Thursday, 17 November 2011

We sleep safe at night

We’re experiencing long and peaceful nights knowing we are so well protected.  It wasn’t always like this with unfamiliar noises causing broken and sleepless nights.  However everything changed with the onset of Autumn.  The trees are almost bare of foliage which has opened up the countryside.  To our surprise we found two derelict WW2 pillboxes near the boat on the far side of the canal.

Jan remembers as a very small girl entering a similar fortifications whilst she was a boarder at a school nearby.  I was initially surprised to see they were made from clay bricks with a concrete roof.  But then bricks will stop a bullet, provided the wall is of sufficient thickness.

My interest aroused I delved into the local history to find out the Kennet & Avon was part of a “stop line” built as part of Britain’s “Defence in Depth” strategy should Hitler’s forces invade southern England (Operation Sealion).  This particular “stop line” was the largest in the UK and known as the GHQ Line. It ran from Taunton, along the River Brue and the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading before going around the south of London south of Guildford and Aldershot, to Canvey Island and Great Chesterford in Essex, then headed north to end in Yorkshire.

The canal would certainly have been an obstacle to vehicles, but I would have thought the pillboxes would be better placed on the northern bank of the canal.  Still, I suppose if the troops manning the pillbox had to withdraw, crossing the canal on foot wouldn’t be much of an obstacle.

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