Artillery Observation Posts


  • Of all the concrete structures connected with coastal defence in the Walberswick area, two seem to be unique to Suffolk. Both resemble the 'Suffolk Square' pillboxes found elsewhere in this part of the coast, but their design is different inasmuch as they are of a half hexagon shape at the front. Their openings are also subtly different from the Suffolk Square as their loopholes lack the anti-ricochet splay.
  • Both are closely associated with the infantry positions, but are not directly part of the section trenches. In terms of siting, one is forward of the infantry positions and would have been the closest structure to the beach in this part of the line, the other is in an elevated position commanding a view of the whole company sector.
  • Their purpose is confirmed by entries in the unit war diaries of both the 164 Infantry Brigade and 2nd/4th South Lancashire Regiment, which state that between June and September 1940, artillery Observation Posts (OPs) had been established at a number of locations, with military grid references given for the sites of these two structures.
  • The Royal Engineers responsible for the construction of concrete defences in this area also state that two were manned by the Royal Artillery. 
  • The siting of these two structures also accords with instructions laid down for their defence, namely that they should have an excellent field of vision, if necessary as close to the beach as practicable, and be covered by infantry positions.
  • It would seem, then, that these are the OPs for the forward observers for the artillery in the Walberswick area. The unusual design is almost certainly represents another idiosyncrasy of construction by 558 Field Company, Royal Engineers also responsible for the Suffolk Square pillbox.


Artillery OP at Walberswick

Interior view of Artillery OP at Walberswick
Artillery OP at Walberswick
Exterior Views and plan of Artillery OP at Walberswick. The design is very similar to the Suffolk Square pillbox, but the shape is slightly different, the loopholes lack anti-ricochet devices and there are no shelves in the interior.