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Richard Flagg
15-06-2010, 19:58
St Vincents, Grantham - 5 Group HQ

Article in the Grantham Journal;
http://www.granthamjournal.co.uk/news/dambusters_dig_to_find_secret_bunker_1_652806


ARCHAEOLOGISTS have begun an investigation at the home of the Dambusters in a bid to find a secret hidden bunker.

St Vincent’s, off Harrowby Road in Grantham, will forever be assured a place in British history as the headquarters for No. 5 Bomber Group during the Second World War and the birthplace of the Dambusters.

‘Bomber’ Harris and Barnes Wallis were both at St Vincent’s the night of the Dambusters raids.

Now, more than 70 years later, St Vincent’s will welcome investigators from Grantham Archaeology Group to find out what secrets the building still holds.

David Hibbitt, of Grantham Archaeology Group, said: “Shrouded in secrecy the building was converted to suit the needs of Bomber Command, including a mass of communication equipment, control rooms, back up generators, switchboards and so on.

“Many additional buildings were constructed in the grounds including a large briefing room attached to the house and several other unidentified buildings in the grounds.

“Perhaps the most enigmatic reference talks of an underground bunker close to the house, and this is where Grantham Archaeology Group, in association with the Great War Archaeology Group come in.”

Initial work began on Saturday (June 12), with more visits planned through to August.

The archaeological group was invited in by the owner of St Vincent’s, Graham Jeal, who hopes the bunker can be located.

David said: “We only have one reference to the underground bunker, and this was in an interview with a man who used to work at St Vincent’s. His description of the location is quite precise, and this will be the next thing we try to find using geophysics and excavation.

“Proving the existence of the bunker is the main aim of the work.”

l The group is keen to hear from anyone who worked at St Vincent’s during the war or has any old photographs. Tel: 07976981027 or e-mail: granthamarchaeologygroup@yahoo.co.uk

Jerry
16-07-2010, 13:27
Also see:

http://www.granthamjournal.co.uk/news/historic_dambusters_headquarters_could_become_wedd ing_venue_once_again_1_670163

airfields man
16-07-2010, 21:40
I called there about 6-7 years ago, the gates were open so I crept-in and knocked on the door. Explaining my interest to the owner he allowed me to take some photographs inside and out. Haven't been able to find them at all ???

diggerblonde
25-05-2011, 21:01
Just to let you know the archaeological work is continuing at St Vincents - we (Grantham Archaeology Group) would be delighted to hear from anyone who has memories, anecdotes, information, photos etc.

PETERTHEEATER
28-05-2011, 09:16
I was aware that an overground Operations building within the grounds of St V was demolished post-war so would expect that, if a sub level structure existed, that would have survived but been sealed.

Good luck on the search, I should be interested to hear the result.

diggerblonde
28-05-2011, 16:03
Hi - thanks, I'll post updates on here. Apparently there was a separate bunker to the ops/briefing room that was attached to the house, which would make sense as if the house was bombed, you would want to be safe, some distance away. Having said that we're working on the site of that building as well.

Paul Francis
28-05-2011, 20:15
Some distance normally equates to many miles not yards!

diggerblonde
30-05-2011, 11:59
Good point!! But.....we've got documentary evidence that places it in the grounds of the house..... :-)

PETERTHEEATER
31-05-2011, 09:28
Are you going to try and locate it with one of those Ground Radar Imaging thingies?

diggerblonde
31-05-2011, 17:54
Yeah - we've not only used Ground Penetrating Radar thingy, but also resistance and vertical imaging thingies too!! We've had some good targets and results from them, and will be doing some more geofizz in the very near future.

PETERTHEEATER
01-06-2011, 05:49
Thanks, that's encouraging. Are the current owners amenable to having JCB 'digs'

diggerblonde
01-06-2011, 19:56
Oh yes! Thank goodness - a 'big yellow trowel' is going to be doing the hard work instead of us! There is so much ground to get through that we have decided the only way forward is to bring in the digger. And soon :-)

bunkerboy
07-05-2012, 14:26
About 2-3 years ago, my eldest sister and here husband found what looked like a well. they un-screwed the top and there was a ladder. they went in and there were loads of cold war papers, signal machines etc. down there. i only heard about this last night in a conversation about abandoned buildings and bunkers etc. this was in the field next to the TA army barracks. i hope this helps and keep me posted :)

Jerry
07-05-2012, 16:37
If you need a spare trowel let me know, its not a big one though.

parakeetmedic
05-01-2013, 19:28
i only heard about this last night in a conversation about abandoned buildings and bunkers etc. this was in the field next to the TA army barracks.
It may be a red herring but also just could make a lot of sense as the TA Barracks is the former RAF Spitalgate / Spittlegate.

Alex Brown
06-01-2013, 14:40
About 2-3 years ago, my eldest sister and here husband found what looked like a well. they un-screwed the top and there was a ladder. they went in and there were loads of cold war papers, signal machines etc. down there. i only heard about this last night in a conversation about abandoned buildings and bunkers etc. this was in the field next to the TA army barracks. i hope this helps and keep me posted :)

Sounds more like an ROC post than anything else. It's in the wrong place for the Grantham one though.

Yorkie370
21-01-2014, 21:32
Nearest ROC post to Grantham is at SK90193299, on the edge of what was once RAF Harlaxton.

netcompsys
26-09-2014, 14:24
These were taken yesterday immediately before Jim Shorlands talk on "the Life of Guy Gibson"

NOTE This is private property and a family home - NO PUBLIC ACCESS

18174

18175

18176

kevin

Tony H
27-09-2014, 15:48
Kevin

Great images - thanks for sharing! I was offered a ticket to this event but was not able to finish work early enough to attend it. It remains on my "wish list"

Re image 2 (the tennis courts) are these on the site of the elusive Ops bunker - assuming it has been filled in /removed or not (or not?)

I have been re-reading James Holland's Dambuster's and it stated that a passageway connected the house to the underground Ops Block. I am aware that the location of the actual bunker is a subject topic in its own right . . .

Kind Regards

Tony

netcompsys
27-09-2014, 20:41
I am not a fan of the idea that every one of these sites will reveal a "Secret Underground Bunker"

To quote a lead archaeologist from the Grantham Archaeology Group (http://www.granthamjournal.co.uk/news/local/q-a-grantham-archaeologist-david-hibbitt-1-4844525)

We ‘re finding that a lot that has been written on St Vincent’s turns out to have errors in it so what my wife, Angie, has done is compile the historical research for St Vincent’s right back to the original documentation - that way you are getting it right from the word go. I think Graham Jeal (the owner of St Vincent’s) is very pleased with what we’ve done up there. Luckily he’s a nice chap because we said ‘we want to dig your garden up with a JCB’ and he’s said ‘yeah, no problem’. Not everyone would let us do that, although I wish they would.

I did speak to Mr Jeal and Jim Shorland on this subject after the talk

I recall that a TV program/article said that the grassed area to the north of the house contained what was thought to be air raid shelters in the form of slit trenches, very much in the style of a world war one trench system, and there were some air raid shelters where the tennis courts now are apparantly. This was confirmed by them.

There was a photo in one of the rooms which I was unable to photograph which showed the front of the house with a wooden corridor to a bunker type building to the right of the tower and it was said that this was where the security check point probably was. This lean to covered the current window in the front porch to the right of the entrance and the window in what is now the Guy Gibson Room between that and the tower

You can see this picture and some of the interior in the video report posted on the BBC web site here

BBC News - The Lincolnshire hub of the Dambusters' operation http://bbc.in/1hnO2Zr

For completeness this is the Listing for St Vincents House which includes a plan of the area
http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1261503

and this is a planning document submitted to the local council for use of the house for weddings, though it does not appear that this is happening. However it does include a plan of the ground and the house ground floor ( although the names of the rooms will bear no relation to the original use)
http://forms.southkesteven.gov.uk/Planning%20Assets/S10-1020/Additional%20Documents/Location%20Plan%20Document.pdf

Kevin

Carnaby
28-09-2014, 11:42
I am not a fan of the idea that every one of these sites will reveal a "Secret Underground Bunker" Kevin

Ditto. I note that Bawtry, HQ No.1 Group is documented as as 'Operations Block in Hall (unprotected)' (SD747 1955)