One week ago, I was lucky enough to come into the possession of a high-resolution scanned version of the RAF Beaulieu airfield map from May 1945. My intention is to eventually use it to help me document and record the dispersal sites in the area.
There was something intriguing on it though, and that was reference to RAF Beaulieu’s Battle HQ, sometimes referred to as the command bunker. Having explored the existing Battle HQ at RAF Ibsley, I wanted to find out as much as I could about the Beaulieu one.
I already knew that the RAF Beaulieu bunker wasn’t there, because I’d never seen it. What I didn’t know though was where it was (until I saw the map), if any evidence was left, plus when and how it was destroyed.
Before I get into too much detail, here’s the video of my walk where I used some GPS co-ordinates I found and the wartime map of the airfield to find any remains of the Battle HQ bunker.
Remains of the RAF Beaulieu Battle HQ bunker
As I’ve already said, there is a precious little detail online about the bunker. The only real piece of authentic information I can find is a report of an archaeological LIDAR project in 2015.
This scanned Beaulieu airfield and found evidence of earth disturbance and a possible structure where the bunker site should be.
From what I understand, LIDAR is recorded using systems on airplanes, so I don’t believe the team looking into the sites actually got their boots on the ground… which is what I decided to do.
On that report I found there were some co-ordinates, so I plumbed those into my phone and started walking out onto the heath land to find the site.
After a 10-minute walk over a very boggy landscape I reached the pin on the map, which took me straight into some gorse bushes. This didn’t look promising, but after a couple of minute walking around, I found the first piece of evidence a bit further away… a concrete rectangle set into the earth.
This could have been an entrance point or a hatch leading into the underground battle bunker at Beaulieu airfield, it’s hard to say. What I can say though with reasonable certainty, is that it appears to have been filled with earth and gravel stones at some point. I don’t believe there’s no reason for this gravel type stone to be on the heathland otherwise.
I next walked about 10 or 15 yards onto a raised mound, where there was even more evidence that RAF Beaulieu’s Battle or command bunker used to be on this site. You can see a photo of that below.
It appears to be concrete that has been buried. It’s on top of a mound, so I can only assume that diggers might have piled earth onto the top of the bunkers, after filling in any hatches or entrance points with gravel. You can see another photo from a different angle below.
Seeing this I had no doubt that there is a buried underground structure on Beaulieu aerodrome, and I had discovered the site of the Battle HQ command bunker.
I also found other relics including two red brick squares which looked like they had been hollow at some point and then filled in. Here’s a photo of one of those examples.
To offer some perspective, these brick squares were big enough for me to stand in so they could possible be a hatch of some sort.
Just down from the mound there was further concrete evidence for what could have been a roof elements to the RAF Beaulieu command bunker.
I read a comment on social media, that the Battle HQ bunker was filled in back in 2002. I don’t have any substantial evidence to support this yet, but if that is the case, it makes sense as to why there’s a lot of gravel on the site.
I hope to find out more about this site in the future, so when I do, I will publish it here for you.
Want Updates? Please visit my RAF Beaulieu website where can read updates on the Battle HQ, and what new information is coming to light.
You might also like…
Here’s more on this New Forest airfield: