Video of underground tunnel isn’t a secret UK military site

21 March 2022
What was claimed

An underground tunnel is a secret UK military site.

Our verdict

The site in the video is part of a large nuclear bunker commissioned in the 1950s. It was declassified in 2004.

A video on Facebook, viewed over 400,000 times, shows a group of people setting off an alarm in what appears to be an underground tunnel. 

The caption says: “UK Area 51! What are they hiding down here!!”

This is a reference to a secret US Air Force site in Nevada, US. The site has been the focus of a number of conspiracy theories relating to extraterrestrial life, and is completely closed to the public.

While the location of the video isn’t made clear in the video, the account which originally posted the video to TikTok in December 2021 says in a number of comments that it was filmed at an underground Ministry of Defence (MoD) facility in Corsham, Wiltshire. 

Far from being a secret military site like Area 51, Corsham is home to a sprawling set of underground bunkers known by a number of names including the Corsham Tunnels, Burlington Bunker and Central Government War Headquarters

The use of the site, already partially-developed during World War II, was commissioned as a bunker in the mid-1950s as the threat of nuclear attacks grew amid the Cold War. “Site 3”, as it was known, was designed to accommodate around 4,000 government personnel in the event of nuclear war, and was equipped with a range of amenities including medical facilities, offices, kitchens and accommodation. 

The site was declassified in 2004 and has now been designated as a scheduled monument by Historic England. While it is not currently open to the public, there are a number of videos, news articles and blogs about the site online. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because this video does not show an active, classified military site like Area 51. It shows part of a decommissioned, declassified, nuclear bunker.

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