Record Details

NHER Number:27292
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two training site on Sea Palling beach

Summary

An area of World War Two structures and earthworks associated with training exercises are visible on aerial photographs on the beach at Sea Palling. The site consists of discontinuous line of earthwork banks, presumably constructed from sand, on top of some of which are several lines of gun emplacements. A possible track may also be visible along which either guns or targets move, running behind the banks. Several possible pillboxes were also identified projecting out of the dunes. A variety of other military structures were also visible, although many of them are too indistinct to discern their function. Other World War Two coastal defences were recorded within this area (NHER 27356, 32644, 25958).

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 41790 28542
Map Sheet:TG42NW
Parish:LESSINGHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

September 2005. Norfolk NMP.
An area of World War Two structures and earthworks associated with training exercises are visible on aerial photographs on the beach at Sea Palling (S1-S7). The site consists of discontinuous line of earthwork banks, presumably constructed from sand, on top of some of which are several lines of gun emplacements. A possible track may also be visible along which either guns or targets move, running behind the banks. Several possible pillboxes were also identified projecting out of the dunes. A variety of other military structures are visible, although many of them are too indistinct to discern their function, especially those only visible in 1946 (S6-S7).

The training site covers a strip, just over 750m, along the beach at Sea Palling running from TG 4145 2878 to TG 4203 2829 and centred on TG 4175 2857. However due to the nature of the topography and the oblique aerial photographs angle of the aerial photographs all features were sketched plotted using other shoreline structures as an indicator of position, rather than rectifying all of the oblique aerial photographs showing the features. Therefore the exact size and location of some of the features is uncertain.

The elongated banks of sand and the associated guns and temporary structures are only visible in the oblique aerial photographs from 1940 (S1-S5). The mounds vary in length from around 11m to 55m, all are between 6-9m wide. The long axis of the mounds is aligned along the beach. At the eastern end of the chain of banks is what appears to be a possible track may also be visible along which either guns or targets move, running behind the banks. Although the structure is quite obscured by the banks in front when viewed in the oblique aerial photographs. A gun is located at the end of the possible track. A second possible gun is partially visible situated behind one of the banks to the west, although the gun barrel is not actually visible and the structure may perform a different function. In the vicinity of these features in 1946 (S6) is a pair of features located at TG 4199 2835, which although partially obscured by sand deposits, appear to consist of a central posts, surrounded by an array of lower features, which may have formed part of a supporting structure. It is possible that these remaining components relate to the guns visible in the earlier aerial photographs.

Another group of guns are set on top of the mounds, at TG 4175 2856 is a chain of three guns, clearly visible on (S2), these guns are all mounted out to sea and therefore indicate anti-aircraft and anti-invasion training exercises, possibly involving moving targets out at sea. A group of unidentifiable structures or features were located on the beach around this location in 1946 (S6). These could not be seen clearly enough to identify them definitely as military origin (given the date they could be post-war features), however they could be structural remains or components of the guns visible in 1940. Further to the west at TG 4168 2866 is another structure visible in 1946 (S6) that cannot clearly be seen. Nothing is visible at this located in the earlier wartime aerial photographs, although it is possible that it is military also. Also visible in 1940 centred on TG 4168 2866 is an area of area of either gun barrels, or possibly logs, lying on the beach. These look like they have been dragged around the beach, in-between the banks. To the eastern edge of the site, running from TG 4203 2829 to TG 4192 2838, is a line of small structures which appear to have been built either into or onto the sand dunes. Very little of the structures can be seen, although it seems likely that formed part of the beach defences. The larger structures within the group, the two easternmost structures, appear to be more substantial and may represent gun emplacements or pillboxes. These features cannot be identified on the 1940 oblique aerial photographs, although its is likely that they would have been camouflaged. One possible rectangular pillbox is visible projecting out of the dune face at TG 4185 2845. A further possible gun emplacement or pillbox is visible in 1946 (S6) at TG 4156 2869. The structure is partially obscured and hard to discern fully, although it does appear to have height and shadow. It is quite near to another group of defences, including a pillbox and associated structures (NHER 32644).

A pair of low towers are also visible in 1940 at TG 4162 2869 and TG 4182 2853, both of situated to the side of a groyne (S2). These function of these are unknown and although they may be related to the training activity on the beach, they could equally be some sort of shoreline markers or possibly related to lifesaving or monitoring the beach.
S. Massey (NMP), 23 September 2005.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BUTTS (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • COASTGUARD TOWER? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • TARGET (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • TOWER? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4128/20 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/1 4848) 19-SEP-1940.
<S2>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4128/21 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/1 4849) 19-SEP-1940.
<S3>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4128/22 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/15 4850) 19-SEP-1940.
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4128/23 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/15 4851) 19-SEP-1940.
<S5>Oblique Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 4128/24 (MSO 31022 26/BR14/15 4852) 19-SEP-1940.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1634 3097-9 09-JUL-1946 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1952. RAF 540/690 5036-7 11-MAR-1952 (NMR).

Related records - none

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