UK town set to host special reunion for WW2 survivors

Calling all expats and others who may have lived in Britain during the Second World War – an upcoming special get together in the South East of England could be just for you.

Ramsgate Tunnels is where thousands of Brits – and others – sought shelter from the ravages of Nazi bombing raids on Kent during WW2.

The town of Ramsgate will be holding a reunion in March and would like to contact anyone born before 1945 and who lived in Ramsgate during World War II.

The “Tunnels Team” would like to invite them to a reception and special tour at the underground shelters. Volunteer guides are also looking forward to a chance to chat and discover first-hand about life in Ramsgate and its Tunnels.

The Thanet News says the Victorian Railway Tunnel was where those who lost their homes to enemy bombing during the conflict set up home in the Town below the Town. There was a canteen, accommodation cubicles and a first aid post which served a vibrant community of nearly 1,500 people.

Originally constructed as a railway to connect the harbour of the town with the main train line, Ramsgate Tunnels are two and a half miles long and in some places are as much as 27 metres below the surface. Thanet News says that the largest of the tunnels dates back to October 1863 when it was opened as a railway tunnel serving Ramsgate Harbour Station. The line closed in 1926, when the current Ramsgate station opened. However, the tunnel was brought back into use in 1936, when a narrow gauge railway ran between Hereson Road and the seafront.

The second phase of construction for the Tunnels was during the Second World War, when the Mayor of Ramsgate commissioned the construction of a series of tunnels to serve as underground shelters to protect the inhabitants of Ramsgate. Due to Ramsgate’s close proximity to Europe, the town suffered from heavy bombing during the Second World War, reports the paper.

If you are interested, or know anyone who is, please contact the Tunnels in any of the usual ways – in person, by email to admin@ramsgatetunnels.org or by phone 0044 (0) 1843 588123.

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