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Arun GHQ 'Stop' Line

You are now viewing the oldest page on this website, created in its original form in November 2004. It is different in format to the other pages because the images were taken with an early digital camera and do not lend themselves to higher resolution display. It is maintained in its original format as part of the DerelictMisc 10th Anniversary project, 2014.

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What: Line of defences
Where: Horsham, West Sussex
Built: 1940-1
Architect: Directorate of Fortifications and Works
Abandoned: 1943-5
Listed: No.
Visited: 2004-7
Last Known Condition: Abandoned, fair.
Page Updated: March 2014

In the early years of the Second World War a German Invasion of Britain seemed near inevitable. The invading force was expected to land on the beaches of Sussex, Kent and other coastal counties and move up rivers, railways and roads towards the capital. To halt this advance, (thus allowing time for support to arrive from bases further north), a system of Stop Lines - mutually supporting pillboxes, trenches and other defences positioned (in the case of Sussex) along the banks of rivers was hastily constructed, with the greatest concentration being in Southern England.


Type 26 Anti-Infantry Pillbox and Anti-Tank Obstacles, near Hammerpond Hill Bridge, Mannings Heath

The side facing the bridge. Embrasure. Obstacle in the river.

A raised, earthed up type 26 situated beside Mannings Heath Golf Club on the bank of the Goldings Stream, below Hammerpond Hill Bridge. On the road nearby is a single anti-tank coffin, cut down to ground level, visible as a protruding piece of concrete on the N. side of the road and there are two cone-shaped cylinders lying in the stream south of the bridge. (03/04/07)


Type 24 Anti-Infantry Pillbox, near Goldings Hill Bridge, Mannings Heath

From the footpath. Entrance and roof. inside.

A rather decayed sunken type 24 built of reinforced concrete and brick, covering a road bridge. (03/04/07)


Type 24 Anti-Infantry Pillbox, near Whites Bridge, Horsham

the back of the pillbox seen from atop the bank. Inside. side view.

A typical type 24 set into the steep bank facing south to cover the road bridge, among woods and somewhat overgrown. (03/04/07)


Anti-Tank Obstacles, Chesworth Lane, Horsham

Six anti-tank 'pimples' located to prevent access to the town via the bridge on Chesworth lane. (17/02/05)


Type 28 Anti-Tank Gun Emplacement, Chesworth Lane, Horsham

Because of its location in a private garden I could not visit this pillbox, but it is somewhere on north bank of the River Arun. (n/a)


Anti-Tank Obstacles, Denne Road, Horsham

Some of the cylinders at the entrance to Denne Park.

A collection of nine anti-tank cylinders which barred access to the town via a bridge over the River Arun. These would have been stored by the roadside and rolled into position then held with pegs in pre-drilled holes. In 2001 all of them stood in a line at the side of the road. In 2004 however, two were lying in the river, one was in an adjacent water meadow and the other six were outside the entrance to Denne Park. The cylinders have been removed (2009) and are now in storage. Photos 2 & 3 (c.2001) and status update kindly provided by Mrs Margaret Thompson. (18/11/04)


Anti-Tank Obstacles, The Causeway, Horsham

All that remains of the pyramid-shaped 'pimple' type obstacles is a group of concrete squares in the pavement. A town trail notice marks the site. (02/12/04)


Type 28 Anti-Tank Gun Emplpacement, near Mill Bay Bridge, Horsham

General view of overgrown type 28 with town trail sign in foreground. Close up on bricked up embrasure. .

Designed for a 6pdr. gun, this box defends a road bridge over the River Arun. The door and embrasures have been bricked up for reasons of public safety. The line of vertical bricks on the second photo replaces an embrasure. It bears a town trail plaque giving a brief history. Type 28 Plan after Longstaff-Tyrell, 1998. (19/11/04)


Type 24 Anti-Infantry Pillbox, near Hills Farm Lane, Horsham

Detail of embrasure and remnants of camouflage. General view from the south. General view from the south.


This isolated pillbox stands between the River Arun and Tanbridge New School and covers a farm bridge over the River Arun. It is surrounded by rubbish and old chairs left by school children. Type 24 plan after Longstaff-Tyrell, 1998


Anti-Tank Coffin, Floodgates Bridge, Broadbridge Heath

The lone concrete obstacle on the Horsham side of the river. The lone concrete obstacle on the Horsham side of the river. The lone concrete obstacle on the Horsham side of the river.

This single obstacle stood at the end of a small access bridge which was demolished post-war and replaced by a footbridge (pictured). A house, occupied by the sluice keeper for the nearby Broadbridge Mill stood on the far bank and was demolished at the same time (sluice gate pictured). (4/12/04)


Type 24 Anti-Infantry Pillbox, High Woods, Broadbridge Heath

Pillbox from the east, note misspelled graffiti. Embrasure from the inside Pillbox from the south, showing rear blast wall.

This type 24 pillbox, set into a steep bank defending a river crossing point is interesting in that inside the embrasures open out onto semicircular shelves, probably for light machine guns mounted on tripods. Until recently the box was in a bad state. In Autumn 2005 the interior was excavated before the site was fenced around by the landowner. (08/01/04), (12/10/05) & (07/05/06)


Type 28 Anti-Tank Gun Emplacement, Wickhurst Lane, Broadbridge Heath

. The large embrasure. The main chamber

This gun emplacement stands to the south of Broadbridge Farmhouse and though originally well hidden by overgrowth, appears to be in fair condition. It is now used as a garden shed and has recently been cleared of overgrowth. (04/10/04, 20/11/04, 29/3/07 & 28/7/07)


Anti-Tank Coffins, Mill Bridge, Broadbridge Heath

Two huge upturned concrete anti-tank 'coffins'or 'dragons teeth' with a slot for a barrier to prevent access to Broadbridge Heath via the Mill Bridge over the River Arun. (11/11/04 & 20/11/04)


Type 28a Anti-Tank Gun Emplacement, near New Bridge, Broadbridge Heath

Overview. main chamber and gun mount. side chamber.

This rectangular pillbox was built to cover the nearby road bridge over the River Arun using 6pdr. and Bren light machine guns but is now in poor condition. As well as being heavily overgrown, part of the blast wall has been demolished and someone seems to have decided that the interior would benefit from a coat of cream and green emulsion paint. (12/03/04 & 20/11/04)


Anti-Tank Coffin, Slinfold Mill Bridge, Broadbridge Heath

. . .

Attempts in 1989 and 1996 to rediscover this roadblock were unsuccessful, because, as it turned out, both the Surrey Industrial Society and the Council for British Archaeology were looking in the wrong place. A careful search of the area reveals that the road has moved since the war (probably because of the obstacles in the way) and the roadblock is to be found on the remains of the old bridge. The mill itself (pictured) was converted into a private garage in the 1930s. (6/05/06 & 29/03/07)


Type 24 Anti-Infantry Pillbox, near Rapkyns Farm, Strood Green, Slinfold

View from the west The entrance and rear blast wall South facing embrasure from the inside

This pillbox faces south to cover a farm crossing over the River Arun. It is partially buried but access is not difficult and the condition is very good. (04/04/04 & 03/12/04)


Type 22 Anti-Infantry Pillbox, near Rowfold Farm, Slinfold

View from the east. Rear blast wall showing embrasure Rear blast wall showing embrasure

This pillbox was built to cover a farm bridge over the River Arun and is in good condition, the roof retains its camouflage of soil and grass, and inside the wooden shutters remain in-situ. In addition to the roof camouflague, the box was built under an oak tree to evade aerial detection. Type 22 Plan after Longstaff-Tyrell, 1998. (03/12/04)


Type 28 Anti-Tank Gun Emplacement, Roman Woods, Slinfold

Embrasure for 6pdr. Smaller embrasure in the other chamber. Embrasure.

This type 28 pillbox is passed at high speed by hundreds of people every week without their realising it. Built to cover Alfoldean Bridge on the Arun, it stands beside the busy A281 hidden in undergrowth. (05/08/06)


Variant Anti-Infantry Pillbox, near Dedisham Farm, Slinfold

Southwest aspect. West aspect showing ladder and raised porch. Inside, the high water mark can be clearly seen.

This unusual pillbox is identical to a Type 24 in all but one respect: entry is by means of a raised brick shaft which is entered using a fixed iron ladder and opens out into the door. The reason for this unusual arrangement was apparently to prevent flooding, the box having been built on a floodplain. Ironically, the waterproofing proved so effective that the pillbox is now filled with rainwater to a depth of between one and four and a half feet depending on the weather. I visited in a period of drought, but even so the water was about a foot deep and very stagnant. (07/08/06 & 08/08/06)


The nearest of these lines to my home town of Horsham was the Arun Divisional Line, which as its name suggests ran along the River Arun south of Horsham with pillboxes spaced at approximate half-mile intervals. Defences were usually concentrated on main roads, railways, river crossings and nodal points - strategic towns and villages of which Horsham was one.
In 2004, I began a project to visit and photograph all of the surviving defences on a six mile section of the line between Chesworth and Dedisham. The scope of the project was extended to cover the Chesworth - Hammerpond Hill section in Easter 2007, and the project was completed later that year.

In the event, the defences would have been manned by the Home Guard or Local Defence Volunteers, a force made up of men who were ineligible for military service due to their age or reserved occupation. Although this strategy would probably have been an effective one, arresting the invaders' progress before the capital was reached, the prospects for these volunteers were still bleak: even if successful they would be outmanned and outgunned and as such could expect heavy losses.


Bibliography

Tyrell's List - the artefacts of two great wars in Sussex Peter Longstaff-Tyrrell, Gotehouse Publishing, 1998. - CBA Defence of Britain Database.

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