Aldershot Command’s 8-Sided Pillbox

Eight sided bulletproof pillbox defending both Curzon Railway Bridge and Basingstoke Canal Bridge to Pirbright Barracks in Surrey.

Eight sided bulletproof pillbox defending railway and Basingstoke Canal bridges leading into Pirbright Barracks in Surrey.

Hampshire and Surrey Bullet Proof  Variant.

Only nine examples of this bullet proof pillbox survive making it one of the rarest local designs found within Aldershot Command in both Hampshire and Surrey.

Similar in appearance to a standard type 22 this small defence has eight sides instead of six, the majority of survivors are concentrated close to the military bases of Pirbright Barracks and RAF Odiham where three survive as perimeter airfield defence.  An example was demolished in 1986 on the Basingstoke Canal to allow for the pivoting of new lock gates at Lock 12 Brookwood, Surrey, this 8 sided pillbox originally covered the A322 Bagshot Rd Canal Bridge and crossroads.

Additional examples can be found at Coxbridge Farm on the outskirts of Farnham, Hancock’s Farm at Crookham and at Crondall in Surrey.

Most are well positioned to give effective all round fields of fire on farmland or at important road junctions such as where the A325 joins the A31 Alton Road at Farnham.

The well known 8 Sided pillbox that features in Henry Wills Pillboxes book. Junction of Furze Rd Pirbright, Surrey.

The well known 8 Sided pillbox that features in Henry Wills “Pillboxes” book.
Junction of Furze Hill Road Pirbright, Surrey.

A new and un recorded 8 sided pillbox in Aldershot Command, this pillbox defends a main road approach into a village. Note a very unusual central table in place of blast wall, straight shelves and white washed interior. Tim Denton April 2014

A new and un recorded 8 sided pillbox in Aldershot Command, this pillbox defends a main road approach into a village.
Note a very unusual central table in place of blast wall, straight shelves and white washed interior.
Tim Denton April 2014

Design feature variations depending on site.

  • Number of loopholes,examples at Odiham have four embrasures, position can vary in alternate walls depending on  defence location.
  • Square embrasure castings or basic rectangular brick finished.
  • Most are dug in with some having steps down.
  • Low loophole protected entrance, some have half height blast wall.
  • Hinged flameproof loophole flaps.
  • Stencil or hand painted numbering on inner wall.
  • Bulletproof walls between 18 and 24 inches thick.
  • Internal central pillar can be square or rectangular, or omitted altogether.
  • Odiham pillboxes have traces of disruptive paint and surviving wire mesh on roof for camouflage.
  • Camouflage roofline made from an undulating concrete finish such as Pirbright examples.
  • Concrete or brick shuttered inside and out.
  • All have a continuous concrete curved radius firing platform running around the inside
  • One example with central table in lieu of blast wall.

 

Locations of 8 sided examples

Firs Lane, Odiham SU730508

Coxbridge Farm, Farnham SU827459

Curzon Bridge, Pirbright SU920561

Furze Hill, Pirbright SU932561

Text, Plans and Pictures by Tim Denton March 2013.

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