Operation ‘Cloudburst’



A very clean and intact type 22 saw daylight again on 1st June 2010.



The Pillbox had lain very much overgrown and hidden from view at the rear of the site of the old village hall at East Stoke near Wareham, Dorset.

Graham had been given the chance to uncover the defence as a project to highlight Dorset’s WW2 forgotten military history. Adjoining the site is a very dilapidated Home Guard Ammunition Store that is now beyond rescue.

Located beside the Bere Regis to Wareham road, the pillbox was in a position to form part of a roadblock as well as covering the railway and River Frome to the south.

Armed with a chainsaw and the usual cutting gear we met early on what turned out to be a wet but warm summer day. We spent a good 5 hours working on the obscured building so engrossed in the work that we became oblivious to just how soaked we both were!

The saw was needed to remove several trees that had fallen and were leaning against the roof of the Type 22. The surrounding area was thick with undergrowth and foliage as well as stinging nettles and other plant growth.

All of this was removed and piled in an area to be burnt at a later date.

To get inside of this pillbox it was a case of crouching down and crawling in via its low protected doorway. The entrance covering proved handy as it was the only way to get on the roof with ease!

Once inside the pillbox is very spacious with plenty of headroom with the interior divided by a simple straight wall. What was apparent was the strange finish on the inner walls, which looked liked paper.

Below each of the loopholes two pieces of scaffold tube are inset as if to support some kind of table.

The loopholes were rough cast with one formed with a cement sandbag.

I thought it was worthwhile to take some measurements to record and produce an accurate plan drawing as the pillbox did have some interesting features.

The roof had a covering of debris with a fallen tree that proved stubborn to remove. Like on previous work a carpet of ivy with leaf mould and growth was cut away in chunks while both of us heaved and pushed this off the top in large sections. Once clear the top of the pillbox was swept and cleaned off to expose a central hole and large rusty metal bolts embedded in the outer most points of the roof top corners.

We believe that the pillbox was fitted with a pointed roof as a disguise using the bolts as a securing point for wires and the hole to support a central pole, my pencil sketch giving an impression of how it may have appeared.



This Type 22 is yet another pillbox that is not recorded on the Defence of Britain database.

Many thanks to Councillor BARRY QUINN for obtaining the landowners permission on behalf of the Pillbox Study Group

Restoration Of A Type 22 Pillbox. East Stoke, Dorset. by Graham G Matthews & Tim Denton

NGR: SY 87195-87093

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Defence Structures and sites of all types both above and below ground can be very dangerous. Serious injury or even death can arise from unauthorised entry into such sites and structures. Join a responsible club, group or society who can arrange official visits. The Pillbox Study Group accepts no responsibility for any damages or injuries caused by ignoring this advice. The PSG does not encourage members to undertake the ad hoc clearance of vegetation from pillboxes, as it can expose them to physical damage and inappropriate use, it may also contravene a variety of statutory regulations including, listed buildings and SSSI designations. Vegetation clearance should only ever be undertaken as part of a formal arrangement, having sought and obtained permission from the land owner and other necessary authorities. Damaging a listed or scheduled monument can be considered as a Heritage Crime.

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