The battery was established in 1941 with initial digging and camouflaging works beginning on March 13th. The Battery unit was formed at Grimsby on March 17th with an advance party arriving at Kessingland on March 20th. By March 21st work was underway on excavation the foundations for the gun houses with a camouflage superstructure erected over the works. The excavated earth was transported south of the location by about 50 yards. Both guns had been delivered and mounted by April 10th. By the end of April, both search lights had been erected in temporary positions and ammunition and charges had been delivered from Lowestoft.
The search lights were established in emplacements on the beach in July which required the removal of mines 30 yards each side of the sites by a Royal Engineer demolition party. By mid-August the battery was ready for action.
The battery was responsible for all water in view to a limit of 6,000 yards. The role of the battery was to:
1. To engage enemy warships providing there was a reasonable chance of sinking them (HE fuze 44).
2. To engage enemy transports and prevent them landing troops and Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) on the beach (HE fuze 44).
3. To engage troops in boats or landing crafts, and AFV’s attempting to gain a foothold on the beach (HE fuze 44).
4. To cover beach (shrapnel Mk XXVI ammunition with fuze 88) and land targets (HE Mk XXVI ammunition with fuze 230). Land targets were Lowestoft Swing Bridge, Lowestoft Harbour,
Claremont Pier and the rail junctions in Lowestoft.
Plan of Kessingland 231 Coast Battery
Light anti-aircraft positions were constructed. The perimeter was wired with double and treble lines of barb wire. Mines were already in place on the beach but some had to be removed from time to time due to beach erosion. Other equipment for local defence consisted of one 75 mm gun, a six pounder gun, two U/P Rocket Projectors and two spigot mortars. Each man had a Ross rifle and bayonet and 40 rounds of .303 ammunition. For close defence the battery also had four Bren guns. In the event of an Alarm, the defence was to be strengthened by the Home Guard.
Right - one of the Gun houses, Kessingland Battery
The War Office strength for the battery (a Class B Coast Battery) was two officers, one Warrant Officer, two Sergeants, one lance Sergeant, two Bombardiers, two lance Bombardiers and 19 Gunners.
The battery was on mains water supply. The RAP was located in Clifton House. The gas cleansing centre was located in Beach House, which required its roof to be strengthened.
No. 1 search light collapsed on Dec 29th 1942 due to high tides. The light was erected in a new temporary position in Jan 1943. By March 1943 the strength of the battery had been reduced to a level sufficient to maintain the equipment only. Training was at a minimum and was combined with that of the Home Guard,
The battery closed in May 1944 with all personnel posted away with the exception of one officer and seven men. This small party maintained the equipment until Jan 1945 when the ammunition and barrack stores were returned. A guard of two men remained until November when the guns were removed and taken to Landguard Fort for scrap.
Above: Right - aerial of Kessingland Battery. Left - range card
Range finder – 2 Metre Barr and Stroud F.T 29 Admiralty
Guns – two 6” Naval B.L on Mark XI P.V Mountings. No 1 gun manufactured in 1905, No 2 in 1906.
CASL – No 1: 90 cm Mark V with remote control
- No 2: 90 cm Mark VI
Kessingland Fort Record Book, TNA