Posted: 4 October 2010 21:08
Since starting the Roadblock Project in July 2008, further information has come to light and I've revisited a few sites, some by chance and some on purpose and have uncovered a few extant remains.
The first site is in Hailsham and consists of this socket. Hailsham was recce number 4 over two years ago when I was just starting out.
This photo was actually taken then, but at that time I was uncertain as to whether this really was a socket despite the Roadblock Report indicating that there were sockets at this location.
A recent visit as an older (wiser?) historian confirms that this is a socket, so my assertion in 2008 that in Hailsham "not a single piece of evidence remains" was not accurate.
So I was aware of this socket, but just not confident enough to positively identify it as such at that that time.
The next missed evidence was in Lewes, and comprises a single buoy, abandoned on some waste ground near the Snowdrop Inn.
I recorded 18 buoys a short distance up the road on the boundary of a car park back in March 2009; these all had domed caps as opposed to the standard flat top with central shaft for a crowbar.
This straggler is unmodified and unpainted, but no longer forgotten.
The final site is at Kingston Near Lewes and is one bearing some interesting evidence, all of which I completely overlooked back in October 2008. The photo below shows the location of a pillbox and a line of three pimples in a dense hedgerow; these latter have only become visible due to the vegetation being cut back; thanks to Nick W. for bringing these to my attention.
I'm not the first person to have overlooked these pimples though; Lieutenant Taylor who compiled the Roadblock Report lists six cylinders and 28 buoys at this block, but no pimples.
At the time of his survey, the roadblock was considered redundant and so no futher development of it was required, meaning the pimples must have been there when he visited.
A bit of number-crunching through his report reveals that Lt. Taylor visited a total of 34 roadblocks on the day he was here; that I consider myself exceptionally lucky to investigate 10 roadblock sites in a day indicates how fatigued (or fed up) he probably was with concrete-spotting. The previous day he had inspected 20 roadblocks in the Rye area; his excursion for this day (at the other extreme end of East Sussex) would see him move from Newhaven all the way up to Uckfield. It may be that Taylor didn't bother to record permanent obstacles at redundant blocks as their presence was academic; portable obstacles such as cylinders and buoys were relevant as they could be relocated to bolster more important blocks.
Whatever the reason, if the wartime expert could miss out the odd lump of concrete here and there, then hopefully I can be excused the odd oversight whilst following in his footsteps!
Small concrete roadblock obstacle comprising a truncated cone with domed base. A hollow shaft down the centre allowed the buoy to be manhandled using a crowbar. Buoys were deemed of little value by 1941 and cylinders seen as a better solution.
Reinforced concrete cylindrical obstacles with a shaft down the centre in which could be inserted a crowbar for manhandling, or a picket for barbed wire. Cylinders were 90cm high and 60cm wide and deployed in groups of three as a more effective alternative for buoys.
Generic term for a hardened field defensive structure usually constructed from concrete and/or masonry. Pillboxes were built in numerous types and variants depending on location and role.
Small anti-tank block in the form of a truncated pyramid. Pimples were used to extend anti-tank obstacles and roadblocks and were intended for use on soft ground.
Concrete-lined shafts dug into road surfaces into which rails or RSJs (hairpin or straight) could be inserted to form a roadblock. When not in use, a wooden cover was placed over each socket.
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Hibbs, Peter Roadblock Recce (32) - revisits (2017) Available at: http://pillbox.org.uk/blog/216667/ Accessed: 22 September 2017
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