Chipperfield In The Second World War – Pillbox
The alterations to the Dunny Lane road junction opposite Tower Hill Garage have revealed one of Chipperfield’s best kept secrets. The removal of the hedge on the corner has exposed the WW2 pillbox which is now better camouflaged by the grass growing on the top of its once stark concrete roof than it was when built.
A network of 28,000 pillboxes of various sizes and designs was constructed at strategic sites in 1940 as part of Britain’s defences against the threatened invasion by Germany. It is estimated that fewer than 6,000 exist today, so we have a national treasure.
A thickness of 30cms (12 inches) was the accepted minimum bulletproof standard for the concrete shell structure of this type of pillbox. The apertures, or embrasures, at the front of the pillbox were suitable for the firing of rifles or light machine guns.
The Home Guard regularly practised the use of firearms in the field behind Old Barn Cottage and there were soldiers camped in the woods on the Common, so there were trained men available to hold the fort in the pillbox.
Peter Dormer of Tower Hill, who played in the pillbox in the post war years, thinks that the entrance was at the back. Ron Whitbread, who walked past it every day on his way to and from the village school, cannot recall ever seeing it in use. Even when he was an Army Cadet and taking messages from the Home Guard to the ARP hut in Dunny Lane layby, there was never anyone in the pillbox.
So, like the circular concrete anti-tank traps piled up near 14 Dunny Lane, the pillbox
was there as a precautionary measure but fortunately never had to be used for real.
Please contact Mary Nobbs if you have any further information to share about this historical feature.
Tel 01923-269480. email: email@example.com.