Welcome to my series called ‘Night Bunkers.
What started off as a 3rd year University project has now become a passion.
For my 3rd year dissertation piece I started off with photographing the occasional pillbox and bunker in Norfolk, as my theme developed I found I was driving over 500 miles over 2 nights around East Anglia to document all the WW2 structures that I find interesting in both location and appearance. I photograph them during the night and dusk or dawn so I get to see these structures at a time you would not normally visit.
It is my way of saying thank you to all those men and women who looked over us and were prepared to be on the front line had an invasion of Great Britain happened all those years ago.
It is now 72 years since the end of the war so to I pay tribute in my own way I have started to mark out and plan long weekends away to enable shooting the whole of the UK coastline to document all the different types of defences, whether they be pillbox, bunkers, airfields, Navy ports or old army barracks.
All the information I have provided has been found online and is as accurate as what I have read and I would like to thank the support of the Pillbox study group. The coordinates for each location are provided by Google earth
Happisburgh Gun Battery.
The remains of a World War Two 4.7 inch Coastal Battery gun house now only a few meters from the cliff edge. This is the structure on the left as you look out to sea.
A type 22 pillbox. This is one of the 3 original and remaining 2 pillboxes built to help defend the battery that was also surrounded with Barbed Wire
Happisburgh Gun Battery.
The remains of a World War Two 4.7 inch Coastal Battery gun house now only a few meters from the cliff edge. This is the structure on the right as you look out to sea and has the entrance to part to one of the tunnels contained in it
Happisburgh Lighthouse Pillbox
Positioned very close to the lighthouse and just on the edge of the village and on a slight hill this was placed to give a lot of protection to the area and also the other 6 inch battery that was located near by but there is no longer a trace of the structure.
RAF Ludham airfield watch office
Opened to flying in November 1941, Spitfires of 152 squadron began to make daily use of the airfield. It was used by lots of RAF squadrons over three years but none stayed for very long. The station closed to flying operations in July 1943
RAF Ludham airfield watch tower
After its closure by the RAF in 1943 the base underwent upgrades to its hard standings and runways to become a operational American base, but nothing ever happened other than it being opened by a skeleton crew that gave support to American bombers returning from missions overseas. Being one of the first airfields the pilots would see on the return home it saw it’s fair share of emergency landings or crashes on the airfield or in nearby fields.
A type 22 pillbox. Positioned to protect Beccles airfield from attack on the ground
A type 22 Pillbox positioned opposite the Norwich Gates of Sennowe Hall. Positioned at the crest of the hill overlooking the village.
Lenwade ROC post
Part of the royal observer corps network of monitoring posts. This one was built in September 1962 and closed in October 1968. The remainder of the posts were closed in 1991 following the breakup of the communist block. Now this just sits in a field piled high with wood and water logged.
52°43’41.83″N 1° 5’17.14″E
Type 22 pillbox positioned up in the woods a few hundred meters from the road
52°37’36.86″N 1° 9’46.16″E
The main transmitter hall located a few hundred meters away from the R4 rotary Bunker on the other side of the dual carriageway.
The transmitter generator room located a few hundred meters away from the R4 rotary Bunker.
Suffolk Square type pillbox that was built by 558 Field Company Royal Engineers, based at Theberton Hall. Records show there were thousands of pillboxes of various different designs built across the county during the summer of 1940 alone and were placed to protect the tracks on the beach and main roads at the top of the cliffs.
Cley next the sea
Type 27 Pillbox. I can’t find any history on this particular structure. But logic would show that it would have been positioned to protect the nearby Battery just down the marsh at Blakeny Point.
52°57’53.51″N 1° 3’3.13″E
Gunton in the woods
A Suffolk Square type pillbox located in the woods near to the main roads that takes you to the beachfront so it would have most likely played a role in protecting that.
Caister on Sea
Type 24 pillbox although it has got characteristics of other styles of pillbox, that when inside you can see that it was fully kitted out for heavy machine guns and this would have been part of the coastal defence and battery defence of the east coast.
Type 22 pillbox that is located just into the field that on the cliff face holds the remains of a now inaccessible battery and the Army coastal base. So this structure would have been placed to protect it from sabotage.
52°56’51.35″N 1° 8’36.82″E
Thurrock at procter and gamble
A Observation post on the Bank of the Thames estuary. Unfortunately it has now just become wasteland after the old power station closed and was demolished.
Thurrock at the QE2 bridge
Observation post on the Bank of the Thames estuary that is now looking over the Dartford crossing, while every year a new bit of spray paint covers the shell of the structure.
Bawdsey POW Tower
Bawdsey battery observation post is in a remote location but great to see and is one of the finest preserved examples of its kind and unfortunately the metal frame with ‘Prisoners of War’ is an addition by a post-war artist and the internal ladders have been cut away and the bottom floor is flooded.
52° 0’32.41″N 1°25’58.44″E