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Woman Discovers WWII Bomb Shelter in Her Backyard

Samantha Franco
Photo Credit: English Heritage / Heritage Images / Getty Images
Photo Credit: English Heritage / Heritage Images / Getty Images

People find incredible things in their gardens all the time: a Roman coin here, a Viking spearhead there. But what they rarely find is a massive WWII-era bomb shelter hiding underground. One homeowner in Kent, England, managed to discover exactly that. She has shared the experience online, and the world is reeling to know more.

Discovering the bomb shelter

A shot of the inside of a WWII bunker, two women serving tea.
A look inside an example of a WWII bunker. (Photo Credit: M. McNeill / Fox Photos / Getty Images)

Rebecca Hobson, a 34-year-old mother of two, moved into her three-bedroom terrace house in Kent about 15 years ago. “When we moved into the house we had no idea about the air raid shelter being in our garden,” Hobson said. However, she explained how “a few years later some of the locals said there might be something in the garden. We’re still trying to dig into the history of it, but it’s still really interesting.”

She said that the row of houses she lives in were originally built back in the 1970s, so it is likely that the shelter had been covered up when they were digging out the foundations for the buildings. She didn’t bother searching for the passageway until 2020, and after having found it just left it be until she finally set about exploring the entrance this year.

She gave the world a tour

A screenshot of a TikTok video that shows the shelter found in a backyard.
TikTok | bexh5

To her and her partner Darren’s surprise, they discovered that the bomb shelter was far larger than they anticipated — it actually measures 160 feet long. “We thought it was going to be really small, but it was amazing and we were so shocked by the size of it,” she recalled. Shocked by the sheer size of the shelter, they later learned through newspaper clippings that it was built by volunteers to protect up to 200 women and children during the bombing raids of WWII.

After uncovering the entrance, she gave the world a tour of the bunker via TikTok. “The tunnel did lead to the end of the road to the edge of my neighbors garden but they were worried that they might get rats so they blocked their side up so you can only get in from our garden now.” The video on the social media platform has since gone viral, with audiences amazed by the find.

They want to preserve the shelter’s history

An underground bunker tunnel.
A look at the interior of the bunker found in Hobson’s backyard. (Photo Credit: @bexh5 / TikTok)

After exploring the bomb shelter, Hobson and her partner set about cleaning the space up a bit. They cleared out the tunnel and increased visibility in the otherwise dark passageway. “We’ve swept it all out as it was really mucky inside and we’ve added some lights inside so people can see inside,” Hobson said. However, they don’t intend to do much else. “We don’t want to really change anything about it as it’s an amazing part of history.”

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Hobson wants to share the find with others and has even offered tours of the space. “We’ve asked the local school if they want to come and visit it and show the children. I feel very privileged that we have this bit of history in our garden,” she said.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!