London, February 20
German dictator Adolf Hitler had plans to set up his headquarters in the English Midlands if the Nazi invasion of Britain had been successful during World War II, say historians.
According to them, Hitler had, in fact, chalked out the “top secret” plan to use Apley Hall, near Norton, in the heart of Shropshire countryside in the Midlands as the headquarters of his operation during the Second World War.
The house was then owned by one Major AW Foster, a decorated hero of both the Boer War and First World War, who had lost a leg in battle. The historians believe the Nazi tyrant was interested in the area, seven miles from the tourist town of Bridgnorth, as it was geographically in the middle of England and had a handy airbase nearby, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.
Their conclusion came from a bundle of 1940s papers, recovered from a bunker in Belgium at the end of World War II, containing maps highlighting strategic sites for attack by the Germans, including railway stations, power plants and bridges in Bridgnorth and other towns in the Midlands.
"As far-fetched as it may sound, the papers, which were marked ‘top secret’, earmarked a place in the middle of nowhere where Hitler hoped to set up camp during his planned invasion.
"It was widely believed that Hitler’s invasion was timed for 1940 but that he scrapped the idea after the Royal Air Force fended off the Luftwaffe over Kent. The fact that some of these documents date from 1941, a year after the Battle of Britain, clearly shows that Hitler never abandoned the plan.
“To go to so much trouble in researching Bridgnorth and the surrounding area indicated that the Nazis saw the town as of key importance for something,” Richard Westwood-Brookes, one of the historians, said.