Somehow, I got signed up for a daily email from Quora, the place you go to find answers to all of life’s nagging questions. Today’s question and answer are both a new low and a new high.
Why didn’t the Nazis use the channel tunnel to invade Britain?
Answered by: Rob Brownfield, studied at Aberdeen College
Slightly disappointed at some of the answers here.
A few years after the war finished, the BBC did a wonderful documentary on the defence of Britain. It focussed on a specialist unit from a small town called Walmington On Sea. The unit was ably led by a true hero who went by the name of Captain Mainwaring.
Their job was to defend Britain from invasion and to help with this they had contacts at the French end of the tunnel, namely members of the French resistance, who were special agents. Recent unveiling of secret wartime documents have named the special agents. I cannot remember all the names but Rene Artois and his rather beautiful wife, Madame Edith were key to the success of preventing the Germans from using the channel tunnel.
The documents reveal that Madame Edith seduced a German gestapo Officer, Otto Flick, persuading him that the tunnel was completely unguarded and therefore an attack should happen immediately.
The information was passed to a Major General Erik Von Klinkerhoffen who siezed the chance to attack and ordered 10,000 German troops into the tunnel.
However, it was a trap. When the German troops reached the British end of the tunnel, the trap was sprung by Captain Mainwaring and his brave men.
They unleashed a torrent of automatic fire, Grenades and pre-laid explosive charges. However, the charges did not go off. Knowing that the Germans could break through, two brave men stepped forward.
Lance Corporal Jack Jones and Private Charles Godfrey, on hearing the charges had failed to explode, rushed forward through the hail of fire, trying to reach the charges to set them off manually. As the ran forward, Lance Corporal Jones was cut down. Not wanting to leave him behind, Private Godfrey picked Jones up, ran to cover, laid Jones down, signalling back to his unit to get help, picked up his rifle and ran forward once more.
On reaching the charges, Private Godfrey threw himself on top and pulled the pin on a grenade. The explosion set off the charges, killing him, but sealing 10,000 German troops inside the tunnel.
Private Godfrey was awarded a posthumous VC and Lance Corporal Jones the Distinguished Service Cross. Corporal Jones survived his injuries but was later killed in the Falklands conflict.
The tunnel was left sealed until 1994, forgotten and undisturbed, when a group of Scouts, who were on a Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award expedition, stumbled across the entrance, hidden by thick brush and drifting sand.
The tunnel was opened and repaired, the bodies of the German Soldiers having first been removed and repatriated to Germany.