History and Stories

Dover Secret Wartime Tunnels Collection Highlights

The network of tunnels within the white cliffs beneath Dover Castle served as a barracks for soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars, became a headquarters and hospital during the Second World War, and were equipped to serve as a Regional Seat of Government in the 1960s in the event of nuclear war. The collection for Dover Castle illustrates their entire history. From weapons and technology to uniforms and personal possessions, the highlights shown here provide a glimpse into the lives of the men and women who served their country from Dover Castle.

Many of these objects were donated by service men and women who worked in the tunnels at Dover, or by their families. Others are examples of the types of object we know from photos and oral histories were used within the tunnels, and have been acquired from further afield in order to illustrate what life was like.

Find out more

  • Dunkirk on the Home Front

    Read some of the personal stories of what it was like to work in the tunnels beneath Dover Castle in the gruelling, hot days of May and June 1940.

  • The Fall of France in 1940

    On 22 June 1940 the French government surrendered to Hitler, just six weeks after the Germans’ initial advance westwards. Find out why France collapsed so quickly.

  • Fortress Dover and the First World War

    Use our virtual tour to explore a building at Dover Castle that played a vital role in safeguarding Dover as a garrison and naval base in the First World War.

  • History of Dover Castle

    Learn about the long history of the castle, from its likely origins as an Iron Age hillfort, through its development as a great fortress, to its secret role in the Cold War.

  • Operation Dynamo: Things You Need to Know

    Find out the key facts about Operation Dynamo, the near-miraculous evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940, which was controlled from Dover Castle.

  • D-Day Deception: Operation Fortitude South

    In 1944, Dover Castle’s tunnels played a supporting role in an elaborate deception that concealed the true location of the D-Day landings from the Germans.

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