Wednesday 1 August 2012

Hexton Tunnel / Deep Air Raid Shelter

Site Visited - May 2009

Not all air raid shelters were purpose built like many we have discovered. Some were part of original features, railway tunnels & quarry workings & we will feature these along the way to give you a better picture of where Plymothians used to seek refuge during Luftwaffe bombing raids. Here is a tunnel that eluded us for a while but finally after a bit of luck we came to document in back in 2009.

After searching for this many a time, efforts had proved unsuccessful until one day a phone call to a welcome source revealed I was stood on top of it. The entrance lay on private property & after making contact with the owners we were kindly allowed to visit & photograph this tunnel, many thanks to them for giving us the opportunity to do so. Part of former quarry workings, it's full length is unknown due to a collapse at the end but likely to have led through to another part of the quarry. It was used as an air raid shelter during World War II & used nightly by up to 1,000 people which we found astonising due to it's size, conditions must have been so cramped but it no doubt played a huge part in saving many lives.
If you know of any family members or was a child that took refuge here we would like to hear from you. Or did you have a relative who worked in the Plymouth quarries from years ago?

Please get in touch via .

The entrance to the tunnel

Inside the first few feet of the entrance is remnants of a blast wall from it's use as an air raid shelter

Rusting enamel bowl

Looking back toward the tunnel portal

Ochre staining on the tunnel walls

Angle showing the cabling conduit & drainage channel

Looking back toward the entrance

Steel conduit for electricity cable fitted during WWII

Fuse box

Remnants of a blast wall from it's use as an air raid shelter


Si capturing the natural spring close to the collapsed end of the tunnel

At the end of the tunnel showing the collapse

1 comment:

  1. My mother sheltered here as a child (she was born in January 1938, and lived with her parents in Hooe, this tunnel would only have been a few minutes walk for them). She can also remember something a little odd, the war was over and she was looking down at the entrance of the tunnel, only to see a suitcase there. I'll ask her for more details, and email the full story to you if you would like. I'll email you my address, Lucy.