View Full Version : Brancaster Coastal Defence Battery

16-04-2011, 07:14 PM
Shortly after half 7 we arrived at the car park for the beach as the last tourists were leaving, getting out kit together, and started the walk out onto the soft sand towards the dunes. Soon after we saw the top of the entrance sticking out of the sand . with a small trowel DJ Oska dug away to get enough sand moved so we could get through the entrance, even after the clearance had begun I thought we would never get in…
After about 15 minutes we were here:
After swapping positions so I was ahead, we rounded the first corner where it was almost clear enough to stand up (excuse the leg)
We pushed straight through to the main room as a ‘base’ to drop our gear and go round the rest of the facility. Here I took advantage (stupidly without a flash) to do a candid shot of DJ Oska:
We were surprised at how dry it was under the dunes, and how we ventilated it appeared, although towards one end of the facility there was a strong smell of cannabis and stale booze. At this point I decided to try and take a couple of manual shots as opposed to my normal automatic shots… so here they are:
A shoe: http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0374.jpg
And the main room: http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0376.jpg
Towards the last of the corridors the air felt a bit heavier, and we heard a voice behind us… took us a minute to realise it was me getting a text!
Some of the materials down there had obviously been taken down after the facility was closed such as metal bars http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0380.jpg
And bottles from drunken parties. http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0381.jpg
We then got mandatory crew shots (sorry for the focus on these)
And some modelling http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0373.jpg
In the toilets… http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0378.jpg
Last but not least… how does the ‘dead look’ suit me? http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee51/shadow_ops_01/DSCF0382.jpg
Wasn’t much to report on, so ive done my best… sorry its not as good as my previous ones!

16-04-2011, 07:21 PM
That was a bloody good evening well spent!

Determination got us in there, and it was worth it!

Photos and eventually VIDEO to follow!

16-04-2011, 09:33 PM
That looks interesting, it's bigger than I thought but makes sense for a CBA, done one of your plans Chris?

16-04-2011, 09:39 PM
ooh yes, SG. I've done a map!

And the diagram in the book I told you about the other night is WRONG!
not far off, but not accurate enough to be a map.

16-04-2011, 10:05 PM
You two guys always look like you have a good fun mooch, keep it up! Top stuff

16-04-2011, 10:41 PM
well until we want to leave and DJ's the first to the exit and wont move cos theres a tiny little spider there :P

And I deffinitly have too much fun with my 'Alter Ego'

17-04-2011, 08:11 AM
I love that last shot! :thumb

17-04-2011, 08:49 AM
well until we want to leave and DJ's the first to the exit and wont move cos theres a tiny little spider there :P

And I deffinitly have too much fun with my 'Alter Ego'

Tiny? that was a fully grown House Spider- I hate the bloody things- 2nd biggest spider we have in the UK, and one of the fastest too!


17-04-2011, 10:56 AM
I love that last shot! :thumb

just a bit of inspiration by the blob of paint!

Chris you didnt have any problems after I had just pushed past it

07-05-2011, 07:57 PM
The video is now online everyone! :-D


08-05-2011, 09:30 AM
Well done on the vid chris, but i thought you would have included something on the huts on the marsh?

08-05-2011, 09:46 AM
nah Sebley- thats to do with Titchwell, I believe...
SG is on the case on that one...

08-05-2011, 10:20 AM
I'll watch your video this evening Chris..

Shad's, it's all getting very complicated and the area from Holme Dunes to Brancaster CDB is showing a variety of military uses from the mid-1920's to the mid-1950's including air gunnery ranges, air bombing ranges, a non-standard moving target range, tank/artillery range(s), mud crossing trials, beach cratering trials, special purpose vehicle development trials. The huts on the marsh fit in here somewhere, but the current state of research is that every answer is generating two more questions.

08-05-2011, 08:20 PM
thank you for clearing that up SG. does sound like its a little on the complicated side, ill leave it to the master historian!

08-05-2011, 09:12 PM
Hah! I'm just getting more confused the more information I get. I've had some very good plans provided by someone on AIx that detail the post-WW2 air-to-ground bombery/gunnery range to the immediate west of the current RSPB reserve (the old tank gunnery range) at Titchwell. Some of the quadrant shelters may correspond to some of the huts on the marshes, except that the huts are clearly visible on the 1946 aerial photographs before the post-war range was planned.

The new (to me) range to the west of Titchwell..


The overlay isn't perfect yet, I'm transferring the lat/long points onto GE and then I'll re-jig the overlay to get it to aligned more accurately.

This is the "pillbox" in the centre of the plan..


The gun emplacements aren't absolutely certain either as some of them are the winch houses for the moving target on the Titchwell AFV range, and some of the other "pillbox" structures are probably range shelters for Titchwell.

NHER and DOB aren't helping, as the original survey was an interpretration of the aerial photographs and NHER quotes DOB and describes all the structures (except those at Holme Dune) as "a World War Two pillbox is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1945" or something similar. Unfortunately, even a quick look across the marsh at several of these makes it obvious that they're not pillboxes.. unless Brancaster had a unique design of thin-walled pillbox with picture windows, fireplace and chimney. If you have any photographs of the structures east of Titchwell and west of Brancaster (i.e. the two remaining ones between the golf club and the RSPB reserve), I'd really appreciate it if you can share them. I've not yet headed out to check these in person yet.

It's possible that there's another range I've not identified between the golf club and Titchwell reserve, or it could be that these were built as refuge/observation shelters for the tracked vehicle trials or the cratering experiments at Brancaster.

I'm trying to keep track of all the reports on this area, as they're feeding in to the larger picture.

10-05-2011, 06:57 PM



10-05-2011, 07:04 PM
I'm pretty sure that's not a pillbox Shad's, but it's also different from the ones on the other side of Titchwell.. interesting hooks, could be for camouflage netting, but a little low (I'd expect netting to be strung from the roof). And a sloping roof? Did you see how many rooms there were inside?

10-05-2011, 07:38 PM
Just 2 rooms, SG- the building is basically divided in half with a linking doorway in the wall

10-05-2011, 08:04 PM
the hooks were at the bottom of the windows (land side) i think there were 2 to a window - boards maybe?

10-05-2011, 09:45 PM
Ahh.. that makes a bit more sense, I was trying to relate the hooks to the sides of the building that are visible.