Tag Archives: Barmston

Pillbox Heaven – #CampTramps2016

Here’s a fishy tale! So yesterday, we arrived at the next stop on #CampTramps2016,  a small village called Barmston, a few hundred metres from the E. Yorks coastline, south of Bridlington. The site, Rectory Farm is fine, adult only (couldn’t eat another kid) and comes complete with showers…so Yippeee….sorted. The areas very flat, but with a warm easterly breeze it’s very pleasant, and an ideal base for some local exploring.

Rectory Farm

Rectory Farm

The Dog Walk

The Dog Walk

Yesterday after parking up the Chucklebus, we wandered off for a walk towards the beach. En-route we noticed an info board, that mentioned World War 2 Pillboxes (Fortified bunkers, providing coastal defence). As the font of all knowledge and keen to claim bragging rights in our little group, I mentioned to the other half, that my old battalion had been based near Bridlington in WW2, having suffered a severe mauling during the Dunkirk Withdrawal in May 1940. “Oh yes pet, what would you like for tea tonight?”

So, once we got back to the van, I fired up the laptop and well, you could’ve knocked me down with a feather! It only transpires, that my old rifle company…A Coy 1RWF had been based in Barmston during that period of 1940. How amazing is that! Who knew? Well, that put a different perspective on this part of our travels, such is the adaptable nature of the Brit ex-squaddie, that I quickly re-roled this stopover into a full-blown battlefield tour. The Other Half’s face was a picture of absolute joy!

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Today, I was up like a firecraker, with possible pillbox locations marked into the phones mapping, we set off to explore, trooping through the centre of Barmston,  Me, the Other Half and Mutt the Dog.

The Story:

1RWF had a tough 2nd World War. It started at Dunkirk, with almost 65% of its strength killed, wounded or captured during those bloody two weeks of May 1940. Figures indicate some 260 + men made it back to the UK.

Initially they were sent by train to Huddersfield, to recover, regroup and get back up to manned strength. This was in the crucial period when it really was expected that the enemy would invade, the Battle of Britain was raging and we needed to defend our shores.

A lonely place

A lonely place

By the middle of June, the battalion was sent to provide coastal defence along the East Yorkshire Coast concentrated in the Beeford and Barmston areas. My old rifle company Alpha Company, came here to Barmston, Later Delta Company also operated from this location. The soldiers lived amongst the Barmston population in pubs, digs, anywhere they could, they even occupied the now empty caravan sites in the Barmston and Lissett area. They were tasked to man the pillboxes hastily constructed along this part of the coast, camouflaged from the air and supported by beach wire entanglements, anti-tank blocks and various other methods to slow down an invasion or seaborne/para assault.

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For the men, this was a relentless, serious task, the country faced a very real threat. During their period at Barmston they were subjected to numerous air raids, and were required to provide anti-aircraft fire against enemy fighters and bombers, sometimes on a daily basis. In one occasion in Aug 1940 they even assisted in shooting down a bomber. During those summer months they often witnessed dogfights between Spitfires and German fighters overhead. Heady times.

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This was ideal training for the men in operating their rifles and Brens, especially as most of them who had joined the battalion Post-Dunkirk had never experienced actual combat. But because of the nature of the task, it restricted the more detailed training the new men required, so by the October of that year, they were relieved and moved on to the next stage of their war.

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This would involve sailing to the far-east in 1942, fighting the Japanese at Donbaik in 1943, again suffering heavy casualties, then, less than 12 months later in Apr/May 1944, the hell that was called “Kohima”, where again they endured heavy casualties and terrible hardship. I’m sure that some of them in 1944, crouching down in their trenches on Summerhouse Hill, Kohima, looked back to those days amongst the folk of East Yorks with great fondness and appreciation.

If anyone fancies a look around the area, this stretch of coastline is rich with the remnants of its WW2 past. To assist I’ve plotted the seven pillboxes I visited north of Barmston.

 

Some of the Pillboxes North of Barmston

Some of the Pillboxes North of Barmston

Tomorrow we head onto the N. Yorkshire Moors, no more battlefield tours for this callsign on this trip!

That is all.

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Hols at Hull – #CampTramps2016

Yep, you read it right…HULL, we’ve been staying here for the last few days, well just south of the city, on the southern bank of the Humber at a lovely little Caravan Club CL called Roxton, a mile or so from Barton Upon Humber. As we look across the Humber towards Hull, the Bridge is to the west(left) of us!

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Roxton CL

Roxton CL

The Roxton site is very quiet, basic facilities in a peaceful garden setting, in fact it is actually someones garden! EHU, lots of greenery, all topped off with a victorian potting shed converted into a loo….My life’s complete. Did I mention the bloody wood pigeons? No?….Cooing away every morning at 5am….In the end I woke the other half, so she could hear them! I was close to deploying her to throw stones at them(she likes to do that, not at animals in particular…just things!), but I eventually decided to leave them alone…Down girl, back in the van!

The Humber looking towards the North Sea

The Humber looking towards the North Sea

The southern bank of the Humber has been developed to support and encourage wildlife, now that the heavy industry has declined. This is enhanced by Spurn Point, that juts out of the Northern bank and is a desgnated bird sanctuary. It feels very dutch, or similar to parts of the Baltic coast with the high man-made dyke that contours along the river bank, heading towards the North Sea, with the Waters Edge Visitors Centre at the western end. From the dyke, heading inland are miles of footpaths taking you off the beaten track. It’s a dogwalkers paradise and very flat and underused. Over the two days of walking we’ve passed maybe 20 people on the river bank, so for the middle of August, a very quiet peaceful area. I would recommend a 1:25,000 OS map, to enable you to pick up the myriad of footpaths that criss cross the area.

The Humber Bridge

The Humber Bridge

Likewise, if you’re into sailing, fishing etc, there are a few lakes, dotted along the bank that offer those facilities. There is also a local train service that follows the Humber, should you feel the need to travel further afield to the outlying towns and villages.

So today, we’ve upped sticks and are now parked up on a quite windy East Yorks coastline at Barmston……showers…yaaaaay! More to follow.

That is all.

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