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Report - - Ironsides Line Pillboxes, Reading December 2019 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Ironsides Line Pillboxes, Reading December 2019


mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
This sort of thing is far from my usual fare, however knowing there was a pillbox in the area with a Ford Cortina inside, it gave me a little extra enthusiasm to go and see if I could find it as I knew roughly where it was but not it's exact location. Luckily we also had Spuduka's exceptional Pillbox map for the area which made it a hell of a lot easier to keep track of them all.

The GHQ (General Headquarters Line) or 'Ironsides Line', so-called after Sir Edmund Ironside, CO of the Home Guard, was a system of static defence lines across the UK started in June 1940 after British soldiers had abandoned most of their equipment in Dunkirk. It was designed to delay and frustrate any German invasion attempt by compartmentalising the country, using both natural and man-made defences. Over 50 lines were constructed across the country and the GHQ Line was the longest and most important of them all being so close to London. The "green" section of the GHQ Line ran from the northern end of the Taunton Stop Line near Highbridge in Somerset, along the River Brue, across the Mendips from Wells and following the railway from Masbury into the Wellow valley. This joined the "blue" line which followed the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading. The green line continued from Bradford-on-Avon along the river to Malmesbury where it met the "red" line which ran to Abingdon, along the Thames to Pangbourne and rejoined the blue line at Theale. The green line continued to Avening then down the valley to Framilode, protecting the strategic areas of Bristol, Avonmouth, and Sharpness. The eastern line was to run inland of the coast from Essex to Edinburgh but was not completed. London was protected by the concentric rings of the Outer London Defence Ring.

The 'red' Line of defence, a small part of which we wandered today, contains the highest concentration of Type 28 Twin Pillboxes in the country, 23 sets were built in one small area around Pangbourne and 19 are still visible today. I think along a mile or so stretch of the line we poked around in six or seven pillboxes, all Type 28s bar one 22. A couple were totally sealed but most were open, and we did indeed find the one with the Ford Cortina inside which made my day totally worthwhile. It would appear that the pillbox in question was being used as some sort of unofficial workshop/storage area as it's full of old junk none of which is newer than the early 1990s and instead of it being emptied they simply backfilled the main entrance doorway and left it.

























And then, jackpot.









Thanks for looking :)​
 

mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
Good to see some better photos

..and good to have that confirmed.
The doorway was directly behind the rear of the car and some of the fill had buried the boot area, the doorway was probably only just wide enough to fit the car through. It's definitely a 28 as it's the only sort big enough to accomodate a car.
 

westernsultan

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thank you for posting this especially the sign from Pangbourne Coaches. There are a few pictures of their vehicles, but very little history. Looks like fifteen vehicles bought new between 1949 and 1982. It appears that operations ceased in 1985. Still searching for more information.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Bit different for you. Nice shots there. Ah the days of the Cortina, long gone, but into a pill box that`s different. Nice natural shots, like this :thumb
 

DarkSin19

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Great day and awesome report buddy! Captured some lovely natural shots there
 

Pricy91

28DL Member
28DL Member
I grow up looking in these bunkers. The only one i havent been in is the one with the car in will have to try and find it!
 

Jackdaw47

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Did you have a hard time finding these pillboxes, what direction did they face were they set up for crossfire?
the reason I ask was as a kid used to check out pillboxes around North Weald airfield in Essex, they would have them dotted around but not as big as these.
I wonder what it would take to restore that cortina :cool: good info and pics.
 

obscurity

Flaxenation of the G!!!
Regular User
would never expect to see a TOX 06 tag in there nor the car to be fair haha.
 

Angelsfire83

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
This is awesome. A friend of mineis from Reading but live here in Australia. We stay in Reading every year when we come for our annual heavy metal festivals. We have explored some great sites there,some which are no longer there. We heard about the pillboxes and want to see them. Afew years ago we followed a map of where Reading was bombed in the war to look for the rumored bomb creators and found them. I will have to dig the pics I took out
 

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