Not what you expect to find on a modern housing estate, really.
We are in Stone Cross, about two miles west of Pevensey, and this is indeed a Second World War pillbox.
Built in 1941 as part of a network of such defences, and abandoned the following year once the threat of invasion was over,…
…this particular pillbox would have covered a roadblock set up down the road had the Germans actually come.
What makes this pillbox even more interesting,…
…is what still remains inside.
This is a Turnbull machine gun mounting, its cradle attached to a steel loophole frame fixed to the inside of the embrasure with the attached gun bar projecting towards us, on to which could be fitted, in this example,…
…a Bren light machine gun (the information board shows a Bren in situ), although there were Turnbulls with different gun bars for different types of machine gun.
The device allowed precise vertical and lateral movement and, of course, ensured much better stability for the gun and gunner; it had a traverse of 90°, an elevation of 11 1/2°, and could be depressed up to 12°.
The loophole mountings for the Turnbull…
…can still be seen in the centre of three openings, the fourth, on the left, now missing, although three of its retaining bolts are still in evidence.
The cradle could be easily moved from one embrasure to another, if required, by the simple procedure of lifting it off the pivot bearings on one mounting and slotting into those on another.
I presume the ambush site would have been somewhere down there.
The steps in the embrasures are to prevent bullets from deflecting off the sides…
…and finding their way inside the pillbox. Simple, effective, and not something we find on our Flanders travels.
The Turnbull machine gun mounting, viewed from outside the pillbox.
A major vote of thanks, I think, to the guys who stepped in, only a couple of years ago, when the houses were about to be built and the pillbox demolished, to ensure that it was listed and thus preserved.