Paglesham is a vast expanse of mostly rural land surrounded by earthen seawalls of the common pre-North Sea Flood style witnessed across the Essex coastline. These protect it from the River Crouch and Roach. As well as requiring protection from the water, in 1940 it needed protection from what might exploit these waterways. Operation Sealion was the planned invasion of England by a German onslaught in the early Second World War. This would have seen German landing craft containing enemy troops hitting the English coastline after crossing the waters from the western European mainland. We were able to find four pillboxes across Paglesham, built for use by the Home Guard to defend the coastline at this crucial time. These pillboxes are all of common Type 24 design (irregular hexagon) which feature five rifle loopholes and one side with a doorway protected by two pistol loops. The second shown here featured an unusual stepped entrance way, and the fourth a set of steps cut into the bank of the seawall leading up to it from the fields; whether this is original or not we do not know. They featured the usual interior blast-walls to contain the effects of a grenade entering the pillbox. Whilst an invasion seemed inevitable in the summer of 1940, fortunately it never was launched by Mr. Hitler following the prolonged Battle of Britain and Germany’s changing attention to the Soviet Union.
Please note that whilst pillboxes 2-4 can be seen publicly along the seawall, the first is on private farmland and so cannot be publicly visited.