Secrets of Great British Castles (2015–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Dover Castle - full transcript

Dan goes behind the battlements of Dover Castle, where he descends into an underground lair to discover how a vast network of tunnels has been used to defend both the castle and the country for centuries.

DAN JONES: For me a great British castle
is a fortress, a palace, a home.

And a symbol of power, majesty and fear.

For nearly 1,000 years

castles have shaped
Britain's famous landscape.

These magnificent buildings have been home

to some of the greatest heroes
and villains in our national history.

And many of them
still stand proudly today,

bursting with incredible stories
of warfare,

-treachery, intrigue and even murder.

Join me, Dan Jones,

as I uncover the secrets
behind six great British castles.

This time, I'm in the southeast of England

to explore the history
of Britain's greatest defensive castle.

This imposing fortress
on the white cliffs of Dover

has resisted all enemies

from the Middle Ages
right up to the Cold War.

-== [ ] ==-


The White Horse Pub, tucked away
on the back streets of Dover

is plastered in the names of people
who've stopped in here for a pint.

Not that the landlord seems to mind.

This pub encourages graffiti,
but only from a select group of people.

But if you can discover what connects
all these scribbles on the walls,

then you'll understand the key
to Dover and to its castle.

That key is just a stone's throw away.

The Dover Strait.

Or as it's usually called,
the English Channel.

All of these people are successful
cross-channel swimmers.

And they knew the same thing that the
Romans knew and the Saxons knew,

that the Medieval French knew,
that Napoleon and Hitler knew.

That the quickest way across the Channel
from mainland Europe to mainland England

was through Dover.

From Dover, it's just 21 miles to France.

If you're quick, you can swim it
in 10 hours or so.

It's even quicker on a boat,
and that's why it's dangerous.

If all of England is a castle,
Dover is the main gate.

The ancient Britons' word for water
was "dubra" or Dover.

This was the edge of the kingdom

beyond which lay
the rest of the known world.

So any invasion, any attack,
had to come through Dover.

Dover was and is the key to England
and that's why it had to be protected

by one of the greatest castles in Britain.

It has towers, gatehouses
and a curtain wall that's a mile long.

And in the middle of it all
stands the formidable inner bailey

and massive stone keep.

In its time, this gigantic fortress
has kept Britain safe

from the Medieval French,
the Emperor Napoleon and Adolf Hitler.

But the story of Dover Castle
starts long before any of that.

Dover's strategic importance
began with the Romans.

In the 1st century BC, this is where
Julius Caesar and his legions

first landed in Britain.

And here, on Dover's eastern heights,
the Romans built an incredible structure

that still survives nearly 2,000 years on.

It's called the Pharos,

a great lighthouse designed to guide
Roman galleys to the shore.

When William the Conqueror invaded England
and ransacked the Saxon fort,

he was quick to realize
just how important Dover was

and he ordered it rebuilt
as soon as possible.

The credit for the massive stone fortress
you can see here today

has to go to William's
great grandson Henry II.

Henry II ruled England for more than
30 years at the end of the 12th century.

And he laid many of the foundations
for the country as it is today.

Henry II built what is still
the centerpiece of Dover Castle.

A great bailey wall
with 14 defensive towers

protecting one of the most impressive
medieval keeps ever constructed,

The Great Tower.

In his day, Henry II was the big dog
among the kings of Medieval Europe,

and he loved building castles
as statements of his royal authority.

But Dover Castle,

well, that has to be the ultimate symbol
of royal supremacy and power.

But the magnificence and scale
of Dover Castle that we see today

exists because of Henry's
embarrassment and guilt.

Dover Castle was a fortress,

but it was also a palace on which
no expense had been spared.

Inside were two palatial suites of rooms,
suitable for putting up important guests

as well as the king himself.

But on the second floor,

a narrow corridor leads away
from the impressive staterooms.

At the end of it is a room
of special significance to the king.

A place of reflection and regret.

This chapel I'm sitting in now
was built by Henry II himself.

It was built to venerate a saint.

But not an ordinary saint.

This was a man that Henry had personally
caused to be killed, to be murdered

in the most brutal way imaginable.

His name was Thomas Becket.

Becket was once Henry's best friend.

He was his fixer
and his closest counselor.

But when Henry made Becket
Archbishop of Canterbury,

their friendship blew up
in spectacular fashion.

Henry wanted Becket to help him impose
royal law on the English Church.

When Becket refused,
the two became bitter enemies. nomine Patris, et Filii,
et Spiritus Sancti...

Ave Maria, gratia plena...

JONES: In late December, 1170,

four of Henry's knights rode to Canterbury
with murderous intent.


...ventris tui Iesu...

JONES: They found Becket
unarmed in his cathedral.

They cut him down near the altar
and mashed his brains into the floor.

It was an atrocity
that shook 12th-century Europe.

Two years later, Becket was a saint,
but Henry was a hate figure.

To restore his damaged reputation,

the king performed
an extraordinary act of penance

Henry turned up at Canterbury,
barefoot and dressed in sackcloth robes.

Then, he ordered the cathedral's 80 monks
to beat him three times each

with a wooden rod.

The king then spent the night alone
at Becket's tomb praying for forgiveness.

From this point on, Becket's shrine became
Europe's number one tourist destination

visited by pilgrims
from all over the continent.

So in a sense, this chapel,

and indeed the whole castle,
was founded on Henry II's guilt.

Among the many visitors to Becket's tomb
were the great and the good of Europe,

and in 1179, Henry received word

that one of the greatest of them all
was coming to visit.

Louis VII, King of France,

who was coming to Becket's tomb
to pray for his seriously ill son.

The King of France was coming.

This was the first
state visit in English history

and Henry had to put on
some kind of grand show.

No French King had ever set foot
on English soil before.

But Henry had a problem.

At this stage, Dover was a long way from
being a suitable place to receive royalty.

Now, this was slightly embarrassing.

Henry actually had to meet
the King of France on the beach

before riding with him
all the way to Canterbury.

And perhaps because of that humiliation,
within a couple of months,

Henry had started throwing money
at the development of Dover Castle.

In the last 10 years of his reign,
Henry spent more on Dover

than on any other English castle.

He did it to make sure his legacy
would never be overshadowed

by the murder of Thomas Becket.

Dover Castle would remind
every pilgrim that passed this way,

the wealth and authority of a great king.

But Henry also made sure to build Dover
as a proper military fortress

and it's just as well that he did.

Dover Castle was the largest

and most strategically important
English fortress of the Middle Ages.

King Henry II, who founded the castle,
would never see it tested in war.

But his son would.

At the turn of the 12th century,
these walls would face their first

great challenge under the command
of England's most despised ruler.

A monarch with one of the worst
reputations in all of history.

The infamous King John.

Everyone knows King John
from the Robin Hood stories,

but actually, his role in British history
is much more important than that.

He nearly destroyed Dover Castle
and the whole kingdom.

To find out why,

I'm headed to Salisbury Cathedral
in Wiltshire, 160 miles west of Dover.

Here, in the magnificent Chapter House,
is an extraordinary manuscript,

a document that has
resounded throughout history.

Its name is Magna Carta.

This is one of four
surviving copies of Magna Carta,

the treaty drawn up in 1215,
800 years ago,

which is still one of the most famous
documents in the whole of Western history.

And today we think of Magna Carta
as underpinning the rule of law,

justice, human rights, English liberties
and even the US Constitution.

But in fact, in 1215,

it was a peace treaty between King John
and his rebellious barons.

John was a cruel and vengeful king.

He imposed crippling taxes
to fund unsuccessful military campaigns.

He alienated his subjects,
plundered the Church

and waged war on his barons
when they finally rose against him.

Magna Carta was a desperate attempt
to bring the king to heel.

There are about 4,000 words
in Magna Carta,

and we usually divide them
up into 63 clauses.

And if you read most of it today
it doesn't seem very relevant.

It's stuff about tax rates,
and fish weirs and bailiwicks,

and all things basically
forgotten in England today.

What was more important was
clause 61, right at the bottom,

which we now call the security clause.

And what that said, was that if King John
broke any of the terms of Magna Carta

a council of 25 barons is legally
entitled to make war on him.

And in 1215, that's actually
exactly what happened.

John appealed to the Pope,

claiming that by restricting
the rights of the King,

Magna Carta was an attack
on the authority of the Church itself.

The Pope agreed.

The rebel barons were excommunicated
and England erupted into civil war.

The barons knew they could never
make peace with King John,

so they invited Prince Louis of France
to invade England

and take the throne from him.

Inviting a French prince to become king
of England might sound pretty treacherous,

but actually the English
were pretty used to it.

In fact, it had happened three times

in the 150 years
since the Norman Conquest.

A French baron had come across the sea,
hit the south coast, taken the crown

and put up massive castles
to enforce his power,

just like the one at Dover.

Within weeks, Louis and the rebel barons

had control of Canterbury, Rochester,
Winchester and London.

England was falling to him,

but what he really needed
was the crucial communications center

between England and France, Dover Castle.

The fate of King John
and of his realm now rested with Dover.

Louis immediately laid siege.

Arranging his forces on a hill
to the north of the castle,

he battered the walls with catapults.

But these defenses held firm.

So Louis changed his strategy,

exploiting the very thing
that made Dover famous.

The white chalk cliffs
beneath its foundations.

Instead of going over the walls,
the French would go under them.

Beneath the walls of Dover Castle,

French engineers began
tunneling through the rock

trying to weaken the foundations,

a siege technology known as undermining.

JONES: Undermining,
what are we talking about?

PAUL PATTISON: Well, as you can see here,
the chalk is the rock...

-Mmm-hmm. they have to tunnel through it

underneath the castle foundations
to try and make them collapse.

So if the wall collapses
and the gate collapses,

you end up with a rubble slope,

up which the French attackers can clamor
and get into the rest of the castle.

And how do you stop them?

Well, one of the methods that you use
is to dig your own tunnels.

And this tunnel that we're standing
close to might just be one of those.

JONES: What would that have been like?

Would there have been
hand-to-hand fighting in the tunnels?

PATTISON: If you discover a French tunnel
coming towards you and you break into it,

yeah, they would have had a scrap in here,

and it would have been pretty naughty

because it would have been in the dark.

They succeeded in undermining

one of the towers at the gatehouse
and brought it down,

and actually got inside
the outer bailey of the castle.

So they got over them.
They got over the defenses.

However, the strength
of the English resistance inside

forced them back over
the breach that they'd made.

And the English made it good with timber
and rocks and other temporary measures.

And the French couldn't get in.
They'd lost the impetus.

JONES: On the 14th of October, 1216,
frustrated by three long months of siege,

Louis negotiated a truce.

Four days later,
having contracted dysentery,

King John was dead.

Dover Castle's one real
weakness had been exposed.

The castle's engineers
repaired the undermined north gate,

but they also expanded
the underground tunnels.

By the time they were done,

Dover's defenses would extend
way beyond the great curtain wall.

Dover was enlarged and re-fortified
by several English kings.

But it would be 600 years

before the castle and its tunnels
would see action again.

At the end of the 18th century,
Britain was at war with France.

All across Europe,

Napoleon Bonaparte
had crushed his enemies.

And his eye was now firmly fixed on Dover.

By 1803,

Napoleon had assembled
an army of 130,000 men

and 2,000 barges at Boulogne,
in northern France.

A massive force
just 60 miles from Dover Castle,

dedicated to one purpose,
the invasion of England.

French invasion was expected
on an almost hourly basis,

and once again,
Dover Castle was at the heart of history.

The most obvious invasion route, Dover.

The French would need a port
to resupply their armies, Dover.

The English needed to prepare with might
and ingenuity, and they found it

in a military engineer
called William Twiss.

Twiss set about turning Dover Castle
into a modern fortress.

He added five gun emplacements
to the outer wall

and a huge raised cannon platform
at the north gate.

He also reinforced
the roof of the Great Tower

with brick vaults
to support heavy artillery.

But it was below ground
that Twiss showed real ingenuity,

because Dover Castle had a problem.

There were troops,
but there was nowhere to put them.

PATTISON: During the Napoleonic wars,
we were expecting an invasion at any time.

The castle was full, already, of troops.

There was no more space above ground,

so a character came up with the novel idea
to build one underground.

So this is like digging out a basement
under your house if you want more room.

How was this dug out?

PATTISON: This was dug out by hand
with picks, shovels and barrows.

Hard labor.

So we can see here
the wall feels pretty...

I mean, my hand's green,
it's damp and mossy.

It is damp and it's cold,

but to the soldiers
of the early 19th century,

who are used to pretty awful
conditions in the field,

it probably wasn't too bad.

And this whole thing,
really, is just so ingenious.

So this is just one part under the castle
of a much broader network

of fortifications for the whole country.

Defending the southeast of England
was one of the most important aspects

of the Napoleonic wars
as far as we were concerned.

JONES: Even now, as Dover bristled
with English military might,

one weakness remained.

The white cliffs themselves.

If Napoleon did manage
to land an army on the coast,

how could the English
get their troops down to meet him?

It's only about 300 feet from the top
of the cliffs to here on the beach,

but to get men on horseback down,
it's about a mile and a half.

And even to march men down,

it's still a mile
along narrow winding paths.

Twiss realized there had to be
a quicker, better way.

What Twiss designed was
an express route from the barracks

to the base of the cliff.

It was called the Grand Shaft.

A giant stairwell,

26 feet across and 180 feet deep

with three flights of stairs.

It was one of the most brilliant
building projects of its day.

God, it actually looks a bit like
a sort of futuristic prison.

It's incredible.

MANDY WHAL: They needed a route
to move the soldiers very quickly

from the barracks site
down to the sea front,

if Napoleon had invaded.

Originally, they were just chalk paths

which would have been
really slippery when it was wet.

So what they did, is they
constructed ostensibly a well,

and put three staircases in it,

which meant troops could be moved really
quickly from the barracks site above us

down to the sea front.

JONES: So by having three staircases
you can move troops three times as fast.

WHAL: Three times as fast, yeah.

Can you give us a rough idea
of how long it would take

to get 1,000 men from top to bottom?

They did do an exercise at one point,
and it was to get all the troops

from the Grand Shaft barracks site and
Dover Castle down to the market square.

And it took 12 and a half minutes.

-12 and a half minutes for 1,000 men?

JONES: It's almost like water
going down a plughole, isn't it?

It is very much like that, yes.

Very, very simple,
which is part of the genius.

JONES: Though fully prepared,

Dover's defenses
were never put to the test.

Blockaded by the Royal Navy,

unable to control the English Channel
long enough to get his army across,

Napoleon was forced
to cancel the invasion.

By 1805, the threat had passed,

but the fear lingered on.

In the early 19th century, there were
real fears that Napoleon would tunnel

all the way from France,
to here at Dover for an invasion.

And that's not as mad as it sounds
because later in the century,

in the 1880s,
a test tunnel was actually dug

more than a mile under the sea
before it was canceled

on the grounds of national security.

So this is an article
from one of the London papers in 1882

discussing the proposed tunnel

that was going to be dug
under the Channel.

And there's an even interview
with a man called Sir Garnet Wolseley.

He thought a tunnel would be
"a considerable source of national danger.

"At the dead of night, a small force
might be landed at Dover," he said.

"And no one might suspect they're coming,

"until they knocked
at the door of the fortress."

For the next 130 years,
Dover Castle remained unchallenged.

Its tunnels abandoned
and all but forgotten.

But the threat of invasion would return.

Once again, it would come from France,
but not from the French.


JONES: For nine centuries,

the walls of Dover Castle
have adapted to the upheavals of civil war

and the threat of foreign invasion.

But at the start of World War II,

the protection of this great fortress
would extend beyond England,

right across the Channel to France.

In May, 1940, the British army
was facing almost certain annihilation

on the beaches of Dunkirk.

Here, on the coast of northern France,

400,000 Allied troops

were now surrounded
by a German army twice their size.

And Hitler's forces
were closing in for the kill.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill
needed a rescue mission,

and the man he chose to formulate it
was Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay.

Ramsay's headquarters needed to be
as close as possible to Dunkirk.

He chose Dover Castle.

Beneath the white cliffs,
the 100-year-old network of tunnels

built during the Napoleonic Wars
were still a secret to the outside world.

Now, they would be transformed
into Ramsay's military command center.

The decision was taken to
evacuate Dunkirk as quickly as possible,

and the retired Vice Admiral Ramsay
was put in charge of an impossible task.

They called it Operation Dynamo,

and the first planning meeting
took place in these rooms

deep below Dover Castle
on the 20th of May, 1940.

Ramsay's operation,

named after the dynamo room
that powered the tunnel system,

was planned in just six days.

Immediately, he began to commandeer
a fleet of carriers and destroyers

for a seemingly impossible mission.

In this labyrinth of tunnels,
there were operation rooms for the Army,

Navy, and Air Force.

Plans were made here to offer as much
cover as possible for the evacuation.

Ramsay and his team were living
in these tunnels 24 hours a day.

It must have been incredibly
intense and claustrophobic.

MAN: Here's the latest from Dunkirk.

JONES: And even with intelligence reports
coming in from the outside,

they still had no real way of knowing
what was happening

to the Allied forces
gathering on the beaches of Dunkirk.

Sergeant, inform all gun-sights
to stand to.

Almost half a million lives were at risk.

Even at his most optimistic,

Ramsay hoped to rescue 30,000 or 40,000.

As well as the German forces,

the ships would face the treacherous
shallows of the French coast,

and an English Channel
littered with mines.


From his bunker deep below Dover Castle,

Ramsay gave the order
for Operation Dynamo to begin.

And with that, a fleet of 35 destroyers
and troop carriers set out for Dunkirk,

47 miles away.

Once there, they would anchor offshore

and use landing craft
to ferry the soldiers out.

These dunes, in fact the whole beach,

were swarming with men
under German bombardment,

but the inner harbor
was out of commission,

so the larger ships couldn't
approach the beach to rescue the men.

On top of that, the quickest way
back to Dover was too dangerous

because the sea was mined

and there was constant fire
from German positions along the coast.

It's almost impossible to imagine

the chaos,
fear and panic of that first day

unless you were there.

97-year-old Vic Viner
was among the crew of a landing craft

rowing soldiers from the beach
to the destroyer HMS Esk,

anchored further out to sea.

VINER: The first day, they got 7,000.
JONES: Right.

When we looked round and found
we'd been sweating blood, it was...

-You'd been sweating blood?
-Oh, yes.

My colleague next to me said,

"Vic," he said, "your hands
are all covered in blood."

I said, "So are yours."

So we rolled up our sleeves
and it was all the way down.

VINER: When all this was happening,
over came the Luftwaffe and did their bit.

Quite a few were,
um, killed by the bombing,

then there was a good number that
just walked into the sea going home.

-Just go...
-"I'm just going back to England,"

and off they went.

I can vividly remember
two big sergeants, six foot-odd crying,

-because they'd had enough.

And yet, once you sort of
said something to them

and made them look up,

this is where their, um,
discipline came back, you know.

JONES: After three days,
around 70,000 men had been rescued,

but that still left hundreds
of thousands stranded on the beach.

But back in the tunnels at Dover Castle,

the second part of Ramsay's plan
was about to come into play.

All across the southeast coast
and Thames estuary,

the Admiral had put out an emergency
call for privately owned small boats.

Already, he'd assembled
700 of them at Ramsgate,

everything from speedboats
and privates yachts to car ferries.

By May 28th, they were headed for Dunkirk.

So what's the idea
behind the little ships?

Well, what happened was,
when Ramsay called for the Navy

to go and evacuate
the troops from Dunkirk,

they realized that
they couldn't get into the beaches

and the problem with the larger ships

is that they had a depth
of 10, 12, 20 feet.

And they couldn't get into the beaches,
the troops couldn't get off,

so what you needed were
the smaller vessels to go into the beach,

pick up the troops from the beach
and ferry them back to the larger ships.

So these boats were doing
lots of little journeys back and forth

full of troops being
physically taken off the beaches.

That's exactly right.

JONES: And we know something
about this particular boat, don't we?

We know how many people were on it?

Yes, unusually, most boats
we don't know much about.

The New Britannic, we know
that she collected up to 3,000 troops,

which is a staggering number of troops,

and therefore, an awful lot of young men
owe a lot to this fine old vessel.

The larger of the yachts would
take as many as 180 or 200 on board

and then take them out
to the ships, to the larger ships,

the destroyers and the merchantmen,
which were waiting.

30th of May,

um, we got 68,000 away during that day.

JONES: That's incredible.
VINER: And the next day,

just under 68,000.

It must have looked
like a scene from hell.

That's right. Oh, yes.

It's very difficult...

It's very difficult now to...

I try very hard to explain,
you know, how I felt.


But it's so peaceful now,
it's very difficult.

-But, um...

But in a way, it's peaceful
because of what happened

-all those years ago.
-That's right, yes.

And I'm just very humbled
to know that I was part of it.

JONES: On the 4th June, the last destroyer
left Dunkirk harbor, headed here

for Dover with the last
of the men to be evacuated.

Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay
had hoped to save at most 45,000 lives.

In the end, his Operation Dynamo

saved 338,226 people.

CHURCHILL: Sir, we must be very careful

not to assign to this deliverance

the attributes of a victory.

Wars are not won by evacuations.

But there was a victory inside this
deliverance which should be noted.

JONES: In pure military terms,
Dunkirk was humiliating,

but its success saved
the core of a professional army

and more importantly than that,

what happened between
Dunkirk and here at Dover

helped create a pride

that Dunkirk Spirit and that probably
changed the course of the war.

CHURCHILL: We shall defend
our island whatever the cost may be.

We shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds,

we shall fight in the fields
and in the streets.

We shall fight in the hills.

We shall never surrender.

JONES: By the end of 1940,

the castle was on the front line
of Britain's defenses.

As the Germans dug in
along the French coast,

Admiral Ramsay knew

the secret tunnels beneath Dover Castle
were crucial to the war effort.

So he set about expanding them.

Over the old Napoleonic tunnels,
a new annex level was carved out

with underground living quarters,

bathrooms, hospitals
and operating theaters.


From here, radio operators
would transmit fake military commands

and other disinformation
to confuse the Germans.

The work done here would be crucial
in the run up to the Normandy landings.

Dover was used
as a dummy launching point for D-Day.

So, down in the harbor,
there were hundreds of fake landing craft,

and thousands of fake orders
and communications

were sent through this repeater room.

Even when it was pretending,
Dover was at the heart of the war.

Yet again, Dover had played a vital role
in the defense of the realm.

Thanks to Bertram Ramsay,

it had saved not only
the British army, but Britain itself.

Bertram Ramsay was killed
in a plane crash in January, 1945,

so he never saw the
end of the Second World War

or celebrated the victory
he helped to bring about.

But what he did and the part played
by Dover Castle in defending Britain

is still remembered today.

MAN: Four, three, two, one, zero.

But soon, the world would fall
under the shadow of a new kind of war.

And if the worst ever happened,

Dover Castle
would be the best place to hide.

For almost 900 years,

Dover Castle has been Britain's
most strategically important fortress.

In all that time, it's stood firm
in the face of invasion.

In May 1945, the war in Europe ended

with Germany's unconditional
surrender to Allied forces.

By August, two atomic bombs
ended the war for Japan

and ushered in a sinister new age.

Tunnels beneath Dover Castle,

once the nerve center
of secret military operations,

would soon have a new role to play.

One of the main advantages
of the tunnels was their secrecy

and after the war, this came into play.

The lowest level, Level D,
was code named DUMPY

and it was to be used
as a regional command center

in the event of the outbreak
of nuclear war.

Now, most of the information
about these tunnels

is still protected by
the Official Secrets Act.

And they don't let the public
down here very often.

As the Cold War intensified,

the British government began to plan
for the possibility of a nuclear attack.

Britain would be divided into 12
designated regional seats of governance.

In 1968, Level D beneath
Dover Castle, became one of them.

150 feet below the surface,

seven corridors
and over 30 rooms were modified

to provide shelter for 300
government and military officials

in the event of a nuclear strike.

Here, deep inside the white cliffs,
Doomsday rehearsals

and civil defense training

were carried out
throughout the '60s and '70s.

If you found yourself
down here during the Cold War,

then the worst had probably happened.

You'd have been whisked out of your bed
in the middle of the night,

brought to this bunker

to help keep whatever remained
of southeast England going.

Fully stocked and equipped
with filtration and ventilation systems,

conditions were spartan
and fairly claustrophobic,

but practical in the case
of nuclear Armageddon.

The inhabitants of Level D
would have been isolated,

but still capable of broadcasting
to the world outside,

if there was one.

This is the BBC Radio studio
and they had instructions that

in the event of nuclear holocaust
they were to play light, upbeat music

to keep the people's spirits up.


There was just one problem.

By the 1970s, it was realized that
while the chalk surrounding the bunker

would have been enough
to keep out Napoleon and Hitler,

it was also permeable,

which meant that any radioactive
rainwater from a nuclear disaster above

would eventually have seeped through
the rock and into the bunker below.

Thankfully, Dover Castle has never had
to defend anyone from nuclear attack.

For the last 60 years of peacetime,

it has remained a monument

to Dover's 2,000-year-old reputation
as the gateway to Britain.

In all that time,

Dover has contributed more
to the defense of Britain

than any other castle.

From Roman lighthouse and Saxon fort

to the greatest and most
formidable castle of the Middle Ages,

from royal palace to underground barracks

and one of the most ingenious
military bases of the 19th century,

Dover Castle has extended its defenses

well beyond these medieval walls,

from the white cliffs
to the shores of Normandy.

Today, the Key to England
remains a testament

to Britain's determination,
resilience and bravery.

Do you want subtitles for any video?
-=[ ]=-