Record Details

NHER Number:29751
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery at Decoy Farm, Mautby

Summary

Extant remains of a World War Two heavy anti aircraft battery are visible on contemporary and later aerial photographs. This site, known as YH4, was one of a group of heavy anti aircraft (HAA) batteries positioned to protect Great Yarmouth. Four HAA guns of unknown type were located in square concrete emplacements at the eastern end of the site. These were arranged in an arc around a command post building. Both the gun emplacements and the command post are still extant. The domestic site associated with the battery was located at the western end of the site. This included a range of buildings all of which have been demolished. A sewage plant was also located on the south side of the site adajcent to an existing drain.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 4867 1094
Map Sheet:TG41SE
Parish:MAUTBY, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

Gun position.
Details obscure - apparent anti-aircraft gun position, also said to be control centre for other guns along the coast. Airstrip for light aircraft may have been included.
Information from Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum.
E. Rose (NLA) 17 May 1993.

World War Two anti-aircraft artillery.
D. Gurney (NLA) 28 January 1997.

See NIAS survey on fiche which notes buildings, bunkers etc still there. (S1).

June 1946.
RAF aerial photographs shows structures in situ. (S2).
B. Cushion (NLA), 9 July 1999. (S5)

The NSAM description seems to be based on the NIAS fiche (S1) which should be consulted. Latter shows there were Nissen huts to the west and an apparent gun position now removed between the road and the remaining buildings. The central command post is used by a gun club in 2004. Its iron door has a central pipe. The surrounding positions are still as described by NIAS; the underground shelters are full of old beds. Note the appendix to the NIAS report that suggests the central spigot on the command post was a Predictor, not a gun and that the trenches to the central spigots in the bunkers were for electric cables to direct the guns (not drains, as in the original NIAS report). A letter from the Imperial War Museum saying this is a unique structure perhaps connected with building invasion craft seems to have been superceded by (S3).
None of the references note the very large bank of sand to the east, behind a ditch from which it was presumably dug, containing a flowing stream. This is presumably a defence against low flying aircraft.
E. Rose (NLA), 16 February 2004.

Correspondence in file.

September 2005. Norfolk NMP.
Extant remains of a World War Two heavy anti aircraft battery are visible on contemporary and later aerial photographs (S2, S4-6). The central grid reference for this site has been adjusted from TG 4863 1094 to TG 4867 1095. This site, known as YH4, was one of a group of heavy anti aircraft (HAA) batteries positioned to protect Great Yarmouth. The type of guns that this site was equipped with and the exact date that it was established are not known. The earliest documentary references to this battery appear to date to 15 January 1946 (S3). However, it is possible that it was operational by 1942 (S7) and the earliest available aerial photographs date to September 1945 (S4). The site is more clearly visible on aerial photographs dating to July 1946 (S2).
The site occupies a roughly rectangular plot within which three distinct areas can be identified. It is located to the east of Decoy Farm at Mautby on the edge of the higher ground just to the north of the River Bure marshland. The gun emplacements and command post are located at the eastern end of the site. The four gun emplacements are located in an arc around the command post, which is centred on TG 4879 1095. Each gun emplacement comprises a 13m square enclosure with concrete walls surrounded by a protective earth bank. One corner of each emplacement is open to allow access. Internally, a rectangular store or magazine is located on each wall of the emplacement. A further rectangular structure is located adjacent to the entrance of each emplacement on the outside of the wall. A 5m square area in the centre of each emplacement provided the mounting for the gun. A detailed description of the form of the emplacements is given in the NIAS report on this site (S1). The command post building is low, roughly rectangular building with a flat concrete roof. Access to two open areas, for the predictor and height finder equipment, is located on the eastern side of the building. The command post was located in the middle of a teardrop shaped access road that served each of the gun emplacements on its eastern side. Three buildings of unknown function were located at the western end of this loop of road around TG 4875 1094. An area of disturbed soil was present to the east of the site at TG 4888 1089 in September 1945 (S4). It is possible that this was the remains of a weapons pit or a similar gun emplacement for the ground defence of the site.
The domestic buildings associated with the gun battery were located at the western end of the site. A total of 24 buildings were present to the north and south of the access road and were centred on TG 4853 1096. The majority of these were pitched roofed buildings on concrete bases. A curved profile building, probably a Nissen hut with a 24 foot span, was located at TG 4850 1094. A water tower was located on the western side of the domestic site at TG 48470 10995. A third group of buildings was present around TG 4867 1091 between the domestic site and the gun emplacements. A circular concrete structure with an 11m diameter and a cross-shaped structure in its centre was located on the south site of this group at TG 4868 1089. This was connected on its northwest side to an 8m by 7m rectangular pit by a gully. These features were positioned at the foot of the slope adjacent to a drainage ditch and are likely to be the settling tank and filter bed of a sewage plant associated with the battery.
In July 1946 all of the buildings at the site were still standing and the presence of vehicles indicates that the site was still in use (S2). By March 1955 the buildings associated with the sewage plant and most of the buildings at the domestic site had been demolished revealing their concrete bases (S7). All of the buildings at the domestic site were subsequently demolished, but the gun emplacements and command post remain extant. The surviving remains at the site are surrounded by trees and are not visible on aerial photographs dating to after 1981 (S6).
Previous descriptions of this site refer to a possible airstrip visible on the 1946 aerial photographs (S1). Although a rectangular strip of different length grass is present along the northern side of the site in 1946 (S2), this was not present in September 1945 (S4) and is unlikely to be an airstrip. The earthwork bank to the east of the site also referred to in an earlier description of the site appears on the 1945 and 1946 aerial photographs (S2, S4) to be a bank associated with the drainage ditch along the site boundary. It does not seem to have any significant relationship with the battery itself. The Mautby HAA battery was located 1.7km to the west of HAA Battery YH1 at West Caister (NHER 27272).
J. Albone (NMP), 21 September 2005

Monument Types

  • ANTI AIRCRAFT BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • ANTI AIRCRAFT BATTERY COMMAND POST (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY CAMP (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SEWAGE WORKS (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: Kent, P.. 1995. KHJ 11-14.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Fiche: Exists.
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 2031-2 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 4810A-B).
<S3>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 1996. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England.. Vol I.3, p 489.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/859 3087 29-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1955. RAF 58/1674 (F21) 337-8 04-MAR-1955 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1981. OS/81029 49-50 22-JUN-1981.
<S7>Publication: Tooke, C.. 2004. West Caister. p 33.

Related records - none

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