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December 10, 2012

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belle le triste

There was actually a well known cave only about five miles from where I grew up, Kynaston's cave on Nesscliffe Hill. It's just a room cut into a sandstone cliff, with wonky steps and a window: the highwayman Humphrey Kynaston lived in it.

Further south, the Stiperstones are riddled with caves and tunnels, many of them Roman lead mines -- haunted by kobolds known locally as "The Knockers" (yes I know, but Hitler didn't have that sort of sense of humour). Also where Wild Edric's spectral hunt rides when the country is in danger -- Edric being Shropshire's own Hereward the Wake (except unlike Hereward he sold out to the Normans and his wife was a fairy). There's a rock outcrop on top of the Stiperstones called "The Devil's Chair", which is way better than the wolf's lair! Also Humphrey Kynaston's horse was called Beelzebub.

This is all solid fact, unlike the fantastic claim that Shropshire is in the centre of the country with good rail links everywhere.

jamie

Thinking on, the Roaches on the Staffordshire Moorlands would make a good Nazi headquarters. I can just see SS types spending their afternoons off going round the local villages with head calipers.

Chris Williams

Shropshire is in the middle of the country with good routes to the rest of it only if by 'the country' you mean 'Wales'.

Phil

unlike Hereward he sold out to the Normans and his wife was a fairy

I can see that feelings still run high.

As for the rail links, have you consulted a pre-Beeching rail map? I mean, I haven't, but it could make a difference.

belle le triste

Certainly it's true that since Beeching you can no longer get to Shifnal, Criggion or Gnosall by rail. And Nesscliffe, home of Humphrey Kynaston's cave, was also formerly on a line. These are the kinds of lines that went with Beeching: it was and is a quiet backwater, plus yes, the way you get to much of coastal Wales. Maybe Hitler wanted access to Cardigan Bay's beaches.

Igor Belanov

Would he even have bothered having a personal headquarters in Britain? Surely he would have just visited London for a triumphal walk-about, left things to whichever nutter was appointed governor and concentrated on Operation Barbarossa.

ajay

The title of the post reminds me that Wodehouse's Blandings Castle was in Shropshire. Clearly that was what the Fuhrer had his eye on.

johnf

Shropshire still has direct rail connections to London, South Wales, West Wales, North Wales and Crewe and the North West, and also had a series of branch lines including an important one to Worcester.

But I'm more interested in Bridgnorth. That's where the last bunch of Nordic sausage eaters to invade us came to a sticky end under Alfred. A few managed to escape and skulk around the Dane-Law periphery before finally being holed up in, from memory John Major's Hertford, where they ver definitively destroyed.

chris y

Not Minehead? I'm all upset now.

Didn't Hitler subscribe to the fantasy that Britain would (once we were shown the error of our ways) be Germany's partner in Aryan world domination, bringing the Empire to the party to make up for the lack of overseas German colonies? In that case he might have planned to spend a fair amount of time here, discussing strategy with Lord Halifax and King Edward, no doubt.

CMcM

also had a series of branch lines including an important one to Worcester.

No doubt Hitler factored that in: word is he was mad for Lea & Perrins eponymous sauce.

bert

It's thought he wanted Oxford for his UK capital.
Home of lost causes. Of course that's a different thing from an Eagle's Nest / Wolf's Lair / Gerbil's Perch.

Simstim

For some reason (Google isn't helping me atm), I always thought that the post-invasion UK would be divided between a directly-controlled zone of London, the South East and Midlands and a Vichy-style state centred on Cheltenham.

ajay

Oxford would have made a terrible capital. It just isn't designed for Nazis. Can you imagine trying to have a massive parade down St Giles?

bert

It did alright for Charles I. Up until that whole beheading business anyway.

belle le triste

"In the summer of 895 the English from London and elsewhere marched on the fortress of the Vikings by the Lea, but they were put to flight. In the autumn, though, Alfred camped his army nearby to contain the Vikings, and built two fortresses lower down the river Lea so that the Vikings could not get their ships back out. When the Vikings discovered this, they abandoned their ships and went overland to Bridgnorth on the Severn where they built a fortress. The English army rode after the Vikings, and the men of London (as before with Hasteinn's fleet at Benfleet in Essex) fetched the ships from the camp by the Lea, and destroyed the ones they could not bring away. The Vikings stayed the winter at Bridgnorth. In the summer of 896, as noted at the beginning of this entry, the Vikings gave up their assaults, and some of them went into East Anglia and some into Northumbria, and the rest went south across the sea to the Seine."

See text in bold for what finally broke their fighting spirit and sent them packing.

chris y

I always thought that the post-invasion UK would be divided between a directly-controlled zone of London, the South East and Midlands and a Vichy-style state centred on Cheltenham.

So Northern England, Scotland and Wales were expected to continue to resist the occupation indefinitely? Yes, that seems likely.

Simstim

Sorry, I meant that they'd be ruled from Cheltenham by whoever the British equivalent of Marshall Pétain was.

Richard J

I can't help but observe that there was a recently deposed royal with pronounced pro-German sympathies kicking his heels down in Portugal at the time, if you we're looking for some kind of figurehead.

Doug

A recent publication cites Knowstone Manor in North Devon as a place possibly earmarked as Ady's West Country second home (Christopher Chanter 'A House for Hitler?'). It was owned by a Nazi and the architecture was suggestive - buildings eagle shaped etc. Not too far from the Georgeham home of the nature-loving Nazi so beloved of some environmentalists, Henry ('Oswald was the Daddy I should have had') Williamson.

Chris williams

I've yet to check this one out, but I suspect that it's another twatty manifestation of the kitsch WW2 industry. As we all learned from Sir Ian, the nazi regime was polycratic enough that there were whole buildings full of earnest racist scum writing marginal notes like 'If we invade X, let's put our capital in Y' and sending them to their patrons.

This has happened before to the extent that soon, 'Adolf wanted this town/building for his HQ' will form the basis of weeklong itineraries, of a thoroughness matched only by 'Queen Elizabeth slept here', or 'Some bloke down the pub spun a line which fooled a bored and desperate local media type. Near here.'

(I do like Shropshire, though. Especially the Long Mynd Hotel.)

johnf

Long Myndd Hotel's brilliant, except it can't souse kippers properly.

And Caratacus's Caer Caradog fortress where he held off the Romans is just across the valley.

Caratacus's possible daughter may have become an early Christian and returned from Rome to Glastonbury to re-found the first church in Christendom. On the other hand she may not. I'm sure John Michell somewhere did a book on the Nazis getting the idea of ley lines from Alfred Watkins and some German professor producing a learned volume claiming that German ley lines were both straighter than decadent English ones and always ran on time.

Strategist

soon, 'Adolf wanted this town/building for his HQ' will form the basis of weeklong itineraries

I'd always thought every self-respecting two bit provincial town had a civic building/stately home that Hitler was going to make into his UK HQ or holiday cottage. It's a basic must-have, like having the highest density of licensed premises in England.

bert

A Hitler hub.

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