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Waxham Pillbox, Norfolk

A WW2 coastal defence pillbox in North Norfolk. 

Waxham pillbox is a type 24 WW2 coastal defence pillbox situated in the side of a large sand dune that serves as the sea defence for that part of the Norfolk coastline. It is an extremely small site so this report is not very large.

I chanced upon this site while on a day at the seaside with friends. It's by a lane that provides access to a beach, though since the war it has been half buried by the shifting sand and it would be easy to miss if you didn't know it was there or weren't looking for it. Unusually for a coastal defence pillbox this one does not face out to sea, instead it faces inland with a commanding view over the surrounding farmland. 

Since  I originally wrote this report I have been given an explanation as to why this pillbox faces inland. In an area like this with flat land inland from a beach the thinking was that the Nazis would use paratroopers to take the land behind the beach and attack the beach defences from the landward side, freeing the beach for invasion craft. Thus the beach had to be defended from behind.

To reach it you scramble up the dune to the left of the lane to the beach and there it is. The photo below is looking roughly north east, over the dune in the background is the North Sea. As can be seen, the sand has obscured the bottom part of the structure.

The view looking roughly south west below shows the area covered by the pillbox.

Examining the structure, it is in remarkably good condition, probably due to its isolation and its half burial in sand. Unusually it retains its wooden door and metal hatches for the loopholes, and the condition and quality of the internal brickwork is exceptionally high. I saw no vandalism or graffiti though it had accumulated the usual debris of litter.

I was unable to enter the pillbox because the entrance is only about 2 feet high due to the sand. The photos of the interior below are therefore taken at the modern ground level through a loophole and the doorway. 

Through the loophole can be seen the internal blast wall. This would normally form a Y shape dividing the pillbox into "rooms" and protecting the occupants of one room from explosions in another. At the top of the loophole can be seen part of the metal hatch.

 The doorway is slightly below ground level but there is a bit of a gully in the sand going down to it. A small person could gain access to the pillbox here and no doubt many have, but sadly it was too small for me. In this photo you can see the wooden door still in place, and the blast wall behind it. This picture faces directly opposite to the picture above.

This is not a very exciting site at first look. Though many pillboxes have disappeared since the war there is no shortage of surviving examples. What makes this one slightly different from the norm though are the surviving fittings.  Not worth crossing the country to see but worth dropping by if you are in the area.

This pillbox has a listing in the Defence of Britain Database here:

And the Flash Earth link is here: