Another local one that I've been wanting to do for ages, but never got round to it until now.
It's filled full of asbestos, so I made sure to bring my good PP3 mask, but even that wasn't enough probably.
During World War 2, the Southern Railway took over the Deepdene Hotel near Dorking in Surrey for its wartime emergency headquarters. In the grounds they excavated an underground control centre taking advantage of a network of existing natural caves that had been acknowledged 300 years before in the diaries of John Evelyn. Because of the natural protection afforded by the location of the caves they were eminently suitable for the development of a bunker to house both the headquarters' telephone exchange and Traffic Control who also had their underground control centre there with underground divisional controls at Woking (South West Division), Southampton (Western Division), Orpington (South Eastern Division) and Redhill (Central Division)
I got a message in the morning saying it's doable and to go soon. So a few hours later I was there and inside.
I'd been meaning to do this one for a long time now, especially as its pretty local, so now was a good a time as any.
It's actually not a very large bunker, but its nice for its modest size. The infamous 100 steps lived up to its reputation as terrifying. I only went up a few steps, but that's enough.
I actually bumped into another explorer here who got the fright of his life as I turned the corner and shown my light at him in a moment of confusion and panic. Turned out to be someone else who got the memo and took a trip down to see it from a little further afield.
A nice little bunker, rich full of history.
Ouvrage Hobling is a lesser work (petit ouvrage) of the Maginot Line. Hobling was approved for construction by CORF (Commission d'Organisation des Régions Fortifiées), the Maginot Line's design and construction agency, in 1931 and became operational by 1935, at a cost of 14 million francs. The contractor was Gianotti of Nice. Hobling consists of four combat blocks. The blocks are linked by an underground gallery with barracks and a utility area (usine). The galleries are excavated at an average depth of up to 30 metres (98 ft).
In June 1940 the garrison comprised 115 men and 4 officers of the 164th Fortress Infantry Regiment (RIF). The commanding officer was Captain Boileau. The Casernement de Férange provided peacetime above-ground barracks and support services to Hobling and other positions in the area. The units were under the umbrella of the 3rd Army, Army Group 2.
Hobling played no significant role in either the Battle of France in 1940 or the Lorraine Campaign of 1944. After the Second World War it became part of the Mòle de Boulay, a strongpoint in the northeastern defenses against Soviet attack. Hobling remained under Army control until after 1971, when it was declassified and sold. Sold in 1975, Hobling has been partially stripped by salvagers and is abandoned. The salvage work stopped with the removal of all metals, including cloches and turrets, from two blocks. Hobling was the last ouvrage to be stripped.
Visited with @The_Raw