World War 2 remains on Mersea Island

In 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.


Related Images

 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_003DM1_AB4_008_003
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.
27 June 1947
 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_001MCY_002_P03_001
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.
May 1948
 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_003DM1_AB4_021_003
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.
14 October 1949
 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_098JBA_098
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.
c1962
 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.  TM3_2797TM3_2797
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.
c1972
 View looking north of part of Victoria Esplanade, West Mersea. Two Sugars Cafe - Gun No.1 emplacement 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 ].
 Former WW2 searchlight emplacement is lower right.
</p><p>Aerial view from Terence Smith.  DC3_011DC3_011
View looking north of part of Victoria Esplanade, West Mersea. Two Sugars Cafe - Gun No.1 emplacement 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 ].
Former WW2 searchlight emplacement is lower right.

Aerial view from Terence Smith.
c1981

 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_001LH43_036_001
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.
cApril 1988
 WW2 pillbox on East Mersea Stone.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10035.  LH20_029LH20_029
WW2 pillbox on East Mersea Stone.
Essex SMR / EHER 10035.
July 1990
 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_7428TM1_7428
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.
26 June 2007
 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_307PJH_WRM_307
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
16 March 2012
 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_308PJH_WRM_308
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.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10025  PJH_WRM_310PJH_WRM_310
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
Essex SMR / EHER 10025
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10025. Monument record MCC7256.  PJH_WRM_311PJH_WRM_311
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox below the sea wall at Coopers Beach.
Essex SMR / EHER 10025. Monument record MCC7256.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_313PJH_WRM_313
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_315PJH_WRM_315
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_316PJH_WRM_316
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
16 March 2012
 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_317PJH_WRM_317
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 - remains of Battery Observation Post on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
SMR / EHER 10029.
16 March 2012
 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_318PJH_WRM_318
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 - remains of the Battery Observation Post on the beach below the cliffs at Cudmore Grove.
SMR / EHER 10029.
16 March 2012
 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_319PJH_WRM_319
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
16 March 2012
 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_320PJH_WRM_320
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
16 March 2012
 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_321PJH_WRM_321
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
16 March 2012
 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_322PJH_WRM_322
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
16 March 2012
 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_323PJH_WRM_323
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
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox at Cudmore Grove.  PJH_WRM_324PJH_WRM_324
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox at Cudmore Grove.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across the Colne to Brightlingsea.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10035.  PJH_WRM_328PJH_WRM_328
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across the Colne to Brightlingsea.
Essex SMR / EHER 10035.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across to Colne Point.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10035.  PJH_WRM_330PJH_WRM_330
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. Pillbox on East Mersea Stone, looking across to Colne Point.
Essex SMR / EHER 10035.
16 March 2012
 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_340PJH_WRM_340
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.
16 March 2012
 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_345PJH_WRM_345
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.
16 March 2012
 A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The Two Sugars Cafe - a former WW2 gun emplacement.
 Essex SMR / EHER 10039.  PJH_WRM_346PJH_WRM_346
A walk round Mersea Island. WW2 remains. The Two Sugars Cafe - a former WW2 gun emplacement.
Essex SMR / EHER 10039.
16 March 2012
 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_1837TM3_1837
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."
6 April 2012
 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_1838TM3_1838
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.
6 April 2012
 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_7429TM1_7429
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.

ID: WW2_REM
Source: Mersea Museum