Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Anti-Invasion Defences

In the early years of the Second World War, when we feared an attepted invasion was bound to happen, Britain built various types of anti-invasion defences. The most obvious ones, Pillboxes, can be seen to this day. But others are harder to spot and this page records a few of these.

 

The belief at the time was that Germany would attack by a combination of air invasion and a sea assault. On most of the invasions up to that point, Germany had sent troops in first by parachute or glider prior to the main invasion. And therefore Britain tried to defend against this. Lancashire still has remnants of anti-glider trenches, anti-glider posts and possibly deliberate sign post damage.

 

Elsewhere on this site we also have Barrage Balloons, anti-aircraft guns, pillboxes, stop-lines, and anti-tank cylinders all are other parts of Lancashire's anti-invasion defences.

Peel Park 2

In 'The Spirit of Haslingden and Helmshore: The 20th Century in Photographs' by Chris Aspin and J. Simpson, there is a photograph of a railway sleeper on end with the following quotation:

Near Haslingden High School "close to the playing field in Green Lane. The railway sleeper was one of several hundred driven into the ground between Broadway and Greens Lane to deter enemy aircraft from landing".

 

Today, the railway sleeper has been consumed by the hedgerow (Two photos - ABOVE LEFT) and is less clear than in the 1990's photo in the book.

However, just a few yards away we found the remnants of another (ABOVE RIGHT - two photos).

 

Elsewhere, in Bury, there is a reference on a local Golf Course of anti-invasion posts being erected. If we manage to find the relevant reference and even get to the site to record the evidence we will post it here.

 

Other anti-landing obstacles used during WW2 included: Drainage pipes, old cars, baths, scrap metal, wooden spikes......in fact anything that could be found locally to do the job. Thankfully these defences were never tested.

Anti Glider trenches Ramsbottom

ABOVE: Anti-glider trenches still visible on Google Earth. These are at Peel Park, Accrington.

We have a whole page about these trenches HERE

 

LEFT: Part of a map of anti-glider trenches for Ramsbottom. They are drawn in pencil.

Courtesy of Bury Archives. Our thanks for their permission to use this image.

 

See our page about this map and more images HERE

BELOW: Anti-Landing defences near Haslingden High School - old railway sleepers. CLICK on a photo to enlarge it.

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Confusing the enemy: Remove all Signposts.

 

During WW2, under the threat of invasion, many signposts were removed or disguised so as to confuse any would be invader.

(See famous photo LEFT).

But what about Boundary Stones? Some were hidden or disguised - but were some deliberately defaced? We have found several that have had names removed. Was this done in WW2 or later?

BELOW: A Boundary Stone on Holcombe Road, Greenmount.

All names have been removed but the letters U.D.C. still remain. Was this deliberate damage due to a boundary change or as part of WW2 invasion defences?

ABOVE RIGHT & BELOW RIGHT: Two sides of a boundary stone with all its information removed - Market Street, Edenfield.

 

Why remove the names of places that would still exist after a boundary change? Surely this is more likely a Second World War anti-invasion defence?

LEFT: On Longsite Road, Holcombe Brook, Bury.

Again, all names removed.

 

RIGHT: A Boundary Stone in Turn Village, on Rochdale Road. "Township of......"?

 

BELOW: On Bolton Road between Hawkshaw and Greenmount, Bury.

 

Are these World War Two defacements or are they from a later date?

The ABOVE RIGHT (two pictures) Boundary Stone is credited as a WW2 defacement in 'Further Rossendale Rambles' by Ian Goldthorpe: On Page 74: "Just before View Cottage note the old boundary stone, which was defaced for security reasons during the Second World War. It was probably erected shortly after Ramsbottom Urban District Council was formed in 1894, and marked the boundary between Ramsbottom and Edenfield"

 

This is the only reference we have of this being a WW2 act.

Please tell us your views if you have a relevant reference which may help.

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