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Could there have been a secret wartime communications facility on Reigate Hill?

Reigate-Fort503023_38_previewCould there have been a secret wartime communications facility on Reigate Hill?

In the last month the Front Line Surrey Hills team, who have been trying to get to the bottom of strange military structures on the top of Reigate Hill and nearby Gatton Park, have had a series of exciting breakthroughs in their research. Recently discovered evidence seems to point to the buildings being linked to a secret role in monitoring wartime communications.

Investigating a large unknown structure on top of the National Trust’s Reigate Hill, the team found a hole, about 10cm in diameter and approximately in the centre of the roof, extending vertically through it. Richard Maddox, researcher on the project team says “the hole could have been a socket for a radio aerial, perhaps connected with Bernard Montgomery’s South East Army HQ which was further down the hill, or it may even have been used by other wartime government departments to monitor enemy communications”.

It’s known that during the Second World War there were many radio aerials on land near to Reigate Hill and the area’s nick name was Radio City. Local residents who knew ARP wardens during the war, believed that the structures on and around Reigate Hill were listening posts.

Armed with this information, and having taken a look at similar structures in the area, the team have since found two electrical insulators and cabling near the large structure. The Front Line Surrey Hills team now believe that this evidence does point to the structures being linked to secret radio communications.

All this means that the Front Line Surrey Hills team will have plenty of work ahead of them trying to identify just who worked in these previously secret buildings.

If you have any information that could help the team, please contact Paul Bowen at paul.bowen@surreycc.gov.uk

About the Front Line Surrey Hills project
Some of Surrey’s leading conservation organisations are working together to reveal the lesser-known military history of Reigate Hill. Funding has been granted to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Board who is working with the National Trust, Gatton Trust, the Surrey Youth Support Service and Surrey County Archaeological Unit to devise an exciting programme of educational and research events for local communities to take part in.

The project will run over the next two years and will include fort garrison days, living history events and a series of walks and talks. Gatton Community Theatre will be staging an open air theatre production in the grounds of Reigate Fort and Surrey County Archaeological Unit will investigate mysterious structures around the site, presumed to date from the Second World War, as well as uncovering more evidence of “Monty’s secret bunker”.