Humberside

Military history unearthed in tunnel dig under Spurn base

Inside the tunnels with Simon Davies and Paul Rose
Image caption Guided tours of some of the tunnels could be offered in future

A warren of tunnels has been found under abandoned military installations at the mouth of the Humber estuary.

Excavations at Spurn Point revealed soldiers' scribbles and drawings on the walls under the base that protected the ports of Hull and Grimsby.

Simon Davies, a military historian, said: "We could have a hundred years of graffiti here."

It is hoped guided tours of some of the tunnels on Spurn could be offered later this year.

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Spurn was garrisoned from 1805 during the Napoleonic War until it was finally abandoned by the military in the late 1950s. At its height there were about 1,500 personnel on the narrow spit and in nearby Kilnsea.

The guns of the World War One Goodwin battery based at Spurn Point had a range of 10 miles (16km) and were part of a series of fortifications to protect a vital waterway for goods and shipping to the ports.

Image copyright Jan Crowther
Image caption Spurn Point had a number of military bases built during World War One
Image caption Volunteers have spent months digging out the tunnels
Image caption Soldiers have left their mark on the walls

Coastal erosion saw parts of the battery washed away more than 20 years ago but inside the tunnels, long-forgotten graffiti, pictures and poems can be seen on white-washed walls.

Volunteers have spent months digging out a portion of Spurn's military installations but there is still much to do to make it safe for public viewing.

Image caption Coastal erosion has demolished some of the fortifications
Image caption A hoard of drawings by Spurn's WWI soldiers is featured in the BBC's Inside Out programme
Image caption Spurn is only 160ft (50m) wide at some points and is home to seabirds and other wildlife

In December 2013, a tidal surge in the North Sea swamped the land, damaging the road connecting the tip of the point with the mainland. It is now a tidal island.

You can see this story in full on BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire at 19:30 GMT on BBC One on Monday 29 January, or via iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.

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