.... Preparing Inland
Coastal defences were just part of the anti-invasion plans. Inland, other defence systems were hastily prepared. Here we look at some of the installations deployed in the Whitstable area.
Anti Tank Traps...
The photo below was taken in the 1950s and it shows the 2nd Whitstable Sea Scouts preparing for a parade at their HQ in the old Railway Station between the harbour's east gate and Westgate Terrace.
Photo kindly supplied by Jock Harnett (Whitstable)
Immediately behind the scouts lie the cone-shaped anti-tank traps. I believe these may have remained until the land was redeveloped as the current day Health Centre.
We have already mentioned that pillboxes were installed on the waterfront. More were added in the neighbouring countryside. Brian Smith's article gives the background....
The pillbox near the Long Reach roundabout is still visible today. Originally, it was located in an open field - just south of the Old Thanet Way (known as The Coastal Road in the past) and 50 metres west of the main Whitstable-Canterbury road....
Nowadays, the structure is closely surrounded on three sides - by a realigned road to the city (to the left of the photo), a cutting that embraces the New Thanet Way (in the foreground) and a revamped Wraik Hill (in the background).
In putting together the Whistable at War feature, we posed the question as to whether there was a pattern to these inland fortifications. Brian Smith provided a somewhat disturbing explanation....
The Long Reach installation demonstrates Brian's point. In 1939, the Coastal Road was the main route to London from the beaches and ports of the North Kent coast. The pillbox also guarded the main route to Canterbury and the local link down Borstal Hill to Whitstable harbour.
Brian's enquiries suggest that just 11 pillboxes located in the Herne Bay and Whitstable. All were built by local company Robert Brett and Son. Six were sited in the Whitstable district.
Such installations may have provided some comfort for local residents but, in reality, they would not have survived long in the face of a massive onslaught.
The Simply Whitstable Web Site