Pillbox back in business

Pillbox B7/2

Sussex military historians staged an intriguing exhibition inside a long-disused concrete pillbox on Rye Harbour Nature Reserve on Sunday August 4.

Military historian and pillbox enthusiast Peter Hibbs was on hand to explain the history behind the pillboxes scattered along the river Rother and across the Nature Reserve.

With the declaration of war in 1939 there was a desperate rush to protect the UK’s vulnerable coastline. The concrete pillboxes at the mouth of the river Rother were built in 1940 in a matter of days and housed teams of Vickers machine guns to cover the low-lying beach of Camber Sands and westwards towards Winchelsea Beach. As part of the display a Vickers machine gun was in place overlooking Camber Sands (see picture).

By April 1941, after only eight months, the pillboxes were abandoned and the line of defence moved inland. After the end of the Second World War many of the pillboxes were demolished or succumbed to the elements and collapsed but in 2018 volunteers from the Sussex Military History Society and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve cleared out B7/2, as the pillbox by the red-roofed hut is known, to make it accessible to the public.

This is one of the many walks and talks that Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is hosting this summer. The next event is Moths by Moonlight on Sunday, August 11 at 8:30pm and Camber Castle for Children on Tuesday August 13. For a full listing of the summer events go to the Nature Reserves’s website.

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .


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