Freiston Shore in World War 2

WW2

Photo by Barnes collection

Remnant of Pillbox

FREISTON SHORE IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR

Freiston Shore was fortified in 1940 against enemy landing.  The area lies at the edge of the Fen landscape east of Boston at a point where it merges with salt marsh and sand banks before the open sea.

In 1940-41, the shore coastal area was part of ‘A’ Sector of the Lincolnshire coast, defended in July 1940 by the 131st Infantry Brigade, and then later by the 212th Infantry Brigade, of the 1st (Lincoln County) Division of I Corps. 

In addition to the battalion forward defended localities, Freiston Shore was also the site of an Emergency Coast Defence Battery.  The battery was operational by mid-June 1940, the two 6” MkVII guns being manned by the 321st Coast Battery RA.  The gun emplacements were disguised as bungalows, with camouflage pitched roofs.

In 1940 troops at Freiston Shore were from the 1/5th Queen’s Royal Regiment, and later, towards the end of July, the 1st Bn. Duke of Wellington’s Regiment when the pillboxes were completed.  In March 1941, the Boston Battalion was the 10th Bn Gloucestershire Regiment which carried out a reorganisation of the defences.

The pillboxes were stocked with ammunition, grenades, and food and water: the white concrete was darkened with mud, and sharp outlines broken up by earth and grass.  Accommodation for the defending troops at Freiston Shore, when no on duty, was in the nearby Marine Hotel and Nissen Huts.

Alongside the RSPB Carpark at the shore is a tall type 22 pillbox with a solid upper structure probably intended as the base for an anti-aircraft gun.  It is rendered with pebble dashing to assist in its camouflage.  Between the gun emplacements of the coastal battery is a rectangular three-bayed ‘Lincolnshire-type’ pillbox with the anti-aircraft gun mount still present in its central open chamber.

The battery at Freiston Shore was an Examination Battery so the Navy could escort suspect merchant ships to anchor under the guns, until cleared to proceed.  It was therefore manned by regular troops well into the war and later by the home guard after the threat of invasion had become less acute.

The evidence of a number of pill boxes still remain along the bank at Freiston Shore.

 

Compiled by J Barnes with Information extracted from ‘Report on Freiston Shore (Defence Area 35)

(June 2015)