We reached our final campsite before catching our ferry back to the UK on Saturday morning. The drive was a bit of a challenge and the second longest journey of the trip. We left Heidelberg early in the morning and the temperatures started to soar as we moved into southern, then mid France. On the last leg, the temperature started to drop substantially, and we arrived under grey skies. For the first time in weeks I had to put a long sleeved top on to keep the chill off. The clouds did eventually cleared in the evening and it turned out to be pleasant, although still a little chilly. But that was most likely to do with our climatisation over the last month.
The campsite wasn’t expensive as we could get discount using our ACSI card. We had a walk round on the first evening and were really impressed with the facilities and cleanliness of the campsite
After a good night’s sleep our first full day at the campsite was spent chilling. Mandy read her book by the swimming pool and had a dip and I choose to try and keep cool in the van.
In the evening we were invited to share a drink with an english couple who were, like us on the last leg of their journey. It was during these conversation that they mentioned a German WWII rocket factory…
It was an amazing surprise to find out that just 10 minutes cycle ride from our campsite was one of the most interesting historical places related to World War II . It’s called the Blockhaus d’Éperlecques and it’s where they started manufacturing the V2 rockets.
It got compromised by British and allied bombing once they realised what was being produced there, so never got to cause the damage it was designed for. I think this is the first time I have seen a structure of this size that has the scars of war with craters in the forest, and massive holes in the concrete from the specially designed “Tall Boy” & “Disney” bunker busting bombs.
” The biggest bunker in the north of France, witness of the 1939-45 dark age, from 1939 to 1945.
Open to the public since 1973 and listed “Ancient Memorials” in 1985.
A 90min-visit, alone or with your family, to discover and learn the history of the Eperlecques Bunker, the technologie of the V2 & V1 secret weapons, in a wooded parc, you’ll be impressed, interested and you’ll keep and unforgettable memory. “
Reception / ticket office consisted of a lot of interesting historic items.
Once we paid we passed through a small doorway where you were encouraged to follow a meandering along which were a whole raft of different and very thought provoking items. Vehicles were dotted here and there along with artillery, unexploded bombs, dummy bombs and german defence items retrieved from the D-Day landings.
Below is a small section of train track with two cattle trucks. One had footprints on the floor to depict how many victims were shipped to concentration camps at the start of the war. These gave the impression that although the truck was clearly carrying a good number of prisoners, there was at least space to breath. The second truck was full of footprints showing standing room only and barely enough room to move at all. This was brought to life by commentary and the sound of discomfort as it travelled to its destination where a return would not be an option for many.
It goes without saying the most interesting thing was the Blockhaus itself. The saddest part is that most of the casualties in the bombing would have been prisoners of war who were put to work building the missile factory.
I would highly recommend visiting this attraction to anybody that finds themselves in France via the Euro Tunnel / ferry at Calais or Dunkirk.
133 rue du Gandspette
Pas-de-Calais / Nord-Pas-de-Calais – France
Tel: 03 21 93 43 93 – Fax: 03 21 95 74