Removal of wartime pillbox sparks sadness
- 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 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.
"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."
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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."
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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."
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.
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.