The Underground Theatre at Dover Castle, image ©English Heritage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's well known that the tunnel's beneath Dover Castle were the military headquarters during World War II but did you know an underground hospital was also concealed there?

Between 1941 and 1942, an extra annexe level of tunnels was created to house a hospital and provide refuge for local civilians who might need shelter. *The first documented staff to man the Medical Dressing Station were the 52nd Field Dressing Unit RAMAC who were stationed there, under Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Edgar Walsh, between June and November 1943. Emergency treatment was given to pilots rescued from the channel, as well as local and military casualties, before they were transferred inland for recuperation.   

Due to its proximity to the French coastline, Dover suffered heavy shelling from the German guns stationed there and the busiest time for the hospital was between late 1943 and mid 1944, when this was combined with a continuous air onslaught from V1 rockets.

This reconstructed operating theatre is now on permanent display and from 25-27 May 2013, visitors can also enjoy Dover Castle's largest World War II weekend. Military and civilian re-enactors will recreate the wartime atmosphere with explosive battles, vintage vehicles, living history encampments and, for when you need a moment's rest, a fully operational NAAFI tea wagon. 

For more information please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

 

*As stated in the Dover Castle Secret Wartime Tunnel Conservation Plan August 2009

*This blog post has been cross posted to www.historymagpie.com where you can discover more about Kent's historical people, places and objects.