white cliffs, from which Ramsay and his staff had a clear view of events across the Channel. Even with a little haze on this photo, you can clearly see the hills that overlook Calais in the distance. It gives you an idea of just how close to France we really are!

You can also see the enormity of Dover’s harbour. Now home to just a few cross-Channel ferries and pleasure craft, it would have been crammed with vessels of every type in 1940, from naval warships to tankers, freighters and fishing boats.

Also on display is this 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun, the standard heavy anti-aircraft weapon for the British in World War II with a much higher ceiling than the 40mm Bofors Light Anti-Aircraft Gun. Tragically, due to a misunderstanding in orders, a whole regiment of these highly effective guns were ‘spiked’ prematurely at Dunkirk, leaving the perimeter more or less helpless against the high level bombing of the Luftwaffe.

I would recommend a trip to Dover Castle for anyone who fancied a varied and full day out. The castle, grounds and medieval tunnels will keep you going for several hours, even before you get into the tunnels and underground hospital. The highlight at the end of the wartime tunnels is that you emerge into what has got to be one of the best military themed gift shops going at any English Heritage site. If you love a bit of nostalgia (like me) then be warned; you can easily spend a small fortune.

I am preparing a few more posts for uploading in the near future, including some more battle-maps. Till next time; AJ

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Seelöwe Nord is the online home of Andy Johnson, a war fiction novelist. Seelöwe Nord is a war novel that tells the alternative history of Operation Sealion, the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. Followed by Thunder in May, and the recently released Crucible of Fate, the trilogy of War Fiction remains a popular read within the genre.

Andy has also started to publish small Leadership and Management Booklets drawing from his extensive experience across many sectors and industries, both military and civilian, the first of which is entitled Captains of the Gate and is now available for download on eReaders directly from Amazon.