Ancient castles and old memories

Trip Start Jul 06, 2010
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Trip End Oct 01, 2010


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dover as some of you may already know is where I spent some of my National Service time as an infantryman with the Gloucestershire Regiment. Stemming the tide of communist aggression in Dover as we described it. Back then Dover was a busy port enabling travellers to cross from Dover to Calais with their cars. Nowadays since the completion of the channel tunnel it is a bit of a backwater and is in a permanent economic downturn.
We started out from Bromley on a perfectly fine day which deteriorated every mile closer to Dover
such that when we arrived at the castle visibility was down to about 50 metres. This made photography difficult and because photography was limited to specific areas I was not able to record a great deal of the visit. 
Dover Castle was in existence and an important part of England's defences  at the time of William the Conqueror.The Romans also considered it a strategic site and built two light houses in the area During WW2 it was very important as an underground MOD headquarters which
had been tunnelled under the castle beginning in Napoleonic times and extended to house a major military installation when the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over Kent .
We were shown around in an escorted group and it was hard going up and down steep slopes in very narrow tunnels. We saw the ops rooms where the air battles were plotted , much smaller than I imagined. There was a hospital where seriously injured pilots were treated in very small operating rooms and the accommodation which was cramped and primitive to say the least.
The castle itself was very impressive but  conditions precluded  taking good photographs.
Dover Castle is visible on a good day from Connaught barracks where I did my best to be a soldier for just over a year. As we were so close it was an ideal opportunity to drive across and check out my memories. The army no longer uses it these days and it has been used as an educational establishment in recent years. It is now lying empty again waiting for it's next re-incarnation as an up- market housing sub-division. The old guard room is now manned by a lone security guard and from the gate I could see a few of the original buildings that had not been demolished and rebuilt since the sixties. It was a bit sad to see a place that had seen so much activity lying more or less derelict. 
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Comments

Johannah on

Hi Bert and Carol, I have just reread all of your blog, what a lot of traveling and sight seeing. You seem to have enjoyed the time spent back in Great Britain.
You'll be on your way home soon, I'm looking forward to catching up. Meanwhile thanks for keeping us so well informed ans entertained. Love to you both.

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