Removal of wartime pillbox sparks sadness

A pillbox on Kelling beach in north Norfolk is being removed after it suffered damage. 

A pillbox on Kelling beach in north Norfolk is being removed after it suffered damage. - Credit: Andrew-Paul Jones

The removal of a Second World War pillbox on the north Norfolk coast has sparked sadness. 

The brick-and-concrete structure on Kelling beach, west of Sheringham, is being taken away by North Norfolk District Council contractors after it suffered deterioration over winter. 

A pillbox on Kelling beach in north Norfolk is being removed after it suffered damage. 

A pillbox on Kelling beach in north Norfolk is being removed after it suffered damage. - Credit: Andrew-Paul Jones

A council spokesman said they did not take the removal of such objects lightly given their historical importance, but the pillbox in question was deemed to pose a risk to public health.

The spokesman said: "The condition of the pill box was brought to us by a local community group who were concerned as to the risks it posed to public safety.

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: D

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"After inspection of the pillbox, we deemed the structure to be unsafe and consulted with all relevant statutory bodies, all of which were satisfied with the removal of the remains as they posed significant potential risk to the public and beachgoers."


You may also want to watch:


Andrew-Paul Jones, from nearby Holt, saw the removal in process when he was out walking with his wife and dog. 

Mr Jones said: "I was saddened to see it happening. It would be a shame if an exploring child was injured or worse from the unsafe structure, but maybe it could have been made safe in some kind of way."

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: D

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Most Read

Mr Jones said he had been in the armed forces for 31 years, and Britain's wartime heritage, symbolised by such structures, was part of the reason he chose to serve.

He said: "I have very fond memories of being a child armed with a stick machine gun and a pebble hand grenade, fighting off the German onslaught, living up to Winston Churchill's promise of 'we will fight them on the beaches'. Sadly this will be lost now for generations to come."

Inside the World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Pic

Inside the World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The council said the removal was being carried out in partnership with Natural England, Historic England, Norfolk Historic Environment Service and the Norfolk Coast Partnership.

During the war, thousands of pillboxes and other types of fortifications were constructed around England as part of anti-invasion preparations.

The Kelling pillbox was the most common type - hexagonal structures built to be bulletproof, with 30cm thick walls, cut-outs suitable for rifles or light machine guns and a ‘Y’ shaped wall inside to deflect ricocheting fire.

Inside the World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Pic

Inside the World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: D

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Inside the World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Pic

Inside the World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: D

The World War Two pillbox which was broken up in the last storms, lying on Kelling beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus