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Thread: WW2 Pillboxes UK

  1. #1
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    Default WW2 Pillboxes UK


    I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread to document where all remaining WW2 era Pillboxes are. There is very little information on them, only one book that I have ever read and that describes the various types, there are around 6 different designs that I have seen.

    Apprantly there is a proposal to make them listed buildings.



    Where I live in Essex there are loads, and it would be nice to document their exact location, style, current status etc. The old A130 stretching from Felsted to Wickford has the biggest concentration in the Essex area but I dont know much about other counties.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    Blimey, that's an ambitious project! There's millions of the things dotted around.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    Thats some project mate!!!

    Damon kindly showed us this one a couple of weeks ago when we were on our way back from Crowthorn School. Its in the Turton area,I think,but other than that I don't know what type it is or anything.





    But I do like Pill boxes!!:D

  5. #4
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    Iv got two weird ones nr me in Porthmadog. . .

    The first >
    The Herald – 15th Jan 2004

    Sands give up war secrets
    A reminder of how the Welsh coastline was protected from the possible enemy attack during the WWII has emerged on Black Rock Sands, near Porthmadog.
    Local people say the last time the pill box in the dunes between the Lon Gwydryn entrance and Cwt Powdwr was seen was some 50 years ago – since then it has been buried by the sand.
    The Government spent large sums of money in the early 1940s on building what became known as dragons teeth – concrete blocks – in front of the sand dunes along the two mile long beach. The work also included the building of a number of pill boxes from where the soldiers, including members of the home guard could view the coastline through special holes forming part of the structure.
    The beach itself became a no-go area as larch holes were “planted” at regular intervals to make it difficult for any enemy invasion to succeed. Barbed wire was also placed on top of each pole, again adding to the defense of the coastline.
    Soon after the end of the war, the larch poles and barbed wire were removed by cutting them off at the base, some two feet below sand level.
    Over the years, a number of stumps left behind have emerged as the level of sand on the beach changed, with the result that steps had to be taken to remove them to make the beach safe for the public. But remains of the larch poles have continued to emerge from time to time, the latest being at the far end of the beach near Cwt Powdwr, a situation that will soon see the country council contractors removing them on the grounds of safety.
    Nearby, where recent high tides have removed a long stretch of dunes, a part of a pill box has emerged, becoming a winter attraction. There are fears locally that if the tides continue to erode the dunes, the entire pill box will emerge and fall onto the beach.
    All the other pill boxes along the beach have already been demolished ad they became a hazard as more and more tourists were attracted to them.
    Local people this week have recalled the actual building of the coastline defenses in the early 1940s.
    “ I remember my father, the late Robert John Williams, working there with the contractors Davies Bermo on the building of the actual dragons’ teeth, where the concrete was actually mixed on the spot.” said James Williams
    The dragons’ teeth were boxed on site with concrete used to fill the boxes, which were then dismantled to create more of the huge concrete blocks.
    And according to Daniel Jones, he recalls as a child helping his father, the late Tom Iorwerth Jones, to remove some of the larch poles and barbed wire from the beach soon after the end of the war.
    “The larch poles and barbed wire also formed part of the dragons’ teeth defences to ensure that no one slipped through the gaps between each block.” said Mr Jones. Another local person, Jackie Owen, believes the now emerging pill box was last seen in the early 1950s.

    Photos

    The second is located on top of a cliff, and made to look like the stone by using local slate, photos to come soonish!

  6. #5
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    The CBA's Defence of Britain Project has covered nearly all of them as well as anti tank obstacles and other defences, the records are online in a searchable database: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/projects/dob/index.html - despite a couple of gaps it's still the best and most complete there is available online. Visiting/documenting them is not always easy to do, especially as a lot are in the middle of the countryside, so can only be reached on foot.
    It's a tough task to be honest, I visited and photographed a 5 mile stretch of my local stop line (see here ) and it took a lot of time and plenty of walking through muddy fields.

    As for types, they're fairly straightforward most of the time, and quite easy to remember when you've learned them. The main types were numbered from 22 to 28, with hexagonal type 24s being the most common. There were also other types, such as the tett turret, which were relatively rare, and 'variants', like the two storey one at Slaugham, Sussex.

    Usually they were either coastal defences or part of 'stop lines' which were intended to halt (or at least hinder) an invading army's advance.
    Inland pillboxes are normally positioned at river crossings or important roads and railways, but there are also isolated examples near important military sites and in some towns.

    There are good type plans here

    Hope this helps.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    Thanks for the info. That defence of britain site is superb.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    You're welcome, I've known about it for a while, so it seemed daft not to pass it on.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    Pic below is off my local pillbox, its on top of a four storey
    warehouse at Bristol Docks. According to ArchSearch it
    is a Type FW3/26 made from concrete and clay brick and
    constucted in 1940/41. Probably built to defend a nearby
    rail/road bridge.



    Another warehouse roughly half a mile way has a similar but smaller structure
    on its roof, I think this is a fire watchers post, I'll see if I can get a picture of
    it in next time I'm in the area.

    Bishop

  10. #9
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    This is one of my favourites local to me it's on the River Blackwater lock at at Chelmsford.
    Essex's finest historic explorer

  11. #10
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    Default Re: WW2 Pillboxes UK


    sorry no pics at moment but i know of at least 2 in the watford area used to be three but they put a road through it. it was quite a nice one large machine gun pit and various anti tank defences around it.from memory i think there were about 6 about 5ft high. just over the road is another one minus its t/traps. a lot of the outer casing has gone on this one or did they make them from brick? and another again in bad condition,is close to the A41 in watford.
    any more info needed just ask i will keep posting as i remember where ive seen them!

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