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Exploring the WWII bunkers on Sheriffmuir


This is a slightly different post and it's about things from World War II so I thought the best day to write about it was Remembrance Sunday. Remembrance Day happens on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November which are the same day this year. It is the anniversary of the end of World War I but on this day we remember the soldiers that have died in all wars.

On a moor called Sheriffmuir near my house there is a big secret from World War II that not many people know about, even the ones who live here. Hidden on the moors are bunkers and walls that were built in 1943, not to defend anything but to practice for one of the most important events of World War II, the D-Day landings when the Allied forces attacked France to force the Germans out of there. The Germans had built big fortifications along the beaches, and the Allies had to practice how to break through them.

This is a big wide shot showing where the bunkers and walls today. The photograph was taken from high ground which would have been on the French side. Where the bunkers were was a big beach with sand and a tram system as well, according to the RCAHMS database.

Use the scroll bar to move the picture and show all the bunkers.

As I walked up to it, this is the first bunker I came to, and it is the biggest. I call it the North Bunker. It is made of concrete which is ridged because the ridges are from the corrugated iron the mould was made of when the concrete was poured. There are metal bars which go inside the concrete to make it stronger. This is the back of the bunker, from the "German" side.

The bunker are built at 2/3rds scale, but they are based on German designs. From this side there are four entrances. This is the one on the far right.

That leads up to this circle on top which is a turret where a gun used to be.

Inside the turret you can see old wire fence posts.

There was a very entrance here but it is quite narrow now because earth must have slipped down:

It was all flooded from just below ground level. The ridges you can see at the bottom are reflections from the ceiling.

This was inside it. There was a passageway which seemed to go to the right.

There was a very narrow entrance to the right of it which seemed to have a small doorway at the other end.

This is the back of the north bunker again. This had been trained as a military training ground for years and before the bunkers there were trenches dating from World War I.

There are still bits of jagged metal in parts:

South of the North Bunker is this enormous fake Atlantic Wall with an anti-tank ditch in front of it:

The wall has been pretty much exploded by bombs and shells so you can see the metal poles that made it strong.

In places you could see giant holes almost all the way through.

In one place the wall had been completely destroyed:

This shows how high and thick the wall was. It must have taken a lot to destroy it.

This is the view from the same spot in the other direction. It gets thinner at the other end so they could test lots of different artillery shells.

This is from the "Allied" side.

At the other end of the wall, there are two well hidden bunkers. This is what I call the East bunker. It is almost invisible from the west side because it is buried into the ground. It is not as big as the north bunker. On the east side is a trench with some blocked entrances.

This is the South Bunker which is a similar design to the East Bunker:

The trench at the back is blocked by spikes and nettles and weeds and mud:

There is a very narrow gap where the entrance used to be and you can just see into it:

It is very difficult to see even on the camera but there is a very narrow tunnel which is flooded with a doorway at the end of it and rolls of barbed wire in the tunnel.

This shows how difficult it is to se the bunker if you were attacking it:

West of that bunker was an a building that was above ground but was heavily bombed. I call it the West Bunker, even though it's not a bunker.

This is what one of the entrances looked like.

Nothing had been inside it for years apart from sheep.

From the other side it looked completely wrecked but the walls and roof were still solid:

The walls were incredibly thick:

One wall had a hole all the way through as if it was hit by a tank shell.

Other parts of the wall had smaller holes. I wonder if there are bullets still in there ? If so I want to go get them.

Whenever I go to this site it makes me remember what it was like for the soldiers who fight in wars, and how difficult it is for people who fight in them, which is why I am publishing this on Remembrance Sunday.

And next week I am back to writing about bones !

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David (the Ardoch house guy) said...

Excellent exploring work, once again. Many years ago I was visiting a military base in northern California, and asked the escort what the little buildings were a short distance from the road. He said they were German Prisoner of War cells. So we walked over and I got to walk around and take some photos of PoW graffiti on the walls. I never knew German prisoners were brought to California!

It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, and I am off to attend the ceremonies at a village called Ralston near Canadian Forces Base Suffield, where British soldiers train.

Jake said...

Cool ! There was a famous prisoner of war camp a few miles from my village called Cultybraggan too.

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