Secret tunnels in South Heighton to be investigated in school project

HMS Forward, South Heighton
HMS Forward, South Heighton
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A top secret World War II naval headquarters will be investigated by children at a Newhaven school with the help of Heritage Lottery Funding of £10,000.

Children at Denton Community School will be finding out more about the underground network of tunnels in South Heighton, which once housed the listening post HMS Forward.

The school is inviting anyone associated with the base or who has experience of the tunnels directly or through family and friends, to share their memories with the school.

Deputy head teacher of Denton Community School Guy Walsh said: “Our school is very fortunate to be accessing this funding as it will provide a cross-curricular ‘learning journey’ and ensure that children have a wide breadth of engaging experiences which put both maths and English into a meaningful and purposeful context.

“This will be a fascinating local project as there is a lot of intrigue and secrecy surrounding HMS Forward.

“It’s an opportunity for people in the local community to share real war experiences and knowledge with children from the school; experiences which if not recorded soon will be lost forever.

“Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn new skills such as research and interviewing techniques, and children will learn to respect their heritage by gaining a deeper understanding of the Second World War and the impact of this landmark on local people.”

The project will involve local residents, Newhaven Historical Society, Friends of HMS Forward and local children in research and interviews, providing an invaluable record of this little known site during the Second World War.

Those involved in the project will have the opportunity to delve into the large collection of WWII material held at the Mass Observation Unit at Sussex University, visit Newhaven Museum and take part in a community workshop where local people can share their knowledge and photographs.

The result of this project will be a short film to be screened alongside an exhibition of all the material and evidence collected by children at the school in Acacia Avenue.

Anyone who would like to share their memories of HMS Forward or anyone who would like to volunteer to help the children with research should get in touch.

Heritage Lottery Fund gives grants to sustain and transform our heritage.

To get involved contact Denton Community School on 01273 513377 or email