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, 22 May 2011

Eastern Command Line (and German POW) : Lavenham part 3

Another post on this visit, now way back in the past in April! First up is another probable CRE 1116  - on this one all the embrasures and the entrance are blocked (although just enough of a gap to hold a camera for an internal photo!) but it is identical to the one at Slough Farm. Also close by is a very well preserved Spigot Mortar position.

Next up is some unusual graffiti - if you are lucky you occasionally come across some evidence of who built the pillbox or troops billeted nearby. But on this occasion the names are German and the date 1946! German POW's were still present in  Britain up to 1948 (400,000 in 1946, 150,000 in 1947 with the last repatriated  by Nov 1948) . The post-war British Government at first deliberately ignored the Geneva Convention by refusing to repatriate POW's. They were often forced to work on farms (and perhaps clearing the Anti-invasion defences?) in conditions often described as slave labour and fraternisation with the home population was forbidden. Saying this, conditions were probably better than those German POW's who had to clear the minefields etc in France when many were killed. The situation became more relaxed by Christmas 1946 and in the end many actually decided to settle in Britain. I have come across a reference to POW camps still in Britain in 1946/7 but have not yet checked it out so have no idea where these two Germans would have been imprisoned.

I also located the positions of some of the 2 pounder anti-tank gun positions prepared. Included in this post is the easiest one to visualise. A pillbox is also recorded in the official documents as being nearby - nothing remains of this except perhaps some concrete rubble present today.

One more post on Lavenham to come.

Image 1-3: Prob. CRE 1116 6 pounder gun pillbox, Lavenham. Image 2 shows how it would have covered the bridge crossing the rail line.
Image 4 & 5: Spigot Mortar position near the above pillbox.
Image 6 & 7. What I assume is German POW graffiti. Trier (Image 7) is a city  on the banks of the Moselle River, the oldest city in Germany.
Image 8: Field of fire from a 2 pounder anti-tank gun position sited to cover the Command Line.

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