This site was part of the defenses for the huge Euxton / Chorley ROF site. It is the remains of an anti-aircraft gun and an adjacent pillox - quite a rare site. When we heard that it was under threat from development we thought we should go and record what was there. Fortunately, the developers chose to protect the site - first by carrying out a full archaeological survey. Then by preserving the site itself.
See new photos of how it looks post-development at the bottom of the page.
Timing is everything, and we were also lucky to see the site after the archaeological excavation had been completed. The dig was carried out by Pre Construct Archaeology on behalf of Redrow Homes.
The walk up was idillic (left) and as you came up the hill you could understand why this spot was chosen (right).
The new fences marking out the public footpath seemed to be to protect the imminent housing estate. Individual plots were marked out and some initial work had begun. We were just in time to see the site as it would have been - without houses blocking the view.
According to the archaeological report by Pre Construct Archaeology the site: "consisted of a type DFW3/23 pillbox and an attached AA gun emplacement designed to accommodate a static Bofors 40mm light anti-aircraft (LAA) gun. The structures were built in brick and concrete. The pillbox comprised a roofed square chamber, backed by an open platform with a mounting for a Lewis AA light machine gun (LMG).
The adjoining LAA gun emplacement was a circular structure comprising four main elements: external brick walls and ammunition bays; inner concrete floor surface with drainage system; centrally-located concrete holdfast pedestal for the Bofors gun and; raised pedestal on which an anti-aircraft fire-control predictor would have been sited."
The report goes on to say that:
"It was probably built in the late summer or autumn of 1940, with documentary evidence indicating that four static Bofors guns were deployed by 80th LAA Battery of the 21st LAA Regiment in defence of the factory in mid-November of that year. The static guns were replaced by mobile Bofors guns the following February and it is likely that the LAA emplacement on Lucas Green went out of use after that date, although the pillbox was probably manned for some time after that,
possibly by the Home Guard in 1943-44.
The report concludes that the site is rare and worth preserving:
"The Lucas Green installation survives in exceptional condition, with the exception if the now
demolished upper part of the wall of the LMG platform of the pillbox. In overall terms, surviving World War Two LAA gun sites are relatively rare, with approximately only 40, out of the total of approximately 1,250 that were originally built in Britain, surviving to any coherent extent. Ground emplacements for static Bofors guns are particularly rare and the Lucas Green example is notable amongst this very small sub-group for its exceptional degree of preservation. With regards to its association with a pillbox, the Lucas Green LAA gun emplacement is potentially unique in the UK, certainly in terms of surviving examples."
Dave Griffin very kindly sent us some updated photos when he visited the site recently. Many thanks again Dave.
As you can see the houses are all built but the site has been protected. And best of all they have put in place an interpretation board so that visitors know what it is they are looking at.
Well done Redrow Homes