Kings Lynn Coastal Defence Battery, Ongar Hill, Norfolk

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HypoBoy

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This coastal defence battery is a rare survival in Norfolk, and consists of a magazine, left-hand gunhouse, battery observation post, right-hand gunhouse and a close defence blockhouse. The battery observation post, a tall three-story tower of brick, is thought to be a unique example in Norfolk. This site was known as King's Lynn battery, and was in action between 1940-1943. As the threat of invasion in this area decreased, the guns were moved to Northumberland.

A lot of the site is heavily buried in undergrowth, so was a bit of a nightmare to photograph. I nearly missed one block entirely and wouldn't have noticed it if it hadn't been for another couple of WW2 defence enthusiasts turning up whilst I was there. I'm a bit puzzled as to exactly which buildings were the gun houses. Various information online suggests they're building 4, but for this to be the case, the guns would have had to be mounted on top. I climbed onto the roof and the walls were flush, so there hasn't been a higher curtain wall removed and the roof didn't seem anywhere near substantial enough to support firing guns :question: I'm inclined to think that building 2 is one gun house and that another is either buried even further in the undergrowth or removed, unless anyone can tell me otherwise?

Battery observation post

The 3rd floor is still intact, but the second has gone which, disappointingly, means you can't climb to the top.





Building 1


Disconcerting bend in the roof, suggesting the concrete is starting to fail, but it doesn't show up particularly well in the photo!


Building 2


Entrance blast wall has collapsed, but steps remain up the side to gun position on the roof.


Building 3

On the opposite side of the tower, was all but invisible beneath undergrowth. Inside, the roof has corrugations from construction.


Building 4


Trough in floor and a channel for something. In the left hand wall, there's a square cutout, which lines up exactly with an identical one in the opposite alcove?




Any expert insights much appreciated!
 

HypoBoy

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Hopefully I can get up there to compare the two sometime soon. I would have headed up that way this weekend, but having to fit exploring around other things. Took a mad dash up to this place mid afternoon, but did find time to come home via a few nice type 23s :)



I love pillboxes. Apparently I'm not alone :lol:

 

Foxylady

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Excellent stuff, Hypo. I haven't seen this one before and I love the quirky door and windows. :)
I've no knowledge about the use of the cut-out squares, but I would guess that some sort of beam was supported between them, although I've no idea why!
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Various information online suggests they're building 4, but for this to be the case, the guns would have had to be mounted on top. I climbed onto the roof and the walls were flush, so there hasn't been a higher curtain wall removed and the roof didn't seem anywhere near substantial enough to support firing guns :question: I'm inclined to think that building 2 is one gun house and that another is either buried even further in the undergrowth or removed, unless anyone can tell me otherwise!

Building 2 in the report is the close defense block house, and building 4 is the magazine. The rectangular niches are for magazine lamps, the photograph is of one end of the magazine room - the magazine is divided in half by a partial blast wall, the other end being a mirror image of the one illustrated. Buildings 1 and 3 are the gun houses, the 6" guns indeed being mounted on the roofs.

The site was well overgrown in the 1960s, so I am not surprised by its state now.
 

HypoBoy

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Cheers Dirus. I presume from the way you've said that you visited in the 60s?

I'm even more curious about the magazine now. It obviously had some sort of beam across between the two wall cutouts, but I really can't make sense of the grooves in the floor?
 

HypoBoy

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I went there thinking I'd suss the place out for a revisit with a folding ladder, but I'd underestimated how high the 3rd floor is inside. Photos really don't give an accurate impression.



The only way I can see that you'd get up there is by chucking a weighted rope up through the front observation slot in the hope it drops down through the hatch inside. Would probably take a fair amount of patience to achieve, but I bet the view's amazing :)
 

Black Shuck

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I went there thinking I'd suss the place out for a revisit with a folding ladder, but I'd underestimated how high the 3rd floor is inside. Photos really don't give an accurate impression.



The only way I can see that you'd get up there is by chucking a weighted rope up through the front observation slot in the hope it drops down through the hatch inside. Would probably take a fair amount of patience to achieve, but I bet the view's amazing :)

Hypo mate are you around in Norfolk today at all?
 

jonney

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nice one hypo great site nice to see the shelving still intact in the type 23
 

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