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Pillboxes in Withyham Parish

In June 2013, Withyham Parish Council approached Sussex Military History Society (SMHS) regarding the wartime pillboxes within our parish boundary.

An estimated 60 or so pillboxes were constructed within the area in 1940 and they mostly form part of the 'GHQ Line' (GHQ='General Headquarters', ie UK Home Forces High Command) which was what was known as a 'Stop Line'. Stop lines were defensive lines intended to stop German tanks by using pre-existing landscape features as anti-tank barriers. Rivers, railway embankments/cuttings etc were bolstered with man-made obstacles and pillboxes to this end. The GHQ Line was a series of lines intended to keep the Germans out of London and the industrial Midlands; our part was in the Newhaven - Penshurst line.

Each pillbox was sited individually to perform a specific task in the landscape and to mutually support its neighbours. Each pillbox is also an individual; it has its own serial number. Each was known individually to a select group of Home Guards who would have had to have guided regular army troops into the stop line and show them in detail what each loophole in each pillbox was defending.

SMHS worked with the Parish Council to gain access to some of these structures as possible in order to clear them of undergrowth and rubbish and to survey and record anything of particular interest. If you have a pillbox on your property and would be interested for this to happen please contact the Clerks.

 To see an example of SMHS' work, please click here.