Filey: Yorkshire town councillor stunned after finding lost World War Two air raid shelter with gas mask and helmet inside during building work
Town councillor Mike Cockerill has shared images of the flooded underground structure, which appears to be brick-built, and the rusted helmet and gas mask he found inside.
The exact location of the shelter is being with-held to prevent trespassers, but Filey Town Council have informed North Yorkshire Council, the lead planning and conservation authority, about the find.
However, local history enthusiasts speculated that the structure could actually be a cellar rather than a purpose-built shelter, and that it had been appropriated for civil defence use - with the gas mask similar to those issued to Air Raid Precautions volunteers.
Nick Moore said: “One layer of bricks isn't going to do much. The helmet and mask could have been thrown into whatever structure that is after the war. Underground structures get all sorts thrown into them once they are no longer used for the purpose they were built for. A normal household wouldn't have had helmets in the shelter, they would have been supplied to ARP, first responders, fire crew etc.
"The date the building above was built might help with identifying what it is along with more photographs of its construction. Cellars like this are often found when work is carried out around buildings. Could be a coal cellar. I think Filey’s ARP post was somewhere off West Avenue, so if it’s in that area it could be ARP-related if it's a shelter.
"Brooklands is where the main gas decontamination blocks are along with a couple on West Ave.”
Phil Hibbard added: “Gas mask looks to be civil defence issue, any marks on the Brodie helmet? Shelter construction is interesting using a single skin brick arch, probably indicates an early build.”
A North Yorkshire Council archaeologist is currently inspecting the structure and will report back later this month.
Filey has one surviving concrete surface shelter in a private garden. The decontamination blocks, which would have been used in a gas attack, are now garages.
There are also still remains of pillboxes and other World War Two defences on the beaches between Filey and Bridlington, as it was feared invading forces would land on the east coast..