Man finds air raid shelter in garden digging for pond

Adrian Groves discovered an air raid shelter in his back garden while digging a pond at his home in Privett Road, Gosport.

Adrian Groves discovered an air raid shelter in his back garden while digging a pond at his home in Privett Road, Gosport.

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Picture: Sarah Standing (170259-7003)

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DIGGING a pond in his back garden Adrian Groves thought he’d picked the perfect spot.

But the 69-year-old got a bit of a shock when his spade hit brick and he found what he believes is a Second World War air raid shelter.

Adrian Groves

Adrian Groves

Undeterred, Adrian –, a former lieutenant in the Royal Navy – went straight ahead with his pond plan and worked around the shelter.

He told The News: ‘The pond was planned and positioned strictly according to the book.

‘Some enthusiastic work took place for the first 25cm when serious opposition to the spade and pick was experienced.

‘Digging on, we discovered an air raid shelter entrance and complete corner, neatly whitewashed within.

‘Further excavation discovered the corrugated roof, flattened but in the same tomb.’

A thick liner and a lot of water now covers the outline of the shelter, with a lily perched on where bits of concrete juts out the ground.

Adrian, who used to be a training manager at Vosper Thornycroft before he retired, added: ‘We bought the house five or six years ago and then when I retired we had the garden landscaped.

‘We had no idea. It was a beautiful lawn.’

Adrian was digging the pond with the help of his son-in-law Andy Mills.

The pair have left the rest of the shelter underground and Adrian, of Privett Road, Gosport, says it is under the pond and ‘never to be seen again’.

He turned to a local history book and found it is most likely to be an Anderson Shelter.

Roger Mawby is the chairman of Gosport Society.

He said air raid shelters were common in Gosport as it was a major target in the Second World War.

He said the shelter could have been an Anderson shelter that was reinforced with bricks around it.

‘The Portsmouth Harbour conurbation was a primary target, we had the submarine base at Dolphin and the dockyard,’ he said.

‘It could have been people making their own.

‘Somebody could have bricked around the side of it.

‘The government-issued ones were made of galvanised steel.

‘They were shaped like a loaf of bread.’

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