Bawdsey Battery

Bawdsey battery was part of Harwich Fire Command. The battery was a purpose built structure . The guns had concrete roofs and  all round cover  except the embrasures. The magazines, watch shelters and gun stores were concrete and partly below ground and connected to the guns by covered passages.

 

The battery observation post was a four story concrete building. The basement was noted as being  damp and not used. The ground floor was used as an armoury, first floor was a telephone room and the second floor housed the Barr and Stroud rangefinder. The Gun control observation post was in a narrow concrete slit trench between the guns. Remains on the beach suggest an anti-tank wall was constructed, extending the seawall already in place as an anti-tank barrier.

 

Two CASL’s were on each flank of the battery, housed in concrete buildings.  An engine room was constructed out of brick and concrete.

 

Barracks, messes, ablutions, stores etc were in a spinney at the rear of the battery.

 

Ammunition as at 31st Dec 1943 was given as:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two UP projectors are also noted as forming part of the battery’s defence, each surrounded by five ammunition lockers holding 16 rounds each.  One was located to the south of the battery, one to the west.  A 75mm gun was normally kept near the Martello Tower as there was a gap in the scaffolding which was useful for practice firing. A platform for an operational site was in defence sector ‘A’, west of the most northerly Nissan hut in the spinney.

 

In December 1943 the personnel of the battery was reduced to one captain, one sergeant, two bombardiers, three gunners and one cook.

 

The only defence scheme in for the battery remaining in the records at TNA is dated 3rd March 1944. The intention was to keep the guns in action and hold the battery to the last man. Three  defence sectors were located as follows:  ‘A’ sector, NW of the battery consisting of two posts of weapon-pits,  ‘A1’ with 10 men and ‘A2’ with a 11 men, two spigot mortars and a Bren gun. ‘B’ sector was to the west of the battery with 10 men, a twin Solothurn mg and spigot mortar. ‘C’ sector was to the south of the battery, located in the Martello Tower (11 men and 1 Bren). A mobile force for offensive defence consisted of 22 men with two Brens and was to take post at the Watch Shelters. The location of the nearest troops was noted as Bawdsey Manor, little help could be expected. The defence posts of the battery were to be manned by platoons from Alderton, Hollesley and Ramsholt,  5th Suffolk Battalion Home Guard.

 

A  First Aid Point was located near the magazines in the gun position. Seriously wounded were to be evacuated to Bawdsey Manor.

 

The Gun Battery today is still well preserved, although the gun emplacements lack the overhead cover. The CASL’s along with two Type 22 Pillboxes have now fallen into the sea along with much of the anti-tank wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Left: Plan of Battery based on remains today and documentary evidence.

Top Right: Aerial photo of Battery as it is today.

Bottom Left: Photo of Battery taken from BOP.

Bottom Middle: Remains of anti-tank wall.

Bottom Right: Battery Observation Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technical details:

 

Guns: two BL 6” (Naval) Mk vii on P vii mountings. No 1 gun manufactured in 1918 and No 2 in 1918.

Range Finder:  Barr and Stroud(Naval) 9ft. Type FQ 11 No 1544. Magnification x28.

CASL’s: Two projectors  Mk V (AA). Reflectors 90cm. 22kw Lister diesel engine (38 h.p)

 

Reference: Bawdsey Fort Record Book, TNA

bawdsey battery plan Bawdsery aerial View of Bawdsey battery Anti-tank wall, Bawdsey battery 2011_0627pakefield0031