Monday, August 04, 2008

Wartime Accommodation inside the Rock of Gibraltar

During WWII the Women’s wartime accommodation inside the Rock of Gibraltar was designated Tunnel F 13. This was the only accommodation tunnel with a locked gate at the entrance.
With the concern about a possible assault by the Axis Forces in 1940 additional tunnels were excavated inside the Rock of Gibraltar. These were planned so that about 17,500 Allied troops would be fully sufficient and be able to withstand a siege for at least two years. To assist such a force to hold out against a siege, some of the new excavations were made over to catering, a hospital and accommodation.

Although there never was an assault or a siege on the Rock of Gibraltar during WWII, about 5000 men and 300 women had their billets inside the Rock. The women of the WRAF were accommodated in Block F 13, the number being allocated as it would be unlucky for a man to enter there! With such a big gender imbalance for a long period inside the Rock, the WRAF accommodation quarters, unlike the ones for the men, were behind a locked gate, as can be seen in the above photograph. The women had a key to enter and leave their accommodation, and it is believed that no man ever crossed the threshold!

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