Posted: 4 May 2009 22:44
Following my discovery of a platoon locality with a buried HQ, another trip up onto the Downs revealed another locality with an identical buried HQ.
I mentioned previously a war diary entry that hinted a change of position to defend two pieces of the Downs; I'll call them Hill 'A' and Hill 'B'.
Anyhow, a visit to Hill 'A' revealed nothing that I could positively identify to my satisfaction as a battle position and so I trudged up Hill 'B' and began stumbling upon earthworks.
I chanced upon the HQ after a painful journey through a gorse thicket only to find that I could have approached from a different direction across some nice, short, non-scratching grass. The HQ was another buried Anderson shelter as seen before.
Due to nettle growth, I couldn't see how many panels had been used in the HQ and the photo below looking 'inside' didn't help; I'll need to come back once the vegetation has died down.
Again, the HQ has been completely filled in, but a similar arrangement of trenches around it (as seen before) is still evident, but there are a few oddities, including a lop-sided cruciform earthwork which would appear to be a section post, seen in the background of the photo below.
What doesn't make sense is the fact that it's right in the line of fire of the trench in the foreground. The trench is still about 2ft deep, but the cruciform trench has been infilled; perhaps it was dug at a different time - the area did later become part of the South Downs Training Area.
I won't go into too much detail about this locality just now; I haven't done a map of it as such (aside from my field sketch), neither have I fully satisfied myself that all of the earthworks I found date to WW2 or are military.
However, my main reason for hanging fire is that I've been ferreting around my hard drive and have dug up some interesting info on this area that I didn't realise I had...
An air raid shelter for 6-10 persons intended for civilian use. Constructed from panels of heavy-duty corrugated iron, the shelter was to be dug 3 feet into the ground and covered over with spoil. The army also used Andersons as battle headquarters and in the construction of underground posts for Home Guard Auxiliary Units.
A defended locality intended to be held by a platoon.
A defence work (or series of defence works) to be occupied by a section of 8-10 men. A section post might comprise a single pillbox, defended building or trench, or any combination.
A record of events kept by all units from the point of mobilisation. A diary's contents vary enormously from unit to unit; some give detailed entries by the hour on a daily basis while others merely summarise events on a weekly/monthly basis.
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Hibbs, Peter 24 more trenches - and another buried HQ! (2020) Available at: http://wwww.pillbox.org.uk/blog/216626/ Accessed: 10 July 2020
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