WW2 Southern Pillbox

A fine example on the Benfleet shores

This pillbox is on the Benfleet southern shores and faces Canvey Island, built to defend the mainland from a Canvey taken over by the Germans, who were inevitable in the early Second World War.

Built in 1940 or 1941, it has five sides and four loop holes for a Bren light machine gun or Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle, designed for the Home Guard to man in case of a Nazi attack on Britain, whose intentions would probably have been to take London via the Thames.

This pillbox also contains a loop (firing hole) to size of a pistol, such as the British Webley revolver, facing the entrance, in order to fire upon any hostiles trying to clear out the pillbox from the back. It features a ‘porch’ entrance, which has walls made of bricks in a  ‘zig-zag’ pattern, probably to reinforce it against explosions. Inside the pillbox has a wall in a ‘Y’ shape in the centre, which would be used to protect a percentage of the men inside the pillbox from a grenade thrown in. Some of the loop-holes still have metal reinforcement around them.

On the roof of the pillbox, there are several concrete ‘dollops’ which would be used to break up the unnatural profile of the pillbox from enemies on the lookout. The bricks, which would have coated the bunker, can be seen in many places, although many have broken off. The bricks are on the pillbox not because they offer any protection over concrete, but would have been the mould for the concrete, in which the bricks were built first, then the concrete poured in.

For more exploring reports on the historical remains of Castle Point, visit www.beyondthepoint.co.uk

The pillbox
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The lumps for disguise
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On the left, a pistol loop, to defend the entrance, or the right, the entrance, with reinforced 'zig-zag' internal walls
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The layers of the pillbox
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  • There used to be a couple of large pillboxes overlooking the creek by Benfleet Station, my friends and I used to play in them back on the 1950s.

    By Frank Daley (20/05/2015)

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