SMHS project: Type 24 Pillbox

14 Sep 2013

Following the clearance of the Type 28 pillbox we begun work clearing a neighbouring Type 24 pillbox.

Unfortunately, this one had flooded inside over the years and so one intrepid SMHS member began the onerous task of baling the water out a couple of weeks before the main work commenced.

Type 24 Pillbox

Photograph at right: before and after comparison

It took about three hours to bale out an estimated 3,000 litres of water using a bucket, followed by another three hours of shovelling out mud and eventually mopping the floor down to the bare concrete. This hard work was rewarded by the discovery of a footprint in the foundation slab!

The pillbox itself stands near the edge of some woodland, and was sited to cover a railway bridge that formed part of a defence network known as the GHQ Line. A key aim of our work here was to open up the vegetation and clear the view from the pillbox to its primary target.

Metal detecting around the site revealed some fascinating evidence of construction, in the form of short off-cut lengths of reinforcing bars.

Small trees and overhanging branches were removed to introduce light into the surrounding area and facilitate access around the pillbox.

The matted tangle of moss and ivy was scraped from off the roof; a subsequent visit following heavy rain showed that this clearance had seemingly reduced the amount of moisture on the ceiling inside the pillbox.

A one-metre trench was dug around one corner to reveal the depth and extent of the foundation slab.

Vigorous scrubbing removed the spongy moss growth from the exterior walls, revealing the impression of the wooden shuttering (planks used as a mould, into which the concrete was poured) beneath.

Work on this pillbox is not quite finished; there's still some cleaning up and recording to do, which we hope to complete on our next visit. The data is being used to create a 3D 'virtual reality' model, which is in the course of construction.

Photograph gallery

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