Welcome to this blog which is intended to accompany a website on how Suffolk was defended during the Second War. The blog will describe my trips out and about looking for the remains of the Second War defences while the Website will concentrate on putting these into context.

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Kessingland - Pakefield Part 2

As well as the CHL Radar site already I've already posted about, also took in three pillboxes and the site of the Pakefield Emergency Coastal battery. The first pillbox is on the north side of Kessingland beach front, in the grounds of a small housing development. A typical 'Suffolk Square', but the entrance and all embrasures have been blocked up. The second is on the higher cliffs in between Kessingland and Pakefiled and required a climb up the cliffs to reach! Another 'Suffolk Square', sunk into the ground to embrasure level that would have enjoyed a sweeping field of fire over the beach (assuming of course it was actually built on the cliff front and is not there today as a result of coastal erosion!). Its now almost hidden from site by brambles. Further north still, can be found the site of Pakefield Emergency Battery. Even during the war, coastal erosion was a problem and the site of the guns and battery observation post has now disappeared, with just a few bricks, bits of concrete etc remaining. The lighthouse, which housed a Royal Observer Corps Post during the war can still be seen, with a loopholed wall. The old field ditch shown on the battery plan still exists in the grounds of the holiday park.
Lastly, on the south side of Kessingland Beach is a pillbox built into the seawall, a twin machine gun post sited to enfilade the beach. There is an interesting note in the 1/4 South Lancs War Diary, 1st June 1940, in which 'C' Company forwarded a message that a police inspector reported that would be likely trouble from Kessingland Fishermen as slipways onto the beach had been removed to clear a field of fire. Perhaps for this machine gun post??
Image 1: Suffolk Sq on the north side of Kessingland Beach
Image 2: Suffolk Sq on the cliffs between Kessingland and Pakefield
Image 3: View from the roof of pillbox in image no 2, looking north towards Lowestoft - this pillbox has sweeping views over the beach.
Image 4: View from cliffs looking north towards the site of the Emergency battery at Kessingland (note the lighthouse). Lowestoft is in the distance, showing how this battery operated in support of the defence of Lowestoft Port.
Image 5: Lighthouse which housed the ROC post during the war, with loopholed wall
Image 6: Pakefield Holiday Camp today - the ditch in front of the camp buildings is an old field ditch and is marked on the war time time plan of the battery.
Image 7: Remains of a building associated with the battery - the concrete footings can still be seen.
Image 8: Pillbox housing two machine guns to enfilade the beach to the north and south - south beach, Kessingland.


  1. Somewhere on the site shown in image 3 also contained an underground tank / storage bunker. Haven't wandered round there for about 15 years so not sure what still remains - it was getting close to the cliff last time I looked. There was a large conrete building there with roof access.

  2. Have recently purchased a front line house to the sea in Pakefield that has a large WW2 undergound bunker with two small rooms either side of it. Cannot see it on any old records. Any information very gratefully received.Stephen Reeves

  3. Hello Stephen
    Nothing comes to mind immediately (unless you are anywhere near the Cefas building then it may be connected to the Grand Hotel battery). It was unusual to build underground bunkers in the coastal areas unless associated with coastal batteries or radar sites. Higher commands usually had underground battle HQ's but these would be inland. Could it be a cold war observer corps post? Perhaps you could email me direct at suffolksquare@pillboxes-suffolk.co.uk with a location and perhaps some photos?