View Full Version : Norfolk - records and archives

30-03-2011, 10:57 AM
Building up a list of potentially interesting documents in the Norfolk Records Office (for a future wet weather indoor explore?)..

Norfolk County Council, Planning Department [C/P]
Series of files categorising military defence works for maintenance or demolition following the 1939-45 war. C/P8/1/1 - C/P8/1/301
From the online index this would appear to be a very large collection of reports, correspondence and memoranda relating to WW2 defences across Norfolk.
In the same series:
C/P8/3 - 33 1:2500 OS maps recording a survey of coastal defence works
C/P8/4 - Survey of coastal defence works, Winterton to Caster. Roll made from OS sheets, 1/2500 scale, cut into strips and joined head to foot. Defences marked in red.
C/P11 - 15 maps record the Second World War coastal defence works as they existed in 1950.
link - C/P8/1 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-cp&cid=8-1#8-1)
link - C/P8/3 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-cp&cid=8-3#8-3)
link - C/P8/4 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-cp&cid=8-4#8-4)
link - C/P11 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-cp&cid=11#11)

Norwich City Council, City Engineer's Department [N/EN/1/1 - N/EN/11/1]
From the online index this appears to be an extensive archive relating to air raid precautions, reports on progress in completring air raid precautions, instructions in the event of air raids, reports of bomb damage and casualties, reports on exercises "Bulldog", "Sampson", "Scorch" and "Norvic", etc.
link (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-nen_1&cid=1-191#1-191)

Norfolk Constabulary [GB/NNAF/C181361 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O109114)]
C/PO 1/60 1939-1946: Hunstanton police invasion instructions file, incl plans of beaches at Hunstanton and Titchwell.
This sounds interesting, however the complete listing for C/PO (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-c-po&cid=-1#-1) only incudes C/PO/1/1 to C/PO/1/59 with no mention of C.PO/1/60.
link (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/searches/subjectView.asp?ID=O109114)

Norfolk Record office - MC 158 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-mc158&cid=-1#-1)
1914-1944, Records received by the Norfolk Record Office on 2 May 1985 [MS 21974], 5th Battalion of Norfolk Home Guard; Griffin, HH; Humfrey, T, Blake, Lieutenant Colonel, of Horsted Norfolk.
War-time papers relating to the 5th Battalion of Norfolk Home Guard:

Emergency Committee papers, Norfolk District no. 10 MC 158/1/626 x 8 1914 - 1918
Fifth Battalion Norfolk Home Guard Orders MC 158/2/626 x 8 1940-1941
Fifth Battalion Norfolk Home Guard Orders MC 158/3/626 x 8 1941-1942
Fifth Battalion Norfolk Home Guard Orders MC 158/4/626 x 8 1942-1943
Fifth Battalion Norfolk Home Guard Orders MC 158/5/626 x 8 1943-1944
Typescript entitled 'Not all beer and skittles' MC 158/6/626 x 8 nd, being an account by H. H. Griffin of his experiences when serving in the 1914-1918 war
Without reading the papers it's difficult to be certtain what is included, but it is to be hoped that the order papers might contain useful information on war-time defences manned by Home Guard personnel.

Records of interest held at The National Archives, Kew

Air Ministry: Bomber Command: Registered Files AIR 14 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATLN=6&CATID=585961)
Photographic Interpretation Section, Beach targets: Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and Sussex, 1941 Mar. The National Archives, Kew

23-04-2011, 10:08 PM
More listed on the National Archives ans held at Norwich..

Second World War and Civil Defence
DC 17/7/77 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-dc17&cid=8-9#8-9) Memorandum concerning the possible evacuation of civilians from coastal areas 1940
DC 17/7/78 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-dc17&cid=8-9-2#8-9-2) Notices of works under Defence Regulation 50 1940 - 1944
One rifle pit at Station Farm, Docking and Brancaster Road, 1940
Two road blocks on the road from Snettisham to the beach, 1941
One fire trench beside the road from Heacham to the beach, 1941
One gun pit on the road next the reservoir at Fring, 1941
Discharge of liability for compensation concerning land surrounding the reservoir at Fring, 1944
DC 17/7/79 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-dc17&cid=8-9#8-9) Ministry of Housing and Local Government guidance on the treatment of certain types of installation in maps, guide books etc. 1965

There are also several papers relating to trials on the mud crossing performance of tracked vehicles undertaken at Brancaster. This sounds uninspiring, but the blue clay of Brancaster was identical to bands of soft clay present on some of the Normandy lamding beaches. The trials resulted in specialist landing equipment being developed.

22-06-2011, 10:12 AM
Meant to update this thread last week..

I've had a chance to look at some of the documents held at County Hall Archive. I only had a couple of hours, so prioritised getting a feel for what was there.

C/P11 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-cp&cid=11#11) is a brilliant resource, a series of OS maps with hand-written annotations recording defences or remains of defences still extant c.1950. I requested two maps as samples, and recieved two bundles of four maps. I suspect that this entire series are bundled in fours, so requesting one map from each bundle is sufficient to get all four brought up from the store. There is a lot of detail recorded on these maps, including location, description and extent of wire obstacles, locations of Alan Williams turrets not elsewhere recorded (and probably long gone for scrap), dumps of wire and pterol tines, etc.

C/P8/1 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=153-cp&cid=8-1#8-1) is another very interesting series. I wasn't sure what to expect from these, so I requested the relevant files for King's Lynn and Holme-next-the-Sea as samples. They were both correspondence files containing letters sent from the council planning officer to various officials and landowners. The correspondence all relates to the categorisation of defences for the priority of their removal, or whether they can be left in situ. It looks like this will turn-up many additional defences not recorded on the DOB database. All map references are using the Cassini grid - there's a conversion tool at Fielden maps (http://www.fieldenmaps.info/cconv/cconv_gb.html), but it took me a while to realise that I had to add in the grid letters as these had been omitted in the correspondence.

As an indication of what can be learnt in under an hour in the archive..

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5221/5859664012_d74493bb74_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/saltgeorge/5859664012/)

I knew of most of the structures (the gun batteries, block houses and close-defence blockhouse are still extant) but I knew that I didn't have the full extent of this site (King's Lynn Coastal Defence battery - it's featured a couple of times in the Pillbox thread (http://www.urbexforums.co.uk/showthread.php/2811-Bunkers-Pillboxes-and-other-small-military-things.?p=32721#post32721)). It was only after looking at map C/P11/1 that I was able to add the position of the two coastal artillery searchlights and the two flanking pillboxes. These have been completely obliterated by post-war sea defence works, in fact the coastline has been moved a considerable distance away from the battery by land reclamation work. The map also confirmed that the structure further down the farm road was a storehouse, rather than a "pillbox" as it has been described in later sources.

The yellow polygon outlines the defensive perimiter, as interpreted by projecting a 1946 aerial photograph over the modern imagery.

22-06-2011, 01:39 PM
Taunton Stop Line A Photographic Guide:

http://inlinethumb02.webshots.com/46593/2844732880033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2844732880033241453engrNz)

A recent e-book on the Taunton Stop Line has just recently been added to my collection:thumb
Containing pver 1,500 full colour photographs and over 120 maps and illustrations, this enlightening e-book contains a wealth of information. It is a complete interpretive photographic record of all the surviving WW II defences of the Taunton Stop Line and the twelve associated anti-tank islands.

It is available from www.wbdpublications.co.uk (http://www.wbdpublications.co.uk/)

The illustrations are really clear and the text describes each location along with an illustrated map of the areas, so that you can go out into the fields and find them for yourself
It comes highly recommended and well worth the money:coffee

11-09-2011, 08:37 PM
SG, Long time no speak...
Hope all is well...

Do you reckon there'll be some documentation regarding the Air-Raid / Nuclear Warning sirens anywhere in the archives?

I'd like some more information about them now I have aquired 2 of the ole sirens...

11-09-2011, 11:36 PM
Probably DJ.. the trick is finding the right search terms and date range to put into the search engine on The National Archives (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/). I've tried some quick searches this evening for you, but nothing specific is turning up so far, although some interesting items are popping up.. some factory records passed to the archives include air raid logs, as do some education records with period documentation transferred from schools. There are various collections associated with flooding that refer to "annotated maps" and the like, which may or may not include mention of warning sirens. I've not come across any mention of air-raid warning sirens being categorised for removal in the correspondence files I've looked at so far.

24-11-2011, 03:30 PM
UEA have made the East Anglian Film Archive (http://www.eafa.org.uk/default.aspx) available online. The search capabilities look very flexible (by period, by location, etc).

Gems I've found so far include a 31:33 minute film on the King's Lynn Home Guard 1940-45 - Link (http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/419). Lots of lovely details, if anyone is unclear on the use of a Blacker Bombard or Spigot Mortar one can be seen being loaded onto a handcart at 09:51 and in use from a field position and a pre-positioned spigot mortar pedestal mount from 11:44. As spigot mortar pedestal mounts are such common remains it's nice to see how they were intended to be used. I hadn't appreciated that the concrete pedestals might have been supplied with overhead camouflage.