war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper


An Air Raid Shelter

See also Shelters and More Shelters

Great War Shelters

Dover suffered both bombing and shelling during the second World War. Many families took shelter in the caves, others had air-raid shelters supplied to them, such as the Anderson. Families also constructed their own shelters, and here is one.

entrance to the shelter

Just outside the back door of the house, the father of the family had dug this shelter into the chalk of the downs. The door is small and narrow - there is just room for one person at a time to crawl in.

Inside the shelter is just as narrow and low - and it's also very dark! The shelter stretches some ten feet back into the hillside, and several members of the family would sleep here during night-time raids.

inside the shelter

cover for exit

But this isn't any ordinary drain-hole cover. Made by Dolbear and Johnson of Dover, it conceals a secret.

Shelters should always have two exits at least, in case fallen masonry should block one. Underneath the cover, beyond the line of the house, is another exit from the shelter, at the far end, beyond the line of the house. It extends some eight feet down into the ground.

Here's Maggie, looking up. Having spent just a few minutes in the shelter, she can vouch that Dovorians during the war were very brave indeed!

down the shaft

See also Shelters and More Shelters

with grateful thanks to Dawn Parkinson, granddaughter of Henry Beatty
pictures, Simon Chambers


Copyright 2006-11 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved