When Simon Marks of Luton, England backed out of his driveway on a Saturday afternoon, he had no idea he was about to make an amazing discovery. But that he did. He started to feel the ground shake and crumble below his car. “What’s happening?” He thought. Is this an earthquake? Am I about to get sucked into a sinkhole?!

Thankfully he survived and got out of his car to inspect the damage. His eventual discovery was truly stunning.

At first, it just looked like a small sinkhole. Chunks of concrete had broken and fallen into the ground. Simon still had no idea what caused it and was worried it could get worse and he could even lose his house. He contacted his father, Gerald, who headed over to help assess the damage.

While he waited, Simon continued to investigate. He started to move the chunks of broken concrete. Quickly he realized that this was no sinkhole. There was something else there. As he removed more dirt he was finally able to make out what it was… a rusted, old ladder.

By now his father had arrived and was shocked by son’s discovery. They immediately went to work excavating the area around the ladder using nothing but a shovel and some buckets. They dug for hours. And as the time passed and the hole went deeper, Simon and Gerald continued to be amazed. As far as they understood, there was only empty land on the property before the house was built.

Finally, there was enough room for them to get inside and see what this mystery hole was all about. They proceeded with caution, completely unsure of what they would find in the darkness. Amazingly, they saw a doorway ahead of them. In fact, there were two separate rooms down there!

This made things perfectly clear to Gerald… this was an air raid shelter. It turns out there were a lot of them in that area during World War II. Germans were dropping bombs all over the U.K. at the time, so bomb shelters became a necessity for the public. Especially in Simon’s neighborhood, as he was close to some of Germany’s biggest targets, Liverpool, Birmingham, and London.

But the discoveries didn’t stop there. Simon also found historical artifacts in the long forgotten shelter. A mostly preserved newspaper provided a glimpse of life in Lutton during World War II.

While an old milk bottle, now full to the brim with dirt, implied that perhaps the person who built the shelter had stocked it with the necessary goods to survive for days on end. 

What an amazing discovery! It’s hard to imagine what people must have gone through on a day to day basis back then. But discoveries like Simon’s help shed a light on their lives, and give us a better appreciation for how good we have it now.