Home Guard Defences

Guarding Benfleet - World War II

A base for one half of a road block?
Eileen Gamble 2011
The base just visible between the post far left and the orange sign.
Photo before current road layout changes were commenced.

Could this be part of a road block?

We have been alerted by a Mr Hawkins from Benfleet, that there is one half of a Home Guard road block still in position close to Sadlers Farm roundabouts. Mr Hawkins was told about this by a local man some years ago.

The small, concrete block stands forgotten, just past Romsey Road on the western side, immediately before entering the roundabout.

The other half of the block, which would have had poles with ropes crossing the London Road, would have been close to Clare Road, thus forming a barrier and the men would have been able to stop approaching vehicles before entering South Benfleet.  It is likely that this block was lost/removed when the changes were made to the road layout some years ago.

We do not know the full facts surrounding this story and wonder if any readers of the site can add anything to this article.

If information on our local defences is of interest to you, an excellent, in depth study into our local defences during World War II was prepared by A.G.E.S.  Archaeology Geophysics Enthusiastic Searchers.   A fully illustrated booklet is also available to read at South Benfleet Library in the High Road. The booklet covers World War II defences throughout Castle Point and Basildon. It does not however, contain details of Home Guard defences.

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  • My uncle was in the home guard for Bowers Gifford the house that they use to meet in is along the London Rd I have his home guard books telling them how to respond to events

    By Penny black (21/08/2018)
  • Further to the comment below, the footpath is still there and leads to Hadleigh Park, the venue for the 2012 Olympic mountain bike events. In various locations in the park are picture boards showing the history of parts of the defence system that are mentioned.

    By Frank Gamble (02/07/2018)
  • I remember growing up on Cross Farm, Benfleet Road from 65 to about 76. Opposite King John school was a public footpath down which we would go and get into what I now believe to be a coastal defence system overlooking the Estuary. We managed to get into the underground bunkers and passages and explore. Looking back it was incredibly dangerous but such fun.

    By D. Astley (01/07/2018)
  • Further to my previous post, my Father’s name was Frank Daley, during the war they lived at Nymphayes, Vicarage Hill and he worked in London. I believe at one time he had something to do with Deadman’s Fort on Canvey Island. Dad was a crack shot and could shoot the flame out on a candle. An ability he still had when he came out to visit me when I was stationed in Berlin in 1969. The Home Guard has been portrayed as a bit of a joke on T V but if push had ever come to shove I’m certain that they would have put up a good fight and sold their lives dearly. 

    By Frank Daley (21/05/2015)
  • My late Father was a 2nd Lt in the Benfleet Home Guard. I can remember him telling me there was a road block just by St Mary’s Church, also a mine at the bottom of Vicarage Hill controlled from Barclays Bank. The Church Tower of St Mary’s was designated as the Keep and was to be defended to the ” last man bullet and bomb”.

    By Frank Daley (20/05/2015)
  • Hello Colin, Thank you for adding a comment on the site. I will reply to your question by private email.

    By Ronnie Pigram (24/04/2013)
  • There was, at the top of the hill coming up from Pound Lane, an anti tank ditch as I remember starting on the opposite side of the road from the farm cottages. Ronnie Pigram are you related to a Pat of the same name?

    By Colin Mac (22/04/2013)
  • I can remember the road check at Sadlers farm as a child although I knew it as Alcocks farm. Returning from Grays the bus would be stopped and a policeman would board the bus and check all the identity cards of everyone on board before being allowed to go on, in our case to Tarpots

    By Colin Mackenzie (24/11/2011)

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