Kate Anslinger / AWM contributor
Buying a new home can be a stressful and exciting time. It’s always scary to commit to such a large amount of money for many years to come, but it’s all worth it if you have a home you love. One of the best parts of moving is exploring the new home. If you live in an older neighborhood, then you certainly know what it’s like to discover old belongings left behind by previous owners. In some cases, you can even find secret closets and storage areas.
When Lisa Marie Camps, mom of four, moved into a new home she expected to make some great memories with her family, but she certainly never expected to discover a secret World War II bomb bunker.
It all started when Lisa noticed an unmarked manhole cover on the property, just a few weeks after moving in. The unmarked cover was hidden beneath the garden in the backyard. She immediately contacted local historians to assess the space and they soon found out that it led to a large air-raid shelter dating back to World War II.
The house, which is located in Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire, is close by the previous site of British Acoustic Films (BAF) which was a company that left London in 1941 to avoid the Blitz in the midst of the war.
While historians haven’t made a firm conclusion as to why the bunker is in this specific location, they believe that it may have been used as a shelter for BAF employees.
Gloucestershire County Council’s archaeology department shared the following statement:
“It looks as though the house was built after the air-raid shelter was put in for the British Acoustic Films Factory. Records show that the Eastern Avenue estate was built in 1949 so I am guessing the shelter was built for the factory workers and was too much hassle to remove when they built the houses. Given this, there is a distinct possibility that it will be larger than a domestic shelter and may, therefore, be more extensive than it looks.”
Another theory is that the shelter may have been used by Britain’s Home Guard during the war. The Home Guard consisted of 1.5 million local volunteers who were unable to enter military service. They were basically seen as a “backup force” in the event that Nazi Germany and their allies invaded the United Kingdom.
“I don’t think we have absolute clarity about its use and purpose. It seems that it was possibly used by the Home Guard. But the many decades that have passed since the shelter was in service has left few clues as to its precise purpose,” Gerald Cooke, one of the local historians helping Lisa, said. “Some decades ago it appears that items were found in the shelter. It was in-filled and today we started to clear the rubble inside the building.”
Lisa does not want the space to go to waste and has plans of digging it out and showing the local kids this interesting piece of history. She’d love to turn in into a community venture and use it for teaching purposes.
“I love Second World War history and my mission now is to find out exactly why it’s here,” said Lisa.
Source : awm.com