Record Details

NHER Number:32675
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of World War Two coastal battery


A World War Two coastal gun battery and anti invasion defences are visible on aerial photographs taken from 1940-46. This was an emergency coastal defence battery equipped with two 6 inch guns. Anti invasion defences including barbed wire and beach scaffolding surrounded the site. The ablutions block and possibly one other building from the battery survive. A rare hexagonal Type 27 pillbox in front of the sea wall is concealed by concrete cladding.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5307 1028
Map Sheet:TG51SW

Full description

North Denes, Great Yarmouth.
World War Two possible gun battery site.
Ablution building remains.
See record form (S1) and (S2) in file.
D. Gurney (NLA), October 1996.

Is this the same as North Denes World War Two anti aircraft artillery mentioned in (S3)?
D. Gurney (NLA), 28 January 1997.

August 2005. Norfolk NMP.
A World War Two coastal gun battery and anti invasion defences are visible on contemporary and later aerial photographs (S4) to (S14). The central grid reference for this group of defences has been changed from TG 5315 1025 to TG 5308 1026 to reflect the extended area of this site. The coastal gun battery and other anti invasion defences will be discussed separately below but as they overlapped to such an extent it was impossible to record them as individual sites.

The coastal gun battery was centred on TG 5311 1036. The earliest aerial photographs of the site date to 18 August 1940 and show the battery under construction at that time (S4). It was an emergency battery equipped with two 6 inch ex naval guns (S15). The two casemates for the guns were located at the northern end of North Drive at TG 5314 1039 and TG 5314 1034. Typical of batteries of this type the casemates were linked at the rear by underground stores. The rear access to these was located at TG 5312 1036 at the end of a sunken walkway that was covered by camouflage netting (S9). Small rectangular structures located at TG 5314 1023 and TG 5311 1065 were probably the coast defence searchlights associated with the battery. Two rows of flat roofed concrete buildings were being built in August 1940 to the west and southwest of the casemates around TG 5310 1034 and TG 5307 1013 (S4). Three further buildings were located around TG 5310 1046. A row of beach huts was present between TG 5308 1038 and TG 5308 1029 in August and September 1940 (S4) to (S5). It is likely that these had been moved to the site to provide temporary accommodation during the construction work.

By February 1941 the construction of the battery was complete (S6). It was protected on its landward side by extensive barbed wire defences. Two hexagonal type 27 pillboxes had also been constructed to provide ground and light anti aircraft defence for the battery site. The hexagonal form of this pillbox (Type 27/6/X), rather than the more usual octagonal type, is a variant that only occurs at coastal gun battery sites (S16). The first of these was located to the west of the battery at TG 5307 1034. It was surrounded by an earth bank and had its entrance on its eastern side. The second of the type 27 pillboxes was located on the beach with one side built up against the sea wall at TG 5316 1023. This pillbox had an entrance leading down into it from the top of the sea wall on it northwest side.

It was proposed in 1942 that three 5.25 inch guns would be installed at the site to serve a dual coastal defence and anti aircraft role. However, these guns were never installed (S15) and it is possible that this has caused some of the confusion about a heavy anti aircraft battery being located here. An anti aircraft battery was located further to the west at the racecourse site (NHER 27562), although it appears to have had light anti aircraft guns and may not be the site referred to in (S3).

The anti invasion defences at the site, which surrounded the coastal gun battery, formed part of a line of defences that continued further to the north (NHER 27517) and south (NHER 27423). The earliest defences were in place by August 1940 (S4 to S5). These included barbed wire along the beach that formed a wide triangular area in front of the gun battery. Two parallel lines of barbed wire were also present on the landward side of the battery between TG 5299 1020 and TG 5310 1059. On the beach a linear earth or sandbank, measuring up to 9m wide had been placed parallel to the sea wall. The bank was placed 6m out from the sea wall effectively creating a ditch between the two, which was probably intended to serve as a tank trap. The access ramp to the beach at TG 5316 0997 had been cut off from the sea wall, to prevent it being used as an easy route by invading troops. Various defensive structures had been constructed on land by August 1940 (S2-3). A hexagonal pillbox, probably a type 22, was located at TG 5314 1018. Aerial photographs from 1945 show that it was camouflaged with earth and grass on its roof (S7). A curving slit trench was present to the south of this pillbox. A second possible type 22 pillbox was located on the edge of the beach to the north of the gun battery at TG 5312 1054. Four possible bomb craters were present on the western part of the site near the railway line at TG 5296 1031 by August 1940.

By February 1941 additional defences had been constructed at the site (S6). More slit trenches and barbed wire had been positioned to the south of the pillbox on the sea front and further barbed wire had been placed to the south and west of the gun battery. Four weapons pits or gun emplacements, possibly for light anti aircraft guns, were located at TG 5293 1020, TG 5302 1020, TG 5306 1001 and TG 5300 0998. The extent of the defences had altered again by March and April 1944 (S7). New barbed wire had been positioned in the southern part of the site, extending along the north side of the North Denes Middle School on Jellicoe Road at TG 5303 1000 and forming a rectangular enclosure centred on TG 5311 1004. Beach scaffolding had been constructed from the beach at TG 5319 0998 to a point on the southwest side of the gun battery at TG 5305 1019. Further beach scaffolding extended along the western side of the gun battery from TG 5306 1021 to join another section on the beach at TG 5312 1052. With the threat of invasion passed, access to the beach had been restored by this date with a small bridge linking the sea wall and existing ramp at TG 5316 0997 and a temporary access ramp or steps being located at TG 5316 1013 (S7). The full extent of the defences is only clear on low level aerial photographs taken in 1945 (S9). Spigot mortar emplacements were located at TG 53040 10195, TG 53110 10230, TG 53135 10220 and a further two at the ends of a slit trench centred on TG 53080 10055. Also visible on 1945 aerial photographs was a rectangular wire structure measuring 4m by 5m (S10). It was located at TG 5302 1025 and was not clearly visible on earlier aerial photographs. This structure was too high to have simply been a barbed wire fence and appears to have been some kind of radio or radar aerial. It was surrounded by a larger rectangle of barbed wire measuring approximately 13m square.

The site remained substantially complete in July 1946 with only some sections of barbed wire and beach scaffolding having been removed by that date (S11). By April 1952 the gun casemates had been demolished and the majority of the pillboxes and other defences had been removed (S12). The type 27 pillbox located on the beach next to the sea wall appears to have been cased in concrete and left in situ at this date. This rather anomalous roughly triangular bastion still projects from the sea wall at TG 5316 1023 (S14). The complete concealment of this type 27 by the concrete cladding has meant that it had not previously been recorded as a surviving structure. Its existence is important, as hexagonal type 27 pillboxes are rare with only two others surviving in Norfolk at Cley (NHER 23194) and Happisburgh (NHER 16972).

A row of six buildings remained between TG 5307 1009 and TG 5307 1017 in 1952 (S12). By 1988 only the northernmost of these buildings was standing (S13). This building is still extant (S14) and has been identified as an ablutions block by [1] (S1). A second row of four equal sized rectangular buildings also existed between TG 5309 1030 and TG 5310 1037 in 1952. All four of these appear to have survived in 1988, having been joined up into one long building (S13), but they had been demolished by 2002 with only part of the new building remaining (S14). A further structure that was extant in 1952 was an L-shaped building at TG 5309 1044. This building appears to still survive at the southern end of a range of new buildings (S14). However, it is possible that a new building with an identical ground plan was constructed on the foundations of the World War Two building.
J. Albone (NMP), 10 August 2005.

Monument Types

  • ABLUTIONS BLOCK (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • ANTI AIRCRAFT BATTERY? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • ANTI TANK DITCH (ARTIFICIAL) (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BARBED WIRE OBSTRUCTION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BEACH SCAFFOLDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BOMB CRATER (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • COAST ARTILLERY SEARCHLIGHT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • COASTAL BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • EMERGENCY COAST DEFENCE BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • LIGHT ANTI AIRCRAFT BATTERY? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SLIT TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SPIGOT MORTAR EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Smith, R.. 1995. Norfolk Defensive Structures Survey.
<S2>Photograph: Kent, P.. 1995. RDS 69.
<S3>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 1996. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England.. Vol I.3, p 489.
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. RAF 2A/BR190 33-34 18-AUG-1940 (NMR).
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 5310/1 (MSO 31029 2/BR172 4641) 04-SEP-1940.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1941. RAF 268F/BR172 30 10-FEB-1941 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF HLA/694 3113-3114 26-MAR-1944 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF HLA/698 3044-3047 08-APR-1944 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/821 6136-6137 21-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/726 5371-5372 26-AUG-1945 (NMR).
<S11>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 2038-2039 09-JUL-1946 (NHER TG 5210A / TG 5310A).
<S12>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 540/705 5123-5124 09-APR-1952 (NMR).
<S13>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 0998-0999 14-AUG-1988 (NCC 4072-3).
<S14>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Environment Agency. 2002. EA 042 AF/02C/339 7068-7069 22-JUL-2002 (EA).
<S15>Publication: Kent, P. 1988. Fortifications of East Anglia. pp 218-220.
<S16>Article in Serial: Bird, C.. 1991. The Fixed Defences of North and East Norfolk in the Two World Wars.. NIAS Journal. Vol 5 No1, pp 3-34. p 22.

Related records - none

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