Pillbox – Queen Street

Pill boxes where a very important part of Britain’s WW2 military history, constructed very crudely from reinforced concrete, these structures were designed to protect anything the military deemed worthy of protecting.  The location of our Pill Box would suggest that it was placed to guard the railway line close by.

Our box is a Type 22 Pill Box and it is located in the field between Bunwell Road and Queens Street.  Also known officially as the fw3/22, these were of a hexagonal design with walls anywhere between 12 to 25 inches in width.

One of the areas for most variation will be found in the shape of the Loopholes and the internal provision of weapon rests.  There appears to be no hard and fast rules but the norm for the Type 22 Pillbox, essentially designed for use by riflemen, is to have Loops splayed to the outside. Some of these Loops are sometimes found to be complete pre-fabricated units anything up to two feet square (60 x 60cm) simply inserted into the framework. In other cases the splay is formed by bricks or by shuttering giving a concrete Loophole; often both will have a pre-formed concrete lintel, and some have projecting sills.

A further example consists of a stepped splay where pre-formed concrete blocks are used as one-piece steps.   Loopholes were sometimes furnished with flip-up shutters of wood or asbestos, or with steel shutters pivoting vertically. The provision for the rifleman to rest his elbow and ammunition clip is usually a wooden shelf mounted on iron bars built into the wall a little below the Loophole. Some of these shelves were hinged.   However, many Type 22 Pillboxes are so crudely built that Loopholes are little more than holes in the wall, wider on the outside than on the inside.

A soldier of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment, mans a trench near a pillbox at Great Yarmouth, 31 July – 2 August 1940
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