Sandbag Works

Sandbag posts were certainly constructed in Suffolk. Likely locations would be places were it was not possible to dig trenches – e.g. in towns / seafronts. Many were also constructed by the Home Guard and the Army in the early days of the War to cover road blocks.

One interesting reference to sandbag posts, 127 Brigade (42nd Div), notes common faults with such posts:

  • Many posts were too high – concealment was all important
  • Roofs were often too heavy and in risk of collapse. It was recommended that the roof should consist of corrugated iron sheets with a layer of sandbags to keep out the wet and give protection from splinters.
  • Loopholes were often too small so that field of fire was restricted
    • 7th Home Guard Battalion Order No 22 notes that many of these ‘sandbag blockhouses’ were in a bad condition with a few cases of them collapsing onto the highway. Instructions were given that all such posts were to be checked and where necessary re-built or removed.

      Dry rot in sandbags was a potential problem with any sandbagged post. If it was responsible for the collapse of a sandbag wall, the earth should not be reused (as the dry rot fungus would be present) unless sandbags treated with creosote were available. If not available fresh earth should be used.

      Some sandbagged posts were of a permanent construction, with cement used instead of sand or earth. Such posts were certainly constructed on the Eastern Command Line and remarkably can still be found at two sites today.

      Above: Sandbagged defence works on the Eastern Command Line (Left and middle - River Lark, West Row. Right - near Lavenham)

      It would appear, along with pillboxes, that many more posts were constructed than could be occupied or were not constructed within defensive areas – instructions were issued by 15th Division that posts no longer required should be pulled down.

        Above: Sandbag posts ranged from simple sentry posts (left) to 'blockhouses' (right) such as this example in London

      References:
      127 Brigade papers, TNA
      15th Div papers, TNA

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