RAF Rudloe ManorLocated south-east of Bath, RAF Rudloe Manor is in fact just one of several sensitive military installations situated on the Spring Quarries, Copernacre Quarry, the villages of Hawthorn and Hudswell, and the town of Corsham.
In World War II the Ministry of Aircraft Production built the Beaverbrook underground aircraft factory here for Bristol Aeroplane and other companies. The vast caverns had some 2,250,000sq ft of space, divided into many smaller chambers. Other local quarries were expanded on and linked together, forming a huge network of tunnels and bunkers, parts of which were used for army storage purposes. An RAF Fighter group HQ (RAF Box), and a communications switching centre were also set up, making the area an important military nerve centre even then.
Sky News Infiltrate Secret Underground Base at Corsham
A lot of
speculation has surrounded the so-called ‘Corsham Computer Centre’ in Wiltshire,
which has been alleged to house access to a secret underground ‘city’ below this
English county. As you can verify from the article below, many attempts have
been made to gain access to, or at the every least confirmation of the nature
of, this innocuous-looking facility.
Sky News were recently given unprecedented access to this underground city below Wiltshire and, although they didn’t specifically mention the Computer Centre as point of entry, the news report identified Corsham as the location.
In an amazing news item appearing during the afternoon of 16th September 2000, their cameras were invited to descend 120 feet below the surface into the hitherto secret underground city.
The report spoke of 60 miles of tunnels, including underground railway stations, and pictures were taken of a recently decommissioned nuclear command bunker. Of historical note, a canteen, which operated in the Second World War, still boasted murals painted by manufacturing engineers working on the Wellington Bomber engines. Apparently, 4000 personnel were engaged in this secret work at that time. Sky News also transmitted pictures of massive underground ventilation fans the size of modern jet engines.
This report signals a complete U-turn by the military establishment in Wiltshire who had remained silent in recent years about the claims of underground facilities in this area. As can be ascertained from the article below, a lot of the claims made by researchers regarding Corsham have now been substantiated. Why the Government has chosen this moment to disclose this information is anyone’s guess. We strongly suspect that this will not be the end of the matter, and that the caverns below Wiltshire have more secrets in store for us all.
The very fact that a work-force of 4000 people can keep this facility secret for 60 years goes to show how relatively easy it is for Governments to keep things hidden away.
© Andy, Dave and Martin. 26th Sept 2000
UndergroundIn the 1950s, in response to the Soviet Union's explosion of the atom bomb and subsequent development of the more powerful Hydrogen bomb, the British government began a frantic programme of hardening and building underground facilities to try to ensure the survivability of the government and establishment. The Corsham area, with its already extensive underground areas, was chosen as the wartime seat of power in case of nuclear war.
Utilising the London to Bath railway which run through the base, through the Box tunnel, the government could evacuate quickly from Whitehall to the Hawthorn Central Government War Headquarters. An underground siding was constructed so trains could come straight into the underground base.
SecretAll of this was kept secret. News of construction of underground bunkers throughout the country, known as RSGs (Regional Seats of Governments) for local government officials as well as tunnels and bunkers under London had leaked out, causing a major row and acute embarrassment for the government, with MI5 called in to track down the culprits, who were known as the "Spies for Peace" group. No money was being put forward for large scale construction of deep public shelters, confirmed Harold Macmillan in a speech to the Commons.
In fact, the government was secretly building one very large deep shelter for itself. Chapman Pincher, a defence correspondent who claimed to have been taken into the governments confidence, was calling for the Spies for Peace group to face the gallows, but he also stated:
"There is a bomb proof underground citadel for the central government, including quarters for the Royal Family, somewhere in the west."
His informant's vague hint of "the west" was a reference to the Hawthorn Central Government war headquarters, to which the cabinet, central government and defence staffs would retreat early in a crisis, leaving London to its fate as the bombs fell.
Present Status, Facilities & UnitsThe full extent of the Corsham underground workings today is unknown, but it is fact that they exist, and stretch for several miles. All this information is available through government records from the 1950s and 60s. Much has fallen into disuse, or has been sold, such as tunnels and bunkers at Monkton Farleigh, miles to the south.
Today there are numerous establishments and units. At Hawthorn is RAF Rudloe Manor, which itself is split into separate locations. The first site, the main one, houses RAF Signals units which run what is called CDCN. This stands for Command of the Defence Communications Network, which is the MoD organisation which co-ordinates military communications worldwide. This is a tri-service set up, and its nerve centre is beneath a field at Hawthorn, in a separate location to the main Rudloe base. The importance of this facility can easily be imagined.
The second site is further up the road from Hawthorn. This is the Manor site, and houses the Headquarters of the RAF Provost and Security Services, which is the RAF organisation handling special security needs, as well as the security service, MI5. It is this location rumoured to house Britain's secret UFO research centre, detailed later.
Back at the main Rudloe site, on both side of the road which runs through the base, are entrances to the Central Government war headquarters talked about above. Its exact extent is unknown, but it is rumoured to have separate facilities for the Royal Family. Further rumours talk of an even deeper "super bunker" beneath the government citadel, but what goes on down there is unknown, even if it actually exists. What the rumours mention are secret experiments and research, and large stockpiles of food and other supplies, all stacked and ready. According to various sources, the entire underground complex has a nuclear generator to provide power. This is quite frightening when one remembers that the town of Corsham sits on top of this huge bunker, unaware of the nuclear danger beneath their feet. Going back to military facilities in the area, there is RAF Colerne a few miles north, and RN Copernacre and Basil Hill barracks nearby to Rudloe Manor. All are believed to have connections to the underground citadel.
One of the most sinister military facilities is known as CCC. Although it is not confirmed what CCC actually stands for, most sources have it as Corsham Computer Centre. Rumours have it that there is a super computer there linked to GCHQ and the NSA, but again these are unconfirmed. CCC is different from the other facilities in that it is well hidden away, there are no fences or warning signs, one can walk right up to the bunker entrance. The rest of the base has really high profile security, fences, signs, dogs, security patrols. CCC too has security, but it's covert. To me the place is so secret the powers that be have decided the best security is not to advertise its presence in the first place.
Secret Rail LinksA further tantalising rumour has the government citadel linked to London by underground tube train, but this is unconfirmed. However, there is partial evidence supporting this story. The previously mentioned siding in the Box tunnel is now disused, but in the 1970s the UK Land forces command at Salisbury were reported in a rail enthusiasts magazine as advertising for underground trains at an unspecified establishment. This army command would staff the main UK war headquarters, and the only known site they would need underground trains for would be Hawthorn. Since the total workings are several miles in extent, a train service is a possibility.
UFO Monitoring SystemRumours abound over the years that Rudloe Manor has a secret role in monitoring the UFO situation, but there is no real hard evidence for this. In 1984 a UFO witness had phoned Whitehall to report a sighting, but had been given another number in "the West Country", which was Rudloe Manor. It is assumed that Rudloe Manor's Flying Complaints Flight is being used as a cover for a "logger unit" (a unit housed within another unit), where secret research into UFOs is, or was, being conducted. Records released by the public records office after the 30 year secrecy rule has elapsed have UFO incidents being investigated by the Provost and Security Service, which are based at Rudloe Manor. The MoD has consistently denied Rudloe Manor is involved in UFO research, but the rumours remain. What is certain is that the authorities are very touchy about something there.
The Field TripOn 15th May 1997, Graham Wilson (SPUR Head Office), Roger Mallett (SPUR Wiltshire Office) and myself ,(Daniele Mandelli (SPUR London Office) made the journey to Rudloe Manor to see the facilities for ourselves. I had already been once before, but had only driven past a few times without stopping to have a good look round. This time would be different, I'd expected trouble and I was not disappointed! We had come well prepared, with binoculars, cameras, and an ordnance survey map. I'd also studied reports on Rudloe Manor in Matthew Williams' Truth Seekers Review, and had spoken with him about the trip on the phone, so I was pretty confident of my knowledge on the base, what to look for and what could be expected.
Box TunnelBefore heading for the main base proper we decided we wanted to take a closer look at the railway tunnel, which was supposed to have an extra line branching off to go into the underground base. Looking at our map we found a quiet lane running next to the line, which ran alongside in a cutting leading up to the tunnel itself. Eventually we found the place and drove down the lane until we could drive no further, a dead end. We had not expected this as it had not been shown on our map. We decided this was as good a place as any to leave the car, nice and quiet and out of the way, and quickly discovered we could not have chosen a better place since the tunnel was right next to us, while a bit further on to our front we could see a perimeter fence, which turned out to be the rear of the Manor base proper (HQ P&SS).
Back to the tunnel, and we scaled a few rusty fences and descended some steps down onto the railway line, right next to the tunnel entrance. Sure enough, there was another tunnel, which had been boarded up and had clearly not been used for some time. Our opinions on whether this was infact the disused entrance were divided. Graham was adamant this was indeed the entrance, while Roger and myself were not so sure. I'd read several articles on the base which stated the old tunnel entrance was here, but it looked too small to me to take a train, making me wonder if it was some kind of workgangs shelter. But for me to think this would be to ignore all what I had read. This had to be it, there was nowhere else. Graham also pointed out what could be descerned as where a track once ran through all the rubble and vegetation leading up to the entrance, he also noted several large cables running inside, and a notice pinned to the door.
On closer examination, this read "Key with MDP Corsham" which we translated as Ministry of Defence Police Corsham. This was later confirmed to Graham by Matthew Williams. Roger took several photos while we looked around, and Graham walked into the rail tunnel itself and wanted us to all go inside to look for other entrances, but I was not that brave and preferred to stay trackside!
Walking back to the car to confer with the map, we confirmed that the military installation we could see through the trees ahead was indeed the rear of Rudloe Manor base. We spent the next half hour or so walking along the perimeter fence, taking photos and looking around. From what we could see the place looked like your typical country mansion, with deckchairs all around, landscaped gardens and well mowed lawns. We did not see a soul inside the perimeter fence. We were confident that we were safe where we were as it seemed to be a public footpath, we passed a few old ladies walking their dogs, and it all seemed so nice and tranquil. If it had not been for the fence with its MoD warning signs, RAF flying flag and the drab green Bedford military truck parked by the Manor you would never have thought it to be a military installation.
While we were looking at the Manor we had noticed several old bunkers in the field next to us, and since there were no fences we had sauntered over to check them out. All had been blocked in and had clearly not been used for some time. After Roger had taken some more photos we moved on.
Corsham Computer CentreRejoining the footpath we walked northwards, through wooded areas and past little cottages with old folk tending to their allotments! What was unusual about this place was the close proximity of civilian communities to such a sensitive place. I suspect it's all part of the base's cover. We were looking for the mysterious Corsham Computer Centre, or CCC. From what I had read one could walk right up to this place and take photos.
We stumbled upon what we'd been looking for quite by chance, a white sign simply reading CCC, and a small single lane road running off round a bend out of sight. On either side of this road were hedges and trees, with a fence between the hedge and the road. There was NO guard house, NO main gate or fence to stop curious walkers like ourselves from walking up the road to see what was there. The only security evident was a tall pole with security cameras, which were obviously watching us. Since there was no sign telling people to keep out, we confidently strode down the road and round the corner, with Graham informing us that the camera was following our every move!
Silbury HillWhat we came across looked like Silbury Hill in miniature, a large grass mound, with a fence around it and a bunker entrance. As we walked towards it a security bloke came out and shut the gate, which had been left open, and disappeared back inside! This was clearly an indication that our presence was not welcome! We walked up to the gates and looked inside, but all we could see were doors which reminded me of the entrance to some plush hotel and white floors inside the doors, other than that nothing.
We decided to hang around, Roger took some more pictures and we walked around the mound, joking about climbing up it and sitting on top! We also examined the only building, which was behind the mound. This seemed to be a garage since it had garage doors and a road leading up to it. What was strange to me about it was that it was only big enough for one or two cars, and back up the road we had seen a car park when we had first seen the CCC signs. I'd read that it was here where personnel would leave their cars, so why was this garage here? Perhaps the CO has his own personal parking place. I also had the thought that it may be disguised as an innocent garage, but was in fact a lift shaft to give vehicles access to the underground facility beneath our feet.
Big Trouble!I'd just started to put my idea across to Graham and Roger when we heard a car approaching from the way we'd come. Looking round we saw a dark coloured car come down the road towards us, come to a halt and three individuals in suits step out, two men and a woman. The way they made their entrance reminded me of 'Hawaii Five O!', or some scene out of the 'X-Files' when the Men in Black turn up. We immediately realised it was base security.
Coming over to us, they announced themselves as Ministry of Defence police and showed us their ID, then proceeded to interrogate us on who we were, what we were doing, why we were there and where had we heard of this place from. One bloke said little, and sort of just hung around, the other bloke asked questions and took notes as we were asked for our names and addresses, while the lady talked to us, me first while the one taking notes talked to Graham and Roger. While all this was occurring two security guards had come out of the CCC bunker and were standing around grimly, watching the proceedings. How strange that instead of them simply closing the gates on us and telling us to go away they avoided answering any questions and called a covert base security patrol.
It was obvious that they knew why we were there, they just had to ask anyway. At this point it must be said that Graham's black T-shirt with a 'Grey Alien' head on it did not go down too well! The one taking notes noticed it and told us that "he is not down there" in reference to the CCC bunker. With our map, camera and binoculars we could hardly claim to be innocent tourists either.
This one had seemed the most sarcastic of the lot, I had taken an immediate dislike to him and was on the verge of saying: "What would you know, you're only a MoD plod!" But I thought I'd better not. They asked Roger if he had taken any pictures and he confirmed he had, but they did not confiscate the film. When I was talking to the lady I protested, stating quite rightly that there was no sign saying we could not come down the road and no fences or gates stopping the public from coming in. I said that if there had been we would not be there and it would not be necessary for them to have to come down. It would save so much trouble. They had no real reply to this, but simply asked what we intended to do next, to which we replied we were going to remain in the area and have a look around. When they heard this they suggested that we should leave the area straight away, and that they did not want to have to stop us again. With that parting threat they went into the CCC bunker, obviously to have us checked out as potential IRA terrorists.
As we walked off I was smiling, quite pleased with having put up a bit of an argument with them. After all I had heard about Rudloe Manor, the rumours, talk of covert security, etc. It would have been a huge anti-climax not to have been stopped, so I'm pleased we were. But things had only just begun!
We reached the main road, and began walking west towards Hawthorn. As we walked, Roger told us the car was still lurking. Where we had parked the car was to the rear of the Manor part of the base, and walking to the CCC had taken us north-east. well away from the main Rudloe Manor complex and the CDCN, which was about a mile or so further down the road. This was where we would really see a lot, but we were destined never to get that far, not on foot anyway.
As we were walking we noticed more bunkers to our left, amongst pretty ordinary houses, there were even some childrens swings. Like at the CCC there were no fences, no signs, nothing suggesting that it was military land. Anyone could leave the road and walk up to them, like we had done with the others earlier. A small road branched off to the left up ahead, and it passed quite close to the bunkers, so we began to walk down it to check the bunkers out before continuing towards Rudloe Manor. We hit big trouble right then.
Final WarningSure enough, the same crew in the dark car pulled up again. They did not get out this time, but made it clear they were not best pleased to be meeting us again. What was remarkable was that we had only walked down a road, we had scaled no fences, and seen nothing which you could not see from the road anyway. As far as I could see they were getting very paranoid about nothing. They told us that we were beginning to cause people extreme concern by us being in the area, and even said that we were frightening the local civilians, which I thought was hilarious. They demanded that we tell them exactly where we had left the car, and we told them it was near the tunnel. I protested again, to which the sarcastic one, who happened to be driving, leaned across and said: "Look pal, have you ever heard of the IRA?" The cheeky git, I thought, did they take us for idiots? They must have checked us out, and could see we were just 3 more UFO buffs looking around, like countless others before us. They also told us we had strayed onto military land. Was this true or a bluff? It seems the borders around the base between civil and military land are deliberately non existent, so as to trap visitors such as ourselves. We had gone thirty yards down a small road off the main one and now we were breaching their security!
However, it seemed the time for arguing had ended. They suggested we leave, not that they were giving us an official warning that we should pack up and go, if they stopped us again they said we would be pulled in. I vainly protested again, asking what would happen if we drove past the base, to which they replied that we could but we would be stopped the moment we got out of the car, and it would be best if we just went home and stopped worrying the authorities.
DefeatWe agreed that it was best that, in the circumstances, we had better go, as we did not like the idea of getting arrested. But once at the car we decided on one last foray, one last act of defiance. Having come so far, and only really seen one site of interest, the CCC, we decided to drive on to see the main part of the base.
This we did, on either side of the road could be seen a vast military base, home of so many rumours concerning UFOs. There were fences, patrols, dogs, MoD police, etc. We drove past the front of Rudloe Manor to our left and the CDCN to the right, and reached a T-junction, from where we could see the base all around us. There were several bunkers and air shafts evident, indicating a large underground facility. I was amused to see a sweet shop beside the road, with several civilians hanging around. Would we get arrested for hanging around like they were? Here you could see sensitive military installations, where we were, we were stopped beside some innocent houses and a few swings! Only at the CCC were we stopped beside something sensitive, and that was their fault as I had pointed out, by them not having any closed gates, warning signs or fences.
About five minutes later we stopped for petrol on the other side of Corsham. Talking to the assistant, she informed us that the underground base was common knowledge and stretched to the east side of Corsham, as far as the Safeways superstore. Later on at Roger's house we had a good laugh about the thought of the MIBs arriving in the night to collect Roger's film!
ConclusionsAll I had heard about Rudloe Manor had been confirmed to me. I have visited military bases before, Chicksands, Menwith Hill, Boscombe Down, etc, and at none of them have I come into contact with such tight security. They are so sensitive and touchy you have to be there to see it. What are the reasons? Is it merely to guard a secret underground base that is no secret at all? Is it to guard the wartime seat of government, where Tony Blair and the Royal Family might hide during a nuclear war? Or is there really some UFO connection, as the rumours suggest?
The above report was prepared for SPUR by Daniele Mandelli (SPUR London
Pictures courtesy of Matthew Williams www.ufon.org/truthseekers