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Report - Whitburn Rifle Range, Sunderland, Feb 13

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by H1971, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. H1971

    H1971 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

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    Out with Magpie423 taking some shots down the beach, passed this place on going back home, so it was rude not to have a little peak, not much to see I'm afraid but hey it's somewhere else to tick off the list.
    History pinched from Magpie's report :p:
    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have raised concerns about the inclusion of the
    now-disused Whitburn Rifle Ranges site within the designated Green Belt in a
    listing of the most important known archaeological sites in the borough (margin
    text on page 36 in support of Policy DM6).
    Five firing ranges, one of 40yds, one of 600yds and three of 500yds. This is possibly associated with a
    group of buildings on Mill Lane which may be barrack blocks. The earliest representation of these ranges
    seen so far is on the 1921 OS 6" map. This area was once part of the medieval field system associated
    with Whitburn village (HER 887). Sections of the medieval ridge and furrow earthworks were scraped away
    to create the ranges but elsewhere within the site boundary, evidence of the former cultivation system can
    be clearly seen. World War One practice trenches can be seen on aerial photographs. The land for the
    range was bought from Sir John Sherburn by the Territorial Force Association in 1912. The camp was
    occupied by the Regular Army throughout the First World War and wooden huts were built for a garrison
    approaching battalion strength. A trench system was dug using the characteristic ‘Greek Key’ pattern of
    firing bays and communication trenches. After the war the camp reverted to the Territorial Association until
    the Regular Army returned between1939-45. During this period, some of the trenches of the earlier war
    were re-excavated. By 1953 the wooden huts of the First War were replaced by the modern brick
    bungalows which today stand on the range. This work was carried out between 1954 and 1962, providing
    accommodation for approximately 250 troops. During the 1960s the Royal Engineers carried out ground
    clearance works, eliminating the ‘bumps and hollows’ between the butts and the camp and removing
    almost all traces of the trench system. At the same time concrete pillboxes were demolished and
    destroyed.
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    Enjoy :)
     

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