Record Details

NHER Number:34550
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two searchlight battery at Ouse Lane

Summary

A World War Two searchlight battery, pillbox and associated structures are visible on aerial photographs to the south of Hickling village, within the former playing field and alongside what is now Ouse Lane. The cookhouse, a store and an ammunition store are still standing. This searchlight battery replaced an earlier site located at Eastfield Farm, Hickling (NHER 34549).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 4112 2296
Map Sheet:TG42SW
Parish:HICKLING, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

July 1946. RAF aerial photograph.
Shows trefoil form of circular enclosure of searchlight battery, with another circular mark 30m to North.
Height OD. 3m.

THE CENTRAL NGR OF THIS SITE HAS BEEN MOVED FROM TG 4120 2298 TO TG 4111 2296 DUE TO THE SITE BEING EXTENDED DURING NMP MAPPING.

March 2005. Norfolk NMP.
A World War Two searchlight battery, pillbox and associated structures is visible on aerial photographs to the south of Hickling village, alongside Ouse Lane (S1), (S2) and (S3). The main site is centred on TG 4120 2299, although the entire site, including outlying buildings is centred on TG 4111 2296. The defensive site consists of a trio of large circular emplacements centred on TG 4119 2298 and a further fourth emplacement, 26m to the north at TG 4119 2304. This searchlight battery is thought to have been constructed in late 1939 or early 1940 (S4). This searchlight battery replaces an earlier site located at Eastfield Farm, Hickling, over 2.5km to the north east (NHER 34549). The original searchlight site proved awkward for lorry and equipment access and was moved to Ouse Lane.

The northern emplacement of the cluster is the most elaborately constructed, with two sets of embankments surrounding it. The inner banks are 2 to 3m wide and the outer banks up to 5m across. A small circular structure is visible within the centre in 1945 (S1) and has gone by 1946 (S2). This wide outer bank continues around to form the trefoil shape of the three emplacements. This is continuous other than the gap to the north, associated with the trackway leading to the northern structure. A further small circular central structure is visible within the western emplacement. Surrounding the southern embankments are several wide hollows, presumably borrow pits for the construction. The eastern emplacement has a pronounced ‘lemon’ shape, rather than being round. It also has a slot cut into the bank, possibly relating to a former magazine structure. The differing construction of these three emplacements is likely to reflect the different uses of each. The site would have had a several searchlights, a predictor and light anti-aircraft gun emplacements, Lewis machine guns were used at the site (S4), p9. A rectangular structure is present to the immediate south of the group, this may have housed the generator of other operational equipment.

The northern earthwork is set back from the trio of emplacements and its earthworks are not as clearly defined as the others. In 1945 the interior of the circular emplacement has a raised appearance and the surrounding emplacement is visible as a lighter band. However no stereo pair is available for the 1945 aerial photograph and therefore this could be optical illusion. In stereo in 1946, it looks like an outer banks and slightly sunken interior, this would make more sense and mirrors the construction of the three southern emplacements. The exterior bank appears to be wide, up to 5m in places, and low, with an entrance to the south.

A type 22 pillbox is located on the eastern side of Ouse Lane at TG 4126 2304. The shape of the structure is very hard to discern in 1946 (S2), indicating that it is partially covered with earth or camouflaged. However in 1955 (S3) the structure can clearly be seen to be hexagonal.

There are a number of rectangular structures dotted around the battery, with two main groups of buildings located either side of the entrance to the site from Ouse Lane. The majority of these appears to be concrete and mostly with flat roofs. In between some of these northern structures and the hedge is a possible rectangular structure located at TG 4123 2305. This feature cannot clearly be discerned due to the shadow caused by the surrounding structures, but it appears to possibly have a semi-circular slot or feature in or on its roof. Two of these rectangular structures near the entrance still remain (S5), centred on TG 4123 2303. These are believed to be the remains of the cookhouse and the store (S4) p5. An additional outlying rectangular structure is visible at TG 4098 2291 within the corner of the playing field (S2). This structure was used as an ammunition store and still survives.
S. Massey (NMP), 29 March 2005.

Monument Types

  • COOKHOUSE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MACHINE GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MAGAZINE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MUNITION HOUSE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SEARCHLIGHT BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. [unknown].
<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/832 4197 23-SEP-1945 (NHER TG 4223A).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 4098-9 09-JUL-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 4022A-B).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1955. RAF 82/1214 (F21) 0357-8 06-JUN-1955 (NMR).
<S4>Publication: Vincent, B.. 2001. Light Up the Sky.

Related records

34549Related to: World War Two searchlight battery at Eastfield Farm (Monument)

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