Barming Bridge

River Medway and Barming Bridge.

Ngr TQ725539

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Over grown Type 24 Pillbox covering Barming Bridge, the Anti tank emplacement is just yards behind..
Picture by David Ottway.

I had observed the two ivy clad structures in the bottom of an apple orchard just east of the rail bridge over a minor road from the village of Barming and the river bridge over the River Medway some time ago.

I have only recently through a friend received permission to have a look at these structures close up.

Viewing towards Barming Bridge over River Medway the Type 28 anti-tank pillbox is just yards from type 24. Although there is nothing remarkable about the two almost side by side pillboxes, one being a shell proof type 24 and the other a basic type 28 anti-tank pillbox for a Hotchkiss gun, what they guarded is more interesting.

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Close up of Hotchkiss embrasure.

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Anti-tank gun hold fast. Note the gun ring is missing.

The bridge over the Rver Medway here was made entirely of wood and the maximum weight of a vehicle that could cross it was three tons! There has been a wooden bridge here from about 1742 to the early 1990s when owing to flood damage to the structure the wooden bridge was taken down and some time later a single walkway for pedestrians was put up over the river. In 1940 there would been a wooden bridge here and it would not have been able to take tanks or armoured cars, the most it could take would be a very small lorry or a motorcycle and sidecar had the Germans wished to use it.

The question is why should an anti-tank pillbox be sited here where just the type 24 would have sufficed?, the Medway Valley is quite steep on both sides of the river here and the only “Operation Sea Lion” map i have had a good look at shows a crossing further west over the stone bridge at Teston where the Medway Valley is quite abit more shallow than at Barming.

Please note: these pillboxes are on private property and prior permission is required to view them.

By David Ottway

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