Type FW3/25 'Armco' pillbox erected circa 1941 as a component of the Studland coastal defences.
Reason for Listing
The pillbox on the beach to the south-east of Redend Point is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: it is a rare example of a Type 25 pillbox from the Second World War, one of the few surviving commercially-designed pillboxes nationally;
* Historic interest: as part of the military program of coastal defences, the pillbox provides a visual reminder of the impact of world events on the area;
* Group value: it forms an integral part of a significant group of listed Second World War anti-invasion defences which could have been one of the front lines in the event of a German invasion.
Studland Bay was one of the two stretches of Dorset coastline where a German invasion was considered most likely. In 1940, the defence of the Dorset coast was the responsibility of V Corps whose 50th Division had its headquarters at Blandford Forum. Anti-tank islands were established in towns in the area and a number of stop lines were also constructed. Anti-invasion defences were constructed along Studland Bay in response to the threat of a German invasion. Forward defended localities were established along the line of the beach at Studland and a number of pillboxes and other defensive structures were constructed. Anti-tank cubes blocked possible exits from the beach at three locations and minefields were also situated amongst the sand dunes. Most of these defences were in place by early August 1940. In October 1940, the infantry battalion in the Studland Sub-Sector (Studland Defence Area) was the 7th Bn. Suffolk Regiment. By April 1941, it had been replaced by the 1st Bn. Coldstream Guards. The Dorset Home Guard unit also manning defences at Studland was No.2 (East Purbeck) Company, 7th (Wareham) Battalion was manned by No.2 (East Purbeck) Company, 7th (Wareham) Battalion of the Home Guard.
From the autumn of 1943, Studland Bay became an amphibious assault training area as part of the preparations for D-Day on 6 June 1944, one of the most significant dates in modern history, defining the start of the final phase of World War II in Europe. Six weeks prior to D-Day, Allied troops gathered in Studland Bay to undertake three full-scale training exercises to prepare themselves for the amphibious landings that were to take place on the beaches of Normandy. The rehearsal, codenamed Exercise Smash 1, was the largest live ammunition practice of the whole war period; battle training was also carried out using the anti-invasion pillboxes erected within the Defence Area. The bay was also the scene of a major experiment to test the effectiveness of burning oil as a defence against a German seaborne invasion, known as Project Fougasse, it involved piping oil to the sea and firing it by explosive charges.
On the beach below Redend Point is a type 25 'Armco' pillbox that was probably constructed after August 1941 as it is not present in aerial photographs of this date. Type 25 pillboxes were a commercial design, produced by the Engineering & Metals Company, who manufactured its prefabricated parts at their Letchworth works. It was intended to accommodate light automatic weapons or rifles and held a garrison of four. The pillbox below Redend Point formed part of the Studland Defence Area and covered a wide area of fire from Old Harry Rocks to Studland Beach. It appears to have originally stood on the cliff edge but has since fallen onto the beach where it remains upright.
MATERIAL: corrugated iron, shuttered concrete.
DESCRIPTION: the pillbox lies on the beach at the foot of the cliff; it is complete but has become detached from its foundation. It is circular in plan with a diameter of 1.8m and is built of shuttered concrete which was moulded using corrugated iron, hence the ribbed appearance of the exterior. Its name derives from the use of 'Armco', corrugated iron sheets which in curved form made up the inner and outer skins of the pillbox wall and, as flat sheets, were used for the roof. There are three embrasures to the north, north-west and north-east sides and a small door port set high in the rear (south) wall. The pillbox stands on a deep, square concrete plinth which has been undermined by the sea; the whole structure now tilts forwards on its north-east side.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.