Front Line Surrey Hills at Reigate Hill and Gatton Park
Front Line Surrey Hills is a Heritage Lottery funded project with the aim of researching and interpreting the military history of Reigate Hill and Gatton Park. We're working with Surrey County Council Archaeological Unit, Surrey Hills AONB, Gatton Trust and Gatton Community Theatre to devise innovative and exciting ways to tell the military history of this area.
What we know so far
- During the Second World War, Reigate Hill's nickname was 'Radio City' because of the large number of communication aerials on the hill.
- The British Army South Eastern Command HQ was based in tunnels under Reigate Hill from 1941 until 1944.
- Many large houses at the foot of Reigate Hill were requisitioned by the military during the Second World War.
- The A217, which runs along the foot of Reigate Hill, would have been heavily defended in case of invasion.
- The crew of a B-17 (Flying Fortress) bomber which crashed into the side of Reigate Hill were near to completing their 13th mission.
Reigate Fort was built in1898 as part of a 72 mile defence line to protect London from possible invasion. The southern defence line was divided into 10 sectors and the fort fell into 'Redhill Position', which was 11km long. The fort held vital tools and ammunition to supply soldiers and artillery at short notice.
Unidentified military structures
Reigate Hill and nearby Gatton Park are littered with unidentified military-style structures. It's very likely that they were linked in some way to the British Army South Eastern Command which was based in tunnels below Reigate Hill from February 1941 until November 1944.
B-17 crash site
On 19 March 1945, a B-17G of the USAAF crashed into the side of Reigate Hill, killing all nine crew on board. The crew were flying back from a mission on the Czech/German border when they encountered thick fog. A clearing in the trees at Reigate Hill still remains where the plane came down.