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Wednesday 26 September 2012

Barmston, East Yorks

OK, so if you follow this blog regularly you will have seen all these pillboxes before, but the area is simply one of the best walks for pillboxes and they always look slightly different according to the  light, the season etc. These photos were taken in the mid afternoon September sunshine on  my recent visit up north. All pillboxes are of the Northern Command Lozenge type (except for one photo of the rear of an 'Eared' Pillbox).

The last time I saw this pillbox, on a caravan park to the south of Barmston, it was half buried under earth!

Above: The pillbox landscape to the south of Barmston.

Above: The pillbox landscape just to the north of Barmston. Note the sweeping field of fire the twin Vickers (Eared Pillbox) had - rear of pillbox shown in middle image.

These last two images of a Lozenge Pillbox were actually taken on  Flamborough Head, been wanting to visit this one for years but the field has always been under crop on previous visits.

To end this blog, a photo of a postcard that I picked up of some of the Home Guard (Yorks Regt) - if anyone can recognise the location I would love to know!

Friday 21 September 2012

Stent Pillbox - Filey, East Yorkshire

The Stent Pillbox is basically a prefabricated pillbox constructed of 'hollow concrete sections bolted together and filled with rubble and/or poured concrete' (M Osborne- Pillboxes of Britain and Ireland). Typically these pillboxes resembled the  Type 26 square pillbox although some were apparently a 'double version', of which the Filey example is almost certainly one. It's dimensions are approx 20' x 11' with a central brick dividing / Anti-ricochet wall. The pillbox has at least six embrasures (possibly more but a section of wall is destroyed). Three of the embrasures  would appear to be typical pre-cast embrasures for a rifle or light machine gun with a weapons shelf but three are much wider and have a recess low down in the inner wall - I have no idea what weapon these were for.

The pillbox would seem to be filled with rubble / poor quality concrete. Chalk can clearly be seen to have been used to infill parts. Personally, if I had been facing the enemy I would rather have taken my chances in the open than in this pillbox - I cannot see how it would have even been bullet proof.

On an interesting note, I had forward to me a note in a war diary about the erection of an 'experimental' Stent in the Yarmouth area - the first I've heard of this type of pillbox in Norfolk/Suffolk - certainly a lead to follow up on.

Above: Sketch plan of Stent Pillbox, Filey (NOT TO SCALE)

Above: Interior of pillbox - note the two types of embrasure  (and the lower recess in the large type of embrasure). Last image shows the entrance and interior brick wall which would have given some strength to the pillbox and also acted in part as an Anti-ricochet wall.

Above: The exterior of the pillbox. Note the standard pre-cast small embrasure (last two images) and the large type of embrasure (top image - albeit damaged). Note also in the second image the chalk rubble used to infill the pillbox.

I must admit to have done no research into Yorkshire so cannot offer any more details on this pillbox than above. If anyone knows the intended role of this pillbox or the weapon the larger type of embrasure was designed for please leave a comment!!

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Eastern Command Line: Northern extension - part 3

This is perhaps one of the best pillbox walks I've ever done.  Five pillboxes, all in good condition, all accessible  and in  some  pleasant scenery. I started my walk from Three Holes (good general purpose store here to stock up with nibbles, drinks etc). I've already posted before on the Type 28a at Three Holes, so only one photo for this pillbox:

I continued past this pillbox, following a drain along which are situated four Type 24 Shell Proofs and two Type 28a's although unfortunately I only had time to visit three of the Type 24's and one of the Type 28a's.
The image below shows the landscape and the effective anti-tank obstacle the drain would have made. In fact any German Force landing on the north Norfolk Coast and making its way south would also have had to cross the Middle Level Main Drain, which runs in a north-easterly direction from Three Holes.

Next set of images show the three Type 24 shell proof pillboxes. All are in reasonable condition (some have lost quite a bit of their brick shuttering and one has had the brick anti-ricochet wall removed) and clean inside.

Above: Walking from Three Holes, the first of the shell proof Type 24's. Note  the brick anti-ricochet wall has been removed.

Above: Second of the shell proof Type 24's

Above: Third of the shell proof Type 24's

Above: Type 28a Pillbox, suffering a bit from subsidence! Note those metal rods again on the inside of the main embrasure - still no idea what they were for!

After the Type 28a had to turn back to the car to continue my journey up north (there is a further Type 24 and 28a along the drain). Heading north  from Three Holes I came across another Home Guard store in the next village, Outwell.

Monday 17 September 2012

Eastern Command Line - Northern Extension:part 2

Continuing with my journey up north, I took some time to look at some of the pillboxes in the Nordelph area. This area seems to have been particularly heavily defended - Mike Osborne in his book '20th Century Defences in Britain - Norfolk' lists 12 shell proof Type 24's and  four Type 28's still surviving between Denver Slice and Three Holes (along the Pophams Eau spur) amongst other surviving defence structures. I only had time to look at a few of these.
The following pictures show some of the Type 24's and a Home Guard store in Nordelph.

Above: A Shell Proof Type 24 - note a second Type 24 in the background in the second photo

Close as I could get to this Shell Proof Type 24

Another Shell Proof Type 24

A typical brick built Home Guard Store for explosives / inflammables etc

Final post in this thread will look at some of the pillboxes along Pophams Eau. Work continuing in the background on the website - never being content to finish off one subject once started, the first in a series of pages on Suffolk's part in OVERLORD soon to be posted!!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Eastern Command Line - Northern Extension: Part 1

Visiting family in Yorkshire again, I took the opportunity to stop off at a few pillboxes on the way. These are some of the pillboxes on the northern extension of the Eastern Command Line, which leaves G.H.Q Line East at Littleport to run up the Great  Ouse towards Downham Market where it then runs west along Pophams Eau. I only had time to visit a fraction of the defences remaining in this area, so further visits required in the future (although as most are in Norfolk must admit not high on the agenda!).

The first pillbox I cam across was a bullet proof Type 24 along the A1123 which was presumably  part of the outlying Cambridge defences / GHQ Line as it ran north of Cambridge along the River Cam.

Next up was a Type 28a pillbox for the 2 pounder anti-tank gun on the northern extension of the Eastern Command Line. It is located at Brandon Creek, just to the south of Southery. Note the screw pickets on the roof and the remains of a black finish on the roof to hide the shine form the concrete. I have no idea what the metal rods protruding from the inside of the embrasure where for.

Just a little further north up the road was this Shell proof Type 24.

Part 2 of this thread will look at some of the pillboxes on the northern extension of the Command Line in the Nordelph area.