Record Details

NHER Number:42473
Type of record:Monument
Name:World War Two Emergency Coastal Battery at Gorleston Golf Links

Summary

The World War Two Emergency Coastal Battery, known as the Links Battery, is visible on aerial photographs at the far end of Marine Parade at the Gorleston Golf Links. The Coastal Battery site was constructed in 1940 and consists of a pair of large gun houses for 6-inch guns, coastal artillery searchlights and associated coastal and perimeter defences. The bungalows and seaside villas on Cliff Lane were all requisitioned and incorporated into the military site. This battery was retained for post-war use and was still armed with 6 inch guns in August 1947, as Great Yarmouth was still considered a potential future invasion point and at risk from destructive attacks.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 52936 01945
Map Sheet:TG50SW
Parish:GREAT YARMOUTH, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK
HOPTON ON SEA, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK

Full description

February 2006. Norfolk NMP.
The World War Two Emergency Coastal Battery, known as the Links Battery, is visible on aerial photographs at the far end of Marine Parade at the Gorleston Golf Links (S1)-(S10). The site is centred on TG 5299 0194. The Coastal Battery site was constructed in 1940 and consists of a pair of large gun houses for 6-inch naval guns, coastal artillery searchlights and associated coastal and perimeter defences. The main gun emplacements get rebuilt from sandbags to concrete in 1941 (S3). The bungalows and seaside villas on Cliff Lane were all requisitioned and incorporated into the military site (S11), which was manned by the ‘A’ and ‘227’ batteries of the 514th regiment (S12). During the coastal artillery reductions of 1943 onwards the Links Battery continued in operation as a ‘close defence battery’ and was manned by regular troops, until February 1945 when the battery is listed as the guns and lights being placed on ‘care and maintenance’ (S13). This ensured that the battery could be used at relatively short notice, but was not on constant alert. This battery was also retained for post-war use and was still armed with 6-inch guns in August 1947, as Yarmouth was still considered a potential future invasion point and at risk from destructive attacks (S14). Some structural components of this battery are still visible in 1965 (S9), but all have been removed by 1978 (S10).

In August 1940 (S2) the battery consists of two half-decahedron gun houses, centred on TG 5307 0205. These early casemates consisted of a steel framework covered with sandbags (S11). Behind each of these emplacements is a semi-circular arrangement of earthen mounds, all quite angular and approximately 4m across and each with a slit trench cut on the landward side. It seems likely that these mounds covered small structures, such as the gun magazines, or covered shelters. In-between the two gun houses is a circular structure, 5m in diameter and possibly constructed from sandbags, as it has a similar colour and texture to the casemates. The function of this central feature is not certain, it possibly a gun emplacement for close defence.

In 1940 a variety of slit trenches have been dug around the site, in particular in the central area in-between the bungalows on Cliff Lane (S2). Two trenches have also been cut all along in front of the houses on Links Lane. A short zigzag section trench as been dug in front of each house. A slit trench has also been dug from TG 5302 0198 to TG 5302 0203. This runs from Cliff Lane to a rectangular structure, measuring 5m by 4.5m. A stretch of zigzag trench runs along the top of the low cliffs to the south of the battery from TG 5310 0173 to TG 5311 0175. This terminates at a rectangular concrete structure set back from the cliff edge, measuring 5.5m by 4m. This is probably a pillbox or gun emplacement and it gets removed in-between February 1941 and 1944. At TG 5305 0198 is a rectangular concrete structure, 6m by 7m. This appears to be surrounded by a blast wall, which also enclosing taller and possibly camouflaged structure. Unfortunately very little detail can be seen of this on the 1940 oblique aerial photographs (S1), although it seems likely that it is the Battery Observation Post (BOP) or possibly even related to the radar component of the battery. The later BOP associated with the second phase of the Coastal Battery is located 40m to the south, see below, and this earlier structure gets modified or possibly completely rebuilt.

Number 96 Links Lane has possibly also had a blast wall constructed around it, suggesting that the building is being used for an operational activity. A further blast wall enclosed structure, measuring 6m by 4m, is located at the end of Links Lane at TG 5306 0187 (S2). Although it is hard to be certain the majority of the structures located at the western end of Cliff Lane appear to be military in origin. These include a variety of rectangular structures, both pitched and flat roofed, many of which have been placed along the edges of the roads, boundaries and gardens. A number of small flat-roofed rectangular structures are visible against the rear boundary of houses on northern side of Cliff Lane (S3) and (S7). These are likely to have been surface shelters. Two earth covered structures are visible and these have been interpreted as air raid shelters, One is located on the edge of the golf course at TG 5282 0187 which is rectangular with a clear entrance and rear vent. This is still visible in 1965 (S8), although it has since been removed. Another shelter of a similar design is located in the middle of Cliff Lane at TG 5296 0193.

In early 1941 the battery gets almost completely rebuilt (S1), with concrete structures replacing the earlier casemates and sandbagged structures. The construction work is taking place on the February 1941 aerial photographs (S3). The battery was of a nucleated design, with the guns, magazines and shelters all linked. The casemates were rebuilt in brick and concrete, 10m across, with a conjoined rectangular shelter on each side, plus two integral and conjoined hexagonal pillboxes, 5.5m across, were constructed on the rear to hold light anti-aircraft guns to protect the site from rear attack (S15). The gun houses look in 1944-5 like they have been camouflaged as pitched roof structures (S7). A plan of the Links Battery (S16) illustrates a considerable range of underground structures were attached to the guns. These consisted of a series of separate cartridge and shell stores, shelters and a boiler house. A few components of these structures are visible on the aerial photographs, mainly the central stores and boiler house at TG 5305 0205. The rear suite of magazines is only indicated by a regular array of small raised and concrete blocks visible projecting out of the ground behind the guns, plus two larger concrete rectangular features, one at either end, these may have been entrances. These are presumably air vents for the underground structures. Also visible to the immediate south of both of the gun houses is a circular gun platform or apron, which appear to be additional to the main naval gun emplacements. [1] states that the armament of the Links battery was increased at some stage by two 40mm Bofors and a 25-pounder field gun (S11). So it is possible that these secondary large gun platforms were for these additional guns, although these would be excessively large emplacements for Bofors guns.

The BOP associated with this later phase of the battery is located at TG 5308 0195 (S11). This consists of large square concrete structure, 7.5m across. In 1944-5 this appears to be partially camouflaged or earth revetted, with a several projecting features, including a circular tower, probably an observation tower or mounting for radar. A similarly sized and shaped flat-roofed concrete structure is located to the immediate south at TG 5308 0189, this is also likely to have been a BOP, as many sites had one radar BOP and another visual BOP. The coast artillery searchlights (CASL) for the battery are located at TG 5306 0215 and at TG 5311 0181. Both consist of a rectangular structure, measuring 6m by 3.5m, which is set into the cliff face and accessed from a chamber at the rear and a set of a stairs down the side led to the front face. Both searchlights are surrounded by a system of barbed wire obstructions. The northern searchlight appears to have a trench, possibly cut for a cable, running from it’s rear to a rectangular concrete structure 20m to the southwest. This measures 2.5m square and may have been a generator or engine room for the lights.

In addition to all the main coastal guns are a series of smaller and more temporary gun emplacements all along the cliff edge, these are probably all for light anti-aircraft (LAA) guns and for close defence. An example of these features can be found at TG 5306 0213. At the southern end of the site, centred on TG 5310 0186, is a group of larger gun emplacements positioned on the slope of the cliffs. These consist of semi-circular concrete gun bases, 5m across, one of which is surrounded by a wide earthen embankment. These all post-date February 1941 (S3), but do not look like they have been in recent use in any of the 1944 aerial photographs. The whole perimeter of the battery is enclosed with barbed wire obstructions, and to the south this barbed wire continues and meets up with the coastal defences recorded under NHER 42262. Barbed wire and beach scaffolding also protect the beach and cliffs in front of the battery, see NHER 42358 for details. Centred on TG 5280 0185 in 1944 is an area of ‘pitted’ ground. It seems unlikely that this is a minefield as it surrounds an air raid shelter, also the regular grid usually associated with minefield sites is not visible. It is therefore possible that this is an area of weapons pits created as part of military training, although again their appearance is not completely consistent with these types of features. Similar groups of pits are visible across the whole golf links, see NHER 42485 for discussion of these areas.
S. Massey (NMP), 7 February 2006.

Monument Types

  • AIR RAID SHELTER (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • ANTI AIRCRAFT BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BARBED WIRE OBSTRUCTION (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BATTERY OBSERVATION POST (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • BLAST WALL (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • CLOSE DEFENCE BATTERY (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • COAST ARTILLERY BATTERY (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)
  • GENERATOR HOUSE? (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)
  • 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)
  • MINEFIELD? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PILLBOX (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PRACTICE TRENCH (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)
  • WEAPONS PIT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. RAF 2A/BR190 13-15 18-AUG-1940 (NMR).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1940. NMR TG 5201/29 (MSO 31029 2/BR172 4621) 04-SEP-1940.
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1941. RAF 268F/BR172 10-15 10-FEB-1941 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF 106G/LA/27 4055-6 05-AUG-1944 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF 106G/LA/34 3003-4 15-AUG-1944 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/726 5201-2 26-AUG-1945 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/778 6005-7 08-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1965. MAL 65029 002-3 11-APR-1965 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1965. OS/65054 087-8 30-APR-1965 (NMR).
<S10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1978. OS/78106 029-30 19-JUN-1978 (NMR).
<S11>Publication: Kent, P. 1988. Fortifications of East Anglia. pp 218-220.
<S12>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 2000. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. Vol. VI.2 Coast Artillery 1900-56.. p 310.
<S13>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 2000. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. Vol. VI.2 Coast Artillery 1900-56.. p 327.
<S14>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 2000. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. Vol. VI.2 Coast Artillery 1900-56.. p 210.
<S15>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 2000. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. Vol. VI.1 Coast Artillery 1900-56.. p 98.
<S16>Serial: Dobinson, C.S.. 2000. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. Vol. VI.1 Coast Artillery 1900-56.. figure 22.

Related records - none

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