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Report - - Spurn Point WW1/2 defences 25/08/07 | Military Sites |

Report - Spurn Point WW1/2 defences 25/08/07

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Mark V

I visited the Spurn Point area over the Bank Holiday, this "mini explore" was incorporated into a walk with a mate, and should give you a flavour of what's to be found. It didn't help that I was wearing shorts (hot day) which offer insufficient protection against the thorn bushes or insects down there :-) - No idea when I'll have time to go back unfortunately....

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Spurn Point (which had previously been pretty much a wilderness with a small community of lighthouse keepers and lifeboatmen) was purchased by the War Department prior to the outbreak of the First World War with the intention of building fortifications to protect the Humber Estuary. A gun battery was duly built at the northern end of the peninsula at Kilnsea (Godwin Battery - with a more substantial fort and barracks at the southern tip; these were linked by a standard gauge railway line as no roads or tracks existed. At the southern end the railway ran on to a wooden jetty to allow materials to be unloaded from ships. Concrete sea defences were built to protect the fortifications and railway from coastal erosion. The two river forts at Bull and Haile Sands completed the defensive chain protecting the Humber.

After the war the defences were placed in “care and maintenance†and the guns removed from Spurn Fort. During the Second World War the fort’s defences were updated and expanded to include anti-aircraft defences and a concrete road was built to improve access.

The defences were run down again after WW2 and following the abolition of Coastal Defence artillery in 1956 the land was sold to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve. The concrete sea wall was not maintained for cost reasons and was rapidly outflanked by the sea and has now been virtually destroyed - despite the constant threat from the sea the peninsula has not yet been severed. The lighthouse is no longer used but the community of lifeboatmen and Humber Pilots remain in residence.

Many of the military buildings on Spurn have been demolished, though some of the more substantial ones remain. The whole area is greatly overgrown with Buckthorn bushes and drifting sand has effectively buried other remains……..

Gun Emplacement(?) on the east (seaward) side of the point, the sand has drifted up blocking the rear entrance to the left side (though it's possible it was accessed via a tunnel):


The point where the railway headed out onto the pier (demolished in the early 1990's), note pillbox in the background:


Lurking in the undergrowth, a half buried bunker - not sure of its original purpose (even looking at a map it's hard to work out what's what), the sand has drifted up to and into it:


Interior of the bunker:


WW2 Engine room, new Pilot's observation station tower thingy in background and remains of WW2 barrack buildings below and right of:


Emplacement for WW2 6 pounder gun (one of two emplacements in situ) - right under the crosshir in the FE link:


The access road to the 6 pounder emplacement:

One of the two 9.2" gun emplacements built in WW1, this is the same as the ones on the beach at Kilnsea. The emplacement was adapated in WW2 to take three 3.7" HAA guns forming Humber GDA site H13:


Looking west towards the Humber from the 9.2" emplacement with the holdfast bolts for a 3.7" gun to the left of the yellow flowers, new lifeboat jetty in the background:


More to come when I find the time to upload more pics - Enjoy!