The GHQ Line, Aldershot Command (See O.S. 50,000 Map 186)
A Concentration of Vickers Medium Machine Gun Pillboxes
Although the G.H.Q. Line is well equipped with 2pdr A.T. Gun and 6pdr Q.F. Gun pillboxes, very few pillboxes were built for the Vickers Heavy Machine Gun and today only sixteen Vickers pillboxes can be seen along the Line. Compared to the Taunton Stop Line or sections of the Coastal Crust this is a very small number. The majority of the G.H.Q. Line Vickers pillboxes were built in the Aldershot Command area between Reading and Farnham.
The southern approaches to Chequers Bridge over the Basingstoke Canal near Crookham Village are protected by three Vickers pillboxes and a number of Infantry Pillboxes. Chequers Bridge (SU 793 517) is situated about 1000 yards north behind the G.H.Q. Line at the point the Line leaves the Basingstoke Canal and follows an anti-tank ditch to. the River Wey at Farnham.
Both Chequers Bridge and Crookham Lane are situated on high ground that overlooks the G.H.Q. line to the south-west. This high ground extends from the bridge southwards to Hancocks Farm. Below Hancocks Farm the land drops suddenly to Coxmoor Wood and Faulkners Copse.
The G.H.Q. Line leaves the canal at Coxmoor Bridge (SU 785 512) and runs south-east across Coxmoor Wood to the A287 road.
In Coxmoor Wood the anti-tank obstacle was formed by a double row of Standard Concrete Cylinders. Over 750 concrete obstacles were required to cover the 500 yards of Line through Coxmoor Wood.
Between Coxmoor Wood and Faulkners Copse a small gap of open countryside allows access up the hill to Hancocks Farm and Chequers Bridge. The gap was closed by an anti-tank ditch running from the concrete obstacles in Coxmoor Wood to Triggs Farm south-east of Faulkners Copse. A single Type 24 Infantry Pillbox (SU 788 509) fired along the obstacles and the ditch.
On the edge of Falkers Copse (SU 788 509) a modified Type 29 Infantry Pillbox faces back to Coxmoor Wood. In front of the wood line towards Mill Lane (SU 789 507) a lone Type 22 Infantry Pillbox defends the southern side of Falkers Copse.
Up on the hill above Hancocks Farm two Vickers Heavy Machine Gun Pillboxes defend the open ground between Coxmoor Wood and Falkers Copse. The Vickers pillbox nearest the farm buildings (SU 790 512) fires directly down the hill through the gap in the woods. Set further north (SU 789 514) the the second Vickers pillbox fires across the western edge of the hill and in front of the first pillbox. Both of the pillboxes are the standard Vickers design easily recognised by their large external blast walls which protect the side entrance.
To protect the western flank of both Vickers pillboxes an eight sided bullet-proof Infantry Pillbox is situated on the edge of the hill firing down the slope to Coxmoor Wood (SU 789 513).
From its commanding position on a small hill south of Poulters Bridge (SU 796 515) the third Vickers Pillbox fires west across Crookham Lane in front of Chequers Bridge. From this position the pillbox also fires across the lane towards the two other Vickers pillboxes.
Known Pillboxes in the Chequers Bridge area:
- Concrete Cylinders SU 785 512 to 787 509 750 plus
- Type 24 Infantry Pillbox (demolished) SU 787 594
- Type 24 Infantry Pillbox SU 787 509
- Modified Type 24 Infantry Pillbox SU 788 508
- Type 22 Infantry Pillbox SU 789 507
- Vickers MMG Pillbox SU 790 512
- Vickers MMG Pillbox SU 790 514
- Eight sided Infantry Pillbox SU 789 513
- Vickers MMG Pillbox SU 796 515
Adapted from an article by Colin Alexander in Loopholes No 11 March 1995
All photographs by Tim Denton