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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Saturday, 28 August 2010

East Yorkshire: Fraisthorpe - Barmston

The East Yorkshire Coast between Scarborough and Spurn Point can be roughly divided as follows: North of Bridlington - steep clay cliffs with many gulleys/ravines (or 'gaps') and to the south low height clay cliffs. The beaches are wide open sandy beaches, ideal to land an invasion force of all arms. Up to late summer of 1940, the British still expected the main invasion to take place on the East Coast; even when GHQ deduced the main invasion was planned to take place on the South Coast, a diversionary attack or large scale raids on the East Coast could not be ruled out. The defences on the beaches between Fraisthorpe and Barmston, south of Bridlington,  must surely have been some of the strongest in Britain (the density of surviving pillboxes exceeds any thing I've seen in Suffolk at any rate!)
If you are interested in WW2 anti-invasion defences and ever get the chance, this is a site well worth a visit, but soon as it is deterioating each year due to coastal erosion. Today the actual 'Front Line' that would have resisted any invasion in 1940-42 is mostly only represented by the odd pillbox or line of concrete tank blocks remaining in situ. At Fraisthorpe you can see the concrete tank blocks arranged to prevent tanks from exiting the beach as well as restricting movement up and down the beach, boxing in tanks where they could be dealt with by the defence, an anti-tank wall and two medium machine gun posts.  In one of these machine gun pillboxes, range cards have been marked above the embrasures. Two beach search light emplacements can also be seen, although both now dislodged from their original position.  North of this fragment remaining at Fraisthorpe, the front line defences have disappeared due to coastal erosion but the rear line of hardend defences is still intact - lozenge pillboxes and a further 'eared' medium machine gun pillbox.
Also it must be remembered that the British Coast was regarded as a potential invasion target during the First World War. There are a number of structures in this area, that seem hardly even bullet proof, that I have been puzzling over for the last few years. Well this time I met a couple of other 'concrete' enthusiasts (how many of us are actually out there??) who informed me they date from the First War.
Image 1: Beach search light emplacement and eroded tank blocks
Image 2: Beach search light emplacement
Image 3: 'Eared' machine gun pillbox and anti-tank wall
Image 4: Tank blocks overlooked by 'eared' machine gun pillbox
Image 5: 'Eared' machine gun pillbox
Image 6: Tnak blocks and anti-tank wall
Image 7: 'GD 1941' give an indication of when these blocks were constructed!
Image 8: Blocks arranged vertical to the beach to restrict movement up and down the beach and box in tanks.
Image 9: Beach searchlight emplacement, a victim of coastal erosion
image 10 and 11: Part of the rear defences, two lozenege pillboxes can be seen in each picture
Image 12: 'Eared' machine gun pillbox, part of the rear defences
image 13: One of several similar pillboxes in the area, apparently dating from the First war


  1. Hi,
    Are the farmers ok for the general public to go and have a closer look at the ones in fields?

  2. Hi
    With the exception of the twin vicker's mg post, all of the photos in the above post were taken from the beach or coast path. The vicker's mg was taken in Aug, the field just a stubble field. I have found if you don't trample on crops or climb over gates/fences or violate the privacy of peoples gardens most farmers don't mind if you just visit and take nothing but a photo. Most either wave or express an interest. I have not been asked to leave as yet but would if the occasion ever arose. I have only ever broken my own rules once and was quite rightly reprimanded for it!