Wartime Structure Unearthed By Tidal Surge

As the surge caused flooding all across the North East, it also unearthed a wartime pillbox structure on the sandy beach at Bamburgh in Northumberland. And for the second time, it made an 18th Century shipwreck disappear under the dunes.

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is now requesting information on any potential historical structures and sites that might have been exposed by the tidal surge.

Pillboxes, which came in numerous shapes and forms, were used along the UK’s coastline and were created at points of weakness, to protect from a German invasion. They were made from concrete shuttering.

Anti-tank blocks, gun emplacements and a radar station can also be found on the North East coast. The Bamburgh discovery is already known to be in perfect condition; it was revealed at the bottom of a dune.

In 2010, when a survey was conducted along the county’s coastline, no pillbox was discovered and nobody knew anything about the presence of it in the sands, the Chronicle Live reports.

The news took over the social media networks during the weekend, after Jessica Turner from the AONB Partnership spotted the new discovered structure.

The war time structure is made of concrete sandbags and hessian printed, just like many others at Dunstan Steads and Dunstanburgh.

Jessica Turner reported on the new discovery saying that people have seen it there because of the popularity of the place: “it is quite a popular walking spot.” They used the pillboxes in places they perceived as weak, in order to keep safe from a possible German invasion, continued Jessica.

“It is ever changing and quite an interesting coast from an historic point of view.”

A shipwreck dating from around 1768 and which was exposed at Bamburgh during the spring, is now under a sandbank because of the tidal surge.

The AONB Partnership is now requesting information on any new sites that might have been unearthed by the surge and they are also looking for a number of volunteers to supervise the historic locations on the coast.

Email Jessica.turner@northumberland.gov.uk or phone 01670 622648.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE