80-year-old aerial photo shows Second World War beach defences
- Credit: Historic England
An aerial photo taken more than 80 years ago shows coastal defences on the north Norfolk coast during the Second World War.
The anti-invasion measures on the stretch of beach between Bacton and Walcott included scaffolding built to form a long linear barrier along the beach.
A closer look at the photo, which was taken from an RAF plane in August 1941, shows anti-tank cubes arranged in lines between the buildings fronting the beach.
The hexagonal pillbox protected the access to the roads away from the beach.
The pillbox is one of around 28,000 such structures built around the British coast during the Second World War in response to the threat of Nazi invasion.
If a landing force attempted to storm the coastline, they would have given cover to machine gunners and mortar operators fighting them off.
The photo also appears to show a gap in the scaffolding, which probably allowed the two beached boats to get to the sea.
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The picture is part of an archive assembled by Historic England on its new Aerial Photograph Explorer.
The online tool allows users to search and explore a map showing more than 400,000 such photos of the east of England taken over the past 100 years.
Some of the pictures reveal cropmarks showing hidden archaeology beneath the surface of fields.
Around 300,000 of these are the work of Historic England's aerial investigation and mapping team.
Tony Calladine, east of England regional director for Historic England, said: "I am delighted that our new online tool will allow people to browse our wonderful collection of historic aerial photos that my team uses every day to unlock the mysteries of England's past.
"The remarkable pictures of the east of England give a fascinating insight into our local area, allowing people to see how their street and their town centre looked wheen their great grandparents lived there."
To search the platform, visit https://HistoricEngland.org.uk/AerialPhotos