Forthcoming Book:

The Portsdown Fuel Bunker

 Created 10-07-2007   Last update 15-09-2013


Final update as of 15 September 2013

I have now abandoned all attempts to get my book published by traditional methods. Publishers aren't interested and I'm not interested in self publishing (the vanity route). It's either the real deal or nothing.

I began producing an e-book but became disillusioned with this. The text is not a problem, but the formatting of images and image pages is time consuming and tedious, and e-book graphic rendering is not especially attractive.

Thanks to all those who have supported and shown an interest in this project.

Bob Hunt - 15-09-2013


The Book Timeline


My first book about the  Portsdown Fuel Bunker is now finished. It consists of 31,000 words and contains 112 illustrations of the bunker and the fuel pipeline from Portsdown to the Oil Fuel Jetty at Forton, Gosport. The book is written in autobiographical style detailing not just the facts and photographs but also telling the story of how these facts were won: from 1964 to 2011.

The sites included are: the Fuel Bunker both inside and out, the pipeline on the Portsmouth side, its landfall at Fleetlands, its journey through DSDA (formerly RNAD) Frater, the journey across Gosport and Priddy's Hard and its termination at Forton Fuel Oil Depot.

There are also many first hand personal accounts of the bunker's operational life and a detailed study of its history, construction, operation and decommission. 

I have been staggered by the level of co-operation that I have received during my research and would like to thank everyone for their help.


Here are some of the photos that will appear in the book:


Prototype front cover - by Stevie Hunt

Rescue Team

As the visit meant an extended period of time underground (over an hour), MoD confined space measures had to be enforced which included breathing apparatus training for myself and the use of a trained rescue team to accompany me into the tunnels. These were a great bunch of guys who took good care of me. They are from left to right:


Esteban Marrufo, Andy Collings, Joss Bond,

Stephen Coleman and Alan Fletcher.

Pipe Tunnel Doors

This is the entrance to the pipe (west) tunnel. The ventilation fans have to be run up for at least 30 minutes before anyone can enter. The BA kits are ready for the four man crew that has to check the bunker out for hazards and air purity before anyone else can enter.

Pipe Tunnel

The pipe tunnel, so called because there are two 16 inch FFO pipes, one 10" diesel pipe and a sump pipe under the floor. The 4 inch pipe on the tunnel wall is a dry riser used for fire fighting. This tunnel is 2150 feet long to the northern portal.

Pump Room

The pump room containing all the original machinery. These two electric pumps operated at 350psi and could pump 400 tons of FFO per hour.

Fuel Cell

The end of fuel cell number 1 as seen from the access (east) tunnel. This is the smallest of the fuel cells and is 200 feet long, 30 feet wide and 40 feet high. It contained 5,000 tons of FFO. The big ones (cells 4 to 9) contained 17,500 tons each.



Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth  

Commodore David Steel RN

Portsmouth Naval Base Commander

Lieutenant Commander Suzy Conway RN

Photographic Vetting

Lieutenant Commander Tony Ford RN

Photographic Vetting




John Parsons

Breathing Apparatus Training


Defence Storage & Distribution Agency - Frater  

Richard Morgan


Philippa Talbot

General Manager

Jane McDonald

Security Officer

Steve Smith



Defence Logistics Organisation - Forton Oil Fuel Depot   

Andy Gaffney

Officer In Charge (2007)

Ged Hallam

Leading Stoker

John Abbatt

Officer In Charge (2011)

Brian Smith

Senior Store Keeper

Steve Parker

Oil Fuel Operative


Fleet Support Limited  

Ian Booth


Kev Pearson

Inspector of Works

Andy Collings

Rescue Team Member

Esteban Marrufo

Rescue Team Member

Stephen Coleman

Rescue Team Member

Alan Fletcher

Rescue Team Member

Joss Bond 


Nigel Hume (aka Mad Nige)

Responsible Person


Defence Aviation Repair Agency Fleetlands  

Graham Sargent


Brian Davis

SHE Manager



Adam Shepherd


Alex Smith


Andy Salter

Primary Contact at HMS Sultan

Bernie Allack

Naval Marine Engineering Practice

Betty Callaway Contributor
Brian Cave Contributor
Clare Broomfield NMR Enquiry and Research Services - English Heritage
Dave Hessey Contributor
Dave Stevens And His Dad 1945 OS Map
David Moore Palmerston Forts Society
Fred Wall And His Dog Contributors
Gary Smith Contributor
G Bennett , Phil Cook, Andy Gaffney Additional Photography
Ian Keefe Additional Research - Gosport Pipeline
Jan West Camera Equipment
Karen Priest Communications Manager - Interserve
Kevin Bedford And His Goats Charity Farm Pit 15a
Kevin Hurle Customer Service Centre, Ordnance Survey
Margaret Newman National Museum of the Royal Navy HMNB Portsmouth
Mark Penfold Support, Encouragement & Time Off
Mark Rutter Additional Photography
Mel Sandford And Her Dog Additional Research - Gosport Pipeline
Neil Russell Proof Reading, Calculation Checking and Tolerance
Norman Beckett Contributor
Peter Cobb National Archives Research
Richard Gledhill Interserve
Rod McConnell Secretary - Royal Navy Gunnery Instructors Association
Roy Bridger Contributor
Stevie Hunt Specialised Graphics Work

Stuart Jamie Graham

HMS Belfast Photos

Tim Gardener Pilot For Aerial Photography
Tony Triggs Contributor

Warrant Officer John Adams RN

Stokers Poem