Second World War gun battery unearthed on north Norfolk coast

Part of a Second World War bunker has been unearthed at Skelding Hill, just west of Sheringham. 

Part of a Second World War bunker has been unearthed at Skelding Hill, just west of Sheringham. - Credit: Clare Page

The remains of what is thought to be a Second World War gun battery have been unearthed on the north Norfolk coast. 

Part of the brick structure at Skelding Hill, just to the west of Sheringham, has been revealed by a work crew working on a Norfolk County Council upgrade of the Norfolk Coast Path.

Christopher Bird, from Kingston upon Thames, who has penned a book on north Norfolk's Second World War sea defences, said it was an "exciting discovery". 

Mr Bird said: "Remains of Norfolk’s batteries are thin on the ground, so I very much hope that these remains can be properly recorded and saved for the future."

He said the battery was built around 1940 when Britain faced the threat of invasion by the Germans. 

Mr Bird said Norfolk had 14 such 'emergency' batteries of which the only ones in still in relatively good condition were at King’s Lynn, Mundesley and Happisburgh.

He said that although its location had been known beforehand, the remains of the Sheringham battery were thought to have been demolished decades ago.

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Mr Bird said: "The discovery of what appears to be one of the gun platforms - which would have mounted one of the two six-inch guns - is exciting.

"The battery’s guns would almost certainly have come from a First World War battleship, mothballed at the end of that conflict for future use, and brought out of storage when large numbers of guns were needed at short notice for these emergency batteries."

"The bunker is very likely to be part of the battery’s large underground complex - which provided storage for the shells for the guns, and protection for the crew."

North Walsham militaria enthusiast and pillbox expert Ian Clark said it was important the remains be preserved.

He said: “This is quite an important discovery, it has been hidden for many years.”

John Jones, head of environment at Norfok County Council, said it was looking at how it could present the site.

“The gun battery is now visible following the removal of some vegetation which formed part of ongoing work along this popular coastal path" he said.

"Once the works have been completed at the end of April we are exploring the option of installing an information board which will explain the history of the site.”