Site Records

SiteName: Hougham Battery - Fortress & Battery Plotting Room

South side of A20
Dover, Kent
OS Grid Ref: TR290392

Sub Brit site visit 29th December 2002

[Source: Nick Catford]

Hougham Battery is one of a number of coastal batteries established during WW2 along the Kent Coast. It was built in 1941 and manned by men of 520 Coastal Regiment Royal Artillery although

No. 1 Emplacement under construction

by 1942 most of the younger men had been transferred to field regiments and most of those left manning the guns were elderly, including many veterans of the previous war. The battery was located on the north side of the old Folkstone - Dover Road and it was equipped with three 8" Mk. VIII naval guns.

Plan of Hougham Battery
Drawn by John Guy
  • 1 No. 1 Gun emplacement with magazine below
  • 2 No. 2 Gun emplacement with magazine below
  • 3 No. 3 Gun emplacement with magazine below
  • 4 No. 1 Engine Room
  • 5 No. 2 Engine Room
  • 6 Workshop
  • 7 R.A. Store
  • 8 Old coastguard station
  • 9 Battery Plotting Room and Fortress Plotting Room
  • 10 Fortress Observation Post
  • 11 Battery Observation Post
  • 12 Fortress Observation Post
  • 13 Fire Command Post
  • 14 Ammunition store - pillbox
  • 15 Battery Observation Post (not finished)
  • 16 Chain Home Low Radar
  • 17 Guard Room
  • 18 Engine Room
  • 19 Lydden Spout BOP
  • 20 Sub Power Station
  • 21 Lydden Spout 6" Battery
  • 22 Railway Line
  • 23 No. 1 Defensive electric light
  • 24 Administration and living quarters
  • 25 Farm building used by battery
  • 26 Farm cotttages used by battery
  • 27 Lavatory for Plotting Room personnel
  • 28 Sleeping accommodation for plotting room personnel
  • 29 War shelter and magazine for AA gun position on east side
  • 30 Spigot Mortar mounting

The battery was largely covered over with spoil during the abortive construction of the Channel Tunnel in the 1970's and very little is visible today apart from the top section of an underground magazine.

Plotting room under construction in 1941

The combined fortress and battery plotting room was located to the south of the gun emplacements and this has survived in a field on the south side of the A20, 20 yards south of a farm access track that runs parallel with the road at this point. Other buildings survive on the cliff top including the Fire Command Post, Fortress Observation Post and Battery Observation Post. The overall coastal command for Dover was from an operations room in one of the casemates below Dover Castle,

alongside the anti aircraft operations room. This worked in conjunction with the Command Fire Post which was co-located with the Port War Signals Station on the cliff top above the casemates. The coastal batteries at Dover were manned by three regiments of at least 3 batteries.

520 Coastal Regiment Royal Artillery manned the guns to the west of Dover (Capel, Lydden Spout, Hougham and Citadel batteries), 540 Regiment manned the guns to the east ( Fan Bay, Wanstone Farm and South Foreland Batteries) and 519 manned the rest.

Plotting room under construction

Entrance to the bunker in the 1970's

The batteries to thwwe east and westt of Dover The batteries to the east and west of Dover were each designated as a fortress and each fortress had an underground plotting room from where the guns could be controlled.

Each battery within that fortress had a similar sized underground plotting room that could just control the guns for that battery. At South Foreland the fortress and battery plotting rooms were at different locations, 400 yards apart but at Hougham the two plotting rooms were co-located within the same bunker.

Photo:Fortress Plotting Room - Emergency escape shaft on the right and door into the plotting room on the left
Photo by Nick Catford

The main entrance into the plotting room has been backfilled but it is still possible to gain access through the emergency escape shaft. At the surface this consists of heavy hinged steel hatch (it takes two to lift it) over the 5' wide 25' deep escape shaft. The original ladder is still in place. At the bottom of the shaft is a 22 foot long passage and at the far end of it a low rusty steel door into the bunker. The passage enters the bunker three feet up a wall in the fortress plotting room and there is a further short ladder fixed to the wall for access. The room has been stripped of any original fittings as have most of the rooms in the bunker.

Photo:Floor plan
Drawn by Dan McKenzie

Having entered the bunker into the fortress plotting room the battery plotting room is to the right through a door way in the three foot thick concrete wall. All but one of the steel doors in the bunker has been removed.


Further information and pictures about this site continues here

[Source: Nick Catford]

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