ID: WW2_REM

TitleWorld War 2 remains on Mersea Island
AbstractIn the Summer of 1940, the Essex coast and Southeast England were considered to be a front line against Germany. It was known that an invasion of England was planned by the Germans, and this was a likely area.
Most defences were built on Mersea during 1940, and Army groups were stationed here. Many years later, the defences on Mersea are often crumbling, but can still be found. This article tries to show some of the defence works.

The following pill box locations are known and remains can be found for many of them.
The MCC.... numbers can be used to search https: Colchester Heritage Explorer for more information.

1. East Mersea Stone MCC7266PJH_WRM_330
2. North edge of Cudmore Grove MCC7258TM3_1838
3. Centre of Cudmore Grove MCC7257PJH_WRM_324
4. Northern edge of Coopers Beach caravan park, now destroyed MCC7255
5. Below sea wall at Coopers Beach MCC7256KBC_015
PJH_WRM_311
6. By end of track through Youth Camp. Destroyed. MCC7254
7. Decoy Point MCC7253PJH_WRM_307
8. Beach opposite Empress Avenue
(the base of this appeared after the beach was scoured around 2007, but has not been seen since)
9. By Victoria Esplanade in present-day children's playground. Destroyed. MCC7252 DC13_011
10. Beach opposite Shears Court MCC7250PJH_WRM_345
11. Beach west of Monkey Steps MCC4097TM1_7433
12. North end of Strood, opposite Strood Villa. Destroyed. MCC5043.

Other Remains


Photograph June 2007

Anti-invasion obstacles to west of the Monkey Steps. Concrete blocks with lenths of old tram line concreted in, at an angle with a point just below high water mark. Recorded as Sites and Monuments Record SMR / EHER 21111 and on Colchester Heritage Explorer as MCC4096.


Remains of MOLLIETTE off East Mersea 31 March 2021. Photograph James Pullen

The MOLLIETTE was a concrete coaster built in Faversham in 1919. As a ship, she was not a success. She came to Mersea 1924, as a houseboat and then a club. Her back broken, she was put ashore off East Mersea during WW2 for use as an aircraft target. The remains are only visible on very low tides.


Photograph October 2014

The Lawn, Mill Road, West Mersea. The thick walls were built during WW2 when the building was leased from Dr Neill and used as a First Aid Post and Casualty Station. It is thought that there was an ambulance based there, adapted from Underwoods carrier's van.

Read More
MOLLIETTE - Exordium to Finale by Pat Zierold

SourceMersea Museum
IDWW2_REM
Related Images:
 View looking north of part of Victoria Esplanade, West Mersea. Two Sugars Cafe - Gun No.1 emplacement [MCC7269] to the west of it appears to have been recently demolished. Willoughby Car Park behind.
 Further east by the road in an area that is now a childrens playground, is the hexagonal base of a former pillbox [ Colchester Heritage Explorer MCC7252 ].
 There was also a rocket launcher in this area - just a metal frame. A story from the Home Guard is that when they were firing it later in the War, something went wrong and instead of going out to sea it roared off inland and landed by the Strood. [Ron Green]
</p><p>
The former WW2 searchlight emplacement is lower right.
</p><p>Aerial view from Terence Smith.  DC3_011
ImageID:   DC3_011
Title: View looking north of part of Victoria Esplanade, West Mersea. Two Sugars Cafe - Gun No.1 emplacement [MCC7269] to the west of it appears to have been recently demolished. Willoughby Car Park behind.
Further east by the road in an area that is now a childrens playground, is the hexagonal base of a former pillbox [ Colchester Heritage Explorer MCC7252 ].
There was also a rocket launcher in this area - just a metal frame. A story from the Home Guard is that when they were firing it later in the War, something went wrong and instead of going out to sea it roared off inland and landed by the Strood. [Ron Green]

The former WW2 searchlight emplacement is lower right.

Aerial view from Terence Smith.

Date:c1981
Source:Mersea Museum / David Cooper Collection
 Gunsite in Action. 1947!
 The ammunition is soft drinks and ice cream; the gun-crew Mrs Stoker and Mrs Dawson. But the concrete walls of this unusual Mersea kiosk are reminders that it was built for grimmer purposes.
 It is actually an old searchlight site, and it still exists amongst the beach huts, near Alexandra Avenue.  DM1_AB4_008_003
ImageID:   DM1_AB4_008_003
Title: Gunsite in Action. 1947!
The ammunition is soft drinks and ice cream; the "gun-crew" Mrs Stoker and Mrs Dawson. But the concrete walls of this unusual Mersea kiosk are reminders that it was built for grimmer purposes.
It is actually an old searchlight site, and it still exists amongst the beach huts, near Alexandra Avenue.
Date:27 June 1947
Source:Mersea Museum / David Mussett Collection
 Once a strongpoint in West Mersea's defences against the Nazi invasion, this blockhouse is now a happy rendezvous for holidaymakers and local folk in search of a snack or an ice cream.
 The eastern of the two WW2 gun emplacements along Victoria Esplanade. It was run at the time of the photograph by Mrs Sheldrick and she named it Two Sugars. It is still the Two Sugars Cafe.  DM1_AB4_021_003
ImageID:   DM1_AB4_021_003
Title: Once a strongpoint in West Mersea's defences against the Nazi invasion, this blockhouse is now a happy rendezvous for holidaymakers and local folk in search of a snack or an ice cream.
The eastern of the two WW2 gun emplacements along Victoria Esplanade. It was run at the time of the photograph by Mrs Sheldrick and she named it Two Sugars. It is still the Two Sugars Cafe.
Date:14 October 1949
Source:Mersea Museum
 The Lawn, Mill Road, West Mersea. The thick walls were built during WW2 when the building was leased from Dr Neill and used as a First Aid Post and Casualty Station. It is thought that there was an ambulance based there, adapted from Underwoods carrier's van.  IA01_971
ImageID:   IA01_971
Title: The Lawn, Mill Road, West Mersea. The thick walls were built during WW2 when the building was leased from Dr Neill and used as a First Aid Post and Casualty Station. It is thought that there was an ambulance based there, adapted from Underwoods carrier's van.
Date:October 2014
Source:Mersea Museum
 World War 2 Battery Observation Post at Cudmore Grove. It was the observation post for the Coastal Artillery battery located here in WW2. Erosion has since resulted in the building collapsing onto the beach and slowly disintegrating.
 Photo from Essex Record Office, SMR / EHER 10029 (database no longer exists)  IA01_WW2_003
ImageID:   IA01_WW2_003
Title: World War 2 Battery Observation Post at Cudmore Grove. It was the observation post for the Coastal Artillery battery located here in WW2. Erosion has since resulted in the building collapsing onto the beach and slowly disintegrating.
Photo from Essex Record Office, SMR / EHER 10029 (database no longer exists)
Date:1970s
Source:Mersea Museum
 Jack Botham aerial photograph 2121A. Decoy Point and the cliffs looking towards Cross Lane and the filter beds. Pillbox just visible on Decoy Point. Waldegraves on the right.  JBA_098
ImageID:   JBA_098
Title: Jack Botham aerial photograph 2121A. Decoy Point and the cliffs looking towards Cross Lane and the filter beds. Pillbox just visible on Decoy Point. Waldegraves on the right.
Date:c1962
Source:Mersea Museum / Botham Aerial Views
 Part of Jack Botham Aerial photograph 2125A. Victoria Esplanade car park, Empress Avenue and Alexandra Avenue. There are two former gun emplacement top left. The left (western) one was demolished some years ago. The other is the Two Sugars cafe. The Searchlight cafe is bottom right.  JBA_124_001
ImageID:   JBA_124_001
Title: Part of Jack Botham Aerial photograph 2125A. Victoria Esplanade car park, Empress Avenue and Alexandra Avenue. There are two former gun emplacement top left. The left (western) one was demolished some years ago. The other is the Two Sugars cafe. The Searchlight cafe is bottom right.
Date:c1962
Source:Mersea Museum / Botham Aerial Views
 Coopers Beach, East Mersea, before the sea wall was built. The pillbox is toppling down onto the beach.
 A negative from Bill Smith  KBC_015
ImageID:   KBC_015
Title: Coopers Beach, East Mersea, before the sea wall was built. The pillbox is toppling down onto the beach.
A negative from Bill Smith
Date:c1947
Source:Mersea Museum / Kevin Bruce
 WW2 pillbox on East Mersea Stone.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10035.  LH20_029
ImageID:   LH20_029
Title: WW2 pillbox on East Mersea Stone.
Essex SMR / EHER 10035.
Date:July 1990
Source:Mersea Museum / Rose and Len Harvey Collection
 River Blackwater from source to sea. The cliffs by Cudmore Grove, East Mersea. The former WW2 gun and searchlight emplacements have toppled over the edge and are on their way down to the beach. There were two 4.7 inch gun emplacements here and two searchlight emplacements, plus an observation post, all on top of the cliffs.  LH43_036_001
ImageID:   LH43_036_001
Title: River Blackwater from source to sea. The cliffs by Cudmore Grove, East Mersea. The former WW2 gun and searchlight emplacements have toppled over the edge and are on their way down to the beach. There were two 4.7 inch gun emplacements here and two searchlight emplacements, plus an observation post, all on top of the cliffs.
Date:cApril 1988
Source:Mersea Museum / Rose and Len Harvey Collection
 A Novel Ice-Cream Parlour.
 Mr Dawson is to be congratulated on his second ice-cream parlour, fitted out from a war-time gun site. We hope that this venture will be as successful as the first.
 Putting such a novel use to an otherwise unsightly object is an example of what can be done in the way of making new and effective use of war-time necessities which are no longer required by the government.
 2011 - still going strong, as the Two Sugars Cafe.
 From Mersea Mercury 6 May 1948 Page 3.  MCY_002_P03_001
ImageID:   MCY_002_P03_001
Title: A Novel Ice-Cream Parlour.
Mr Dawson is to be congratulated on his second ice-cream parlour, fitted out from a war-time gun site. We hope that this venture will be as successful as the first.
Putting such a novel use to an otherwise unsightly object is an example of what can be done in the way of making new and effective use of war-time necessities which are no longer required by the government.
2011 - still going strong, as the Two Sugars Cafe.
From Mersea Mercury 6 May 1948 Page 3.
Date:May 1948
Source:Ron Green Collection
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The double-sided pillbox now built into the sea wall at Decoy Point near Waldegraves. The lower level faced out to sea and the upper level inland 
 Colchester Heritage MCC7253  PJH_WRM_307
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_307
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The double-sided pillbox now built into the sea wall at Decoy Point near Waldegraves. The lower level faced out to sea and the upper level inland
Colchester Heritage MCC7253
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The double-sided pillbox now built into the sea wall at Decoy Point near Waldegraves.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10022.  PJH_WRM_308
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_308
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The double-sided pillbox now built into the sea wall at Decoy Point near Waldegraves.
Essex SMR / EHER 10022.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10025  PJH_WRM_310
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_310
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
Essex SMR / EHER 10025
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10025. Monument record MCC7256.
 See <a href=mmphoto.php?typ=ID&hit=1&tot=1&ba=cke&rhit=1&bid=KBC_015 ID=1>KBC_015 </a> for an earlier view, halfway over the edge.  PJH_WRM_311
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_311
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
Essex SMR / EHER 10025. Monument record MCC7256.
See KBC_015 for an earlier view, halfway over the edge.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_313
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_313
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_315
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_315
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_316
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_316
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 - remains of Battery Observation Post on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
 SMR / EHER 10029.  PJH_WRM_317
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_317
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 - remains of Battery Observation Post on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
SMR / EHER 10029.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 - remains of the Battery Observation Post on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
 SMR / EHER 10029.  PJH_WRM_318
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_318
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 - remains of the Battery Observation Post on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
SMR / EHER 10029.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - The western of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10030  PJH_WRM_319
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_319
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - The western of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
Essex SMR / EHER 10030
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - one of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10031  PJH_WRM_320
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_320
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - one of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
Essex SMR / EHER 10031
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - The eastern of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove. The large ring of gun-holding bolts is visible on top. The emplacement originally had a 4.7inch gun.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10031  PJH_WRM_321
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_321
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - The eastern of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove. The large ring of gun-holding bolts is visible on top. The emplacement originally had a 4.7inch gun.
Essex SMR / EHER 10031
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The eastern of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove. The large ring of gun-holding bolts is visible on top. The emplacement originally had a 4.7inch gun.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10031  PJH_WRM_322
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_322
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The eastern of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove. The large ring of gun-holding bolts is visible on top. The emplacement originally had a 4.7inch gun.
Essex SMR / EHER 10031
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - The eastern of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove. The large ring of gun-holding bolts is visible on top. The emplacement originally had a 4.7inch gun.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10031  PJH_WRM_323
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_323
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains - The eastern of the two former gun emplacements on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove. The large ring of gun-holding bolts is visible on top. The emplacement originally had a 4.7inch gun.
Essex SMR / EHER 10031
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_324
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_324
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox at Cudmore Grove.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across the Colne to Brightlingsea.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10035.  PJH_WRM_328
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_328
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across the Colne to Brightlingsea.
Essex SMR / EHER 10035.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across to Colne Point.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10035.  PJH_WRM_330
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_330
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across to Colne Point.
Essex SMR / EHER 10035.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains of - the base of the pillbox to the west of the Monkey Beach. Coast Road is in the background, Rosebank flats on the left.
 Essex SMR / EHER 21112.  PJH_WRM_340
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_340
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains of - the base of the pillbox to the west of the Monkey Beach. Coast Road is in the background, Rosebank flats on the left.
Essex SMR / EHER 21112.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Remains of pillbox near Shears Court flats, looking east towards the corner of Broomhills and Victoria Esplanade.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10019.  PJH_WRM_345
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_345
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Remains of pillbox near Shears Court flats, looking east towards the corner of Broomhills and Victoria Esplanade.
Essex SMR / EHER 10019.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The Two Sugars Cafe - a former WW2 gun emplacement.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10039.  PJH_WRM_346
ImageID:   PJH_WRM_346
Title: A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The Two Sugars Cafe - a former WW2 gun emplacement.
Essex SMR / EHER 10039.
Date:16 March 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / John Hale
 Former World War 2 fortifications by the Monkey Beach, West Mersea. The concrete blocks had been hidden by the mud for several years. They are now slowly disintegrating.  TM1_7428
ImageID:   TM1_7428
Title: Former World War 2 fortifications by the Monkey Beach, West Mersea. The concrete blocks had been hidden by the mud for several years. They are now slowly disintegrating.
Date:26 June 2007
Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Looking East towards Monkey Beach from Buzz'n.
 There is often speculation about the concrete blocks that are by the beach at its western end, near Buzz'n Fleet. They are thought to be an anti-landing craft defence. The concrete blocks had lengths of old tram line from Colchester concreted in, at an angle, and with a point just below the high water mark. [1] The Lions Talking Magazine No.2 from 1979 talks about the blocks just appearing in the mud --- they had been covered for several years. It speculates on their use but comes to no conclusion.
</p> <p> The blocks are in Essex Record Office Sites and Monuments Record SMR / EHER 21111 which records them as WW2 anti-invasion obstacles.
</p>
<p>Extreme left, on the beach, are the remains of a pill box.  TM1_7429
ImageID:   TM1_7429
Title: Looking East towards Monkey Beach from Buzz'n.
There is often speculation about the concrete blocks that are by the beach at its western end, near Buzz'n Fleet. They are thought to be an anti-landing craft defence. The concrete blocks had lengths of old tram line from Colchester concreted in, at an angle, and with a point just below the high water mark. [1]
The Lions Talking Magazine No.2 from 1979 talks about the blocks just appearing in the mud --- they had been covered for several years. It speculates on their use but comes to no conclusion.

The blocks are in Essex Record Office Sites and Monuments Record SMR / EHER 21111 which records them as WW2 anti-invasion obstacles.

Extreme left, on the beach, are the remains of a pill box.

Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Pillbox in Cudmore Grove, East Mersea. It appears to be a Type 27 pillbox which had a central well that could be used as a light anti-aircraft position.
 On Sites and Monuments Record as Essex SMR / EHER 10027, which says There is a central anti-aircraft well with a pedestal, originally formed by filling an upended 28 diameter sewage pipe with concrete, surmounted by a concrete post for holding the machine-gun.  TM3_1837
ImageID:   TM3_1837
Title: Pillbox in Cudmore Grove, East Mersea. It appears to be a Type 27 pillbox which had a central well that could be used as a light anti-aircraft position.
On Sites and Monuments Record as Essex SMR / EHER 10027, which says "There is a central anti-aircraft well with a pedestal, originally formed by filling an upended 28" diameter sewage pipe with concrete, surmounted by a concrete post for holding the machine-gun."
Date:6 April 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Type 27 Pillbox in Cudmore Grove, East Mersea, with mounting in the centre for an anti-aircraft gun. Sites and Monuments Record Essex SMR / EHER 10027.  TM3_1838
ImageID:   TM3_1838
Title: Type 27 Pillbox in Cudmore Grove, East Mersea, with mounting in the centre for an anti-aircraft gun. Sites and Monuments Record Essex SMR / EHER 10027.
Date:6 April 2012
Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Shears Court and Shears Crescent in the early 1970s. Photograph from Ronnie Fisher, who lived in the top right flat in Shears Court.
 The base of the pillbox is clearly visible on the beach.
 The house on the corner of Broomhills Road and Shears Crescent just has the footings complete, dating the photograph to 1969 or 1970. Courtneys, standing in isolation top right, is now on 'The Coverts' and has neighbours.  TM3_2797
ImageID:   TM3_2797
Title: Shears Court and Shears Crescent in the early 1970s. Photograph from Ronnie Fisher, who lived in the top right flat in Shears Court.
The base of the pillbox is clearly visible on the beach.
The house on the corner of Broomhills Road and Shears Crescent just has the footings complete, dating the photograph to 1969 or 1970. Courtneys, standing in isolation top right, is now on 'The Coverts' and has neighbours.
Date:c1970
Source:Mersea Museum / Mary Sparks