View Full Version : Pill Boxes?

tony draper
16th Sep 2005, 21:32
Watched a facinating documentry about the preparations for the expected invasion in 1940 on UK History,loads of beach defences,tank traps pill boxes ect, we used to holiday on the Durham coast when one was a sprog, and there were loads of stuff like that still around,barbed wire ,tank stops pillboxes, a adventure playground for us kids they were, probably all been cleared away now.
The question I wanted to ask,were these pill boxes perminently manned? just that we never got a sense of any former occupants when we explored them.


Onan the Clumsy
16th Sep 2005, 22:03
I suppose they would have been, even if only by the Home Guard.

We had a couple in Blackpool (to protect us from the Jocks I think) but they're long gone now.

I found an interesting site (searched for bray dunes or brey dunes) that listed the defences Fritz put up against us. and the Maginot Line - some of which is still available for tours.

What I found interesting was the site said things like "Here you can see a perfect example of an M27 type with an extended cupola"

Then it made sense that there would have to be plans and codification.

There's a lot more to having a war than just fighting you know.

16th Sep 2005, 22:10
Used be one near us when I was a kid. Machine gun bracket and slit windows, but the powerful smell of wee discouraged war games.

tony draper
16th Sep 2005, 22:11
Indeed Mr Onan,there is a lot more to it than the fighting, in my case there would have been the running away.

16th Sep 2005, 22:15
Dammit beaten to it by Taildragger.
Looks like the Homeguard drank Special though.

There was some mad bloke on tv a while back who was going round with a GPS mapping the things. Also a great programme about the conctrete listening posts used before radar. Massive big things, they didn't smell of wee though.

tony draper
16th Sep 2005, 22:21
Some of them on the Durham coast must have been on top of the cliffs originally, and over time the cliffs eroded and down they came onto the beach,bloody things had four foot thick concrete walls they will probably outlast the Pyramids.
Alus thunk they would make a great shed if one could gerrem home.

16th Sep 2005, 22:29
Sheds would be a good idea.
They'd make pretty crappy greenhouses.

16th Sep 2005, 22:32
There's a line of four of them down the road from here, I believe they were used as anti aircraft gun mounts, as you said Mr D, the walls are about 3 foot thick, and will probably outlast the pyramids.

Mind you, the last time I visited the pyramids, they didn't stink of p!ss.

Capn Notarious
16th Sep 2005, 22:48
Them pyramids mighty impressive. No cranes used. Designers were the fore fathers of today's shed men.

16th Sep 2005, 23:39
What was the need for pillboxes along canals well inland? :confused:

Surely prior construction of a heavily armoured emplacement for fending off 'attack by narrow boat' is a little unnecessary.
I mean why not just start building the thing when you saw them coming?

Conan the Librarian
17th Sep 2005, 00:00
There are four or five pillboxes along the northern banks of the upper Thames starting here at Lechlade and moving towards Radcot, which is south of BZN. Apparently, they were built as part of "Stop Line Red" whch was hoped to delay any German invasion from reaching the midlands. A few are quite visible to flyers from Brize or Fairford


Burnt Fishtrousers
17th Sep 2005, 00:23
A few are quite visible to flyers from Brize or Fairford

I would suspect most flyers from Brize and Fairford have more pressing agenda than spotting pill boxes

And for those flyers in and out of Heathrow theres a lovely assortment of historical buildings to be had....to the East and to the West..so when traffics a bit light and you havent much to do have a potter about Windsor Castle ..marvellous especially on an autumnal evening when the suns low in the sky and those shadows point directly to 09L:E :ok:

17th Sep 2005, 03:38
We had a concrete air raid shelter at the foot of our garden. I fell off its roof once...that explains it...


17th Sep 2005, 05:31
Sheds are better than Pyramids anyday.

Can't get much junk into a Pyramid.

Then again, a Pyramid in the garden would be great for hiding from the Dragon (as opposed to the Dragon)

(or entombing her :E )

Where'd you buy a Pyramid then?.................Pyramid salesman?

17th Sep 2005, 08:18
There's a rather notable one in the rough ground just before one gets to Dunstanburgh Castle (on the Northumberland coast just a short walk up the coast from Craster). It makes a good photograph with the pill box in the foreground, the North Sea off to the right and the gaunt ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle behind. Very poetic.

tony draper
17th Sep 2005, 08:25
One hopes the ones along the Channel Coast are still in good repair, remember the French are still just 22 miles away.

17th Sep 2005, 10:20
found one in Norway last week - a german one no less. Called Lorelei, it was hidden away in the grounds of a hotel. Spooky as hell.

17th Sep 2005, 11:44
Quite a few around here, as well as anti-tank obstacles and a couple of those underground hidey holes for "stay behind" resistance fighters. Might nip out and take a few piccies tomorrow.

17th Sep 2005, 11:56
There are still some in Bordeaux, last time I was there in the mid 90's. The very large Sandunes on the coast are reclaiming them and starting to topple them into the sea. I believe they tried to blow them up but they are just to well made so they have been left.

Lon More
17th Sep 2005, 12:42
There's one still at the Battle of Britain Museum in Hawkinge which is well worth a visit although you'll have to be quick as it will shortly close for the winter.
Telstar they're all the way along the coast, remnants of the Atlantic Wall. One in Zandvoort, a favourite holiday destination for the Germans, has "Zimmer frei" painted in large letters on it. (well I found it funny)

Ah! Seoul!
17th Sep 2005, 14:06
Take a snoop around this site (http://www.subbrit.org.uk/) for all kinds of wonderful stuff from WWII - and the Cold War, too.

None of the above
17th Sep 2005, 16:48
Herr Draper.........

About twenty years ago I visited an aged relation, now departed this mortal vale of tears, near Whitley Bay. On a trip along the coast (I think north from WB) I remember seeing huge concrete structures built into the cliff face. I assume they had some defence related function and I wondered if they were an early experiment in passive radar or were gun emplacements of some description.
As you mentioned childhood trips to the Durham coast, it occurred to me that you might be able to shed some light on the question for me.


N o t a

PS The memory is a bit rusty so please bear in mind that it could well have been south of Whitley Bay.

17th Sep 2005, 19:05
If you need an interior designer for Pyramids I have an excellent man!


Now - tea anyone?

tony draper
17th Sep 2005, 19:17
One has a vague recollection of a large Naval Gun mounted on such a plaform as you describe Mr above, twas at Tynemouth as I recal.
Twas prolly removed lest some lefty revolutionaries capture it and turn it on the town hall or somesuch.

As I See It
17th Sep 2005, 19:20
Should need further information ref the afforementioned subject then look no further than Pillboxes R us (http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~loebar/) Or should this site not hit the spot then try This (http://www.britarch.ac.uk/projects/dob/research.html) site. Should keep you occupied for minutes:D

None of the above
17th Sep 2005, 19:26
Thanks Mr. D. I'm grateful to you for that.

N o t a

Edited to add:

The cogs have been whirring and on reflection I think that the location in question may have been Blyth:

A bit of Googling has come up with this:

"Decommissioned in 1949, the gun emplacements survive, much as they were when abandoned. Blyth is far from an extraordinary example for all around Britain the defences of the island over the centuries sit on top of each other".

Full story here: http://www.open2.net/coast/line_of_defence3.html

Sorry for slight thread creep, everyone.
Back to you.

Onan the Clumsy
17th Sep 2005, 19:40
Up until the seventies(?) there used to be a metal target in the shape of a low flying aircraft mounted on Cockerham Sands.

...that's ooop North for you lilly livered Southereners. We were grateful mind cos we'd never seen aeroplane. I would 'ave read about them in boooks...if I 'ad any :(

High Wing Drifter
17th Sep 2005, 20:37
I heard/read somewhere that the pill boxes are now listed buildings. Jolly good idea, what better reminder of how dire the situation was at the time.

I too saw the documentary. A cut above the usual dross. Weybourne manor is along one of my cycle routes. I shall have to see if I can get a butchers at the pill box disguised as a folly.