Sussex Military Research Projects

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Auxiliary Unit Operational Base

Project ID: SMR1001

Location: Warningcamp, West Sussex

Project date: 2011

In 2011 a very rare opportunity arose to conduct an excavation of a 1940 Auxiliary Unit Operational Base (OB) at Warningcamp. [Read more]

Newhaven Battery Plotting Room

Project ID: SMR1002

Location: Newhaven, East Sussex

Project date: 2012

Removal of vegetation from and recording of,the Battery Plotting Room (BPR) for the coast artillery battery on West Hill, Newhaven. [Read more]

Newhaven Fort counterscarp galleries

Project ID: SMR1020

Location: Newhaven, East Sussex

Project date: 2013

The counterscarp galleries at Newhaven Fort are seldom seen by the public due to difficult access. A series of rooms in this area were used during and after the Second World War by the air/sea rescue units operating out of Newhaven Harbour. A series of colourful murals was painted just after the war, of which a basic photographic survey was undertaken. [Read more]

Air Raid Shelter

Project ID: SMR1005

Location: Storrington, West Sussex

Project date: 2014

A privately-manufactured air raid shelter incorporated into an ornamental garden pond post war. Partly buried below ground level, the shelter design was heavily influenced by the official government Anderson Shelter, but using alternative materials. Access was via a flight of steps covered by a porch. [Read more]

Cripp's Corner

Project ID: SMR1003

Location: Cripp's Corner, East Sussex

Project date: 2014

Removal of vegetation from two groups of anti-tank cubes in the vineyard and design of an interpretation board. The foundation of one of the blocks was excavated and painted with a camouflage scheme as described by archive documents of 1940. [Read more]

Cuckmere Haven Anti-tank wall

Project ID: SMR1012

Location: Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

Project date: 2015

As part of the Environment Agency's strategy of coastal management, shingle dredged from the mouth of the Cuckmere River was to be placed on the beach to prevent it from being washed back again. This entailed covering up part of the anti-tank defences built in 1940 in order to shore up the beach from behind, thereby protecting the feature from coastal erosion. [Read more]

Cuckmere Haven pillbox

Project ID: SMR1011

Location: Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

Project date: 2015

Excavation and recording of a pillbox situated in a flood defence bank that had been damaged by previous (illegal) attempts to excavate it. The damage was restored by our reinstatement. [Read more]

Air Raid Shelter

Project ID: SMR1023

Location: Worthing, West Sussex

Project date: 2016

A privately-constructed air raid shelter based on the official Government Anderson Shelter. [Read more]

Anti-aircraft gun emplacements

Project ID: SMR1014

Location: Friston, East Sussex

Project date: 2016

Excavation and recording of two pairs of anti-aircraft light machine gun (AALMG) emplacements sited to defend Friston Airfield from low-level attack. [Read more]

Emergency Water Supply (EWS) tank

Project ID: SMR1022

Location: Friston, East Sussex

Project date: 2016

Survey and partial excavation of a brick-built EWS tank for fire-fighting purposes near Friston Airfield. Graffiti etched into the render on the upper lip of the tank shows the tank was built in March 1944 and was therefore part of the preparations for Operation Overlord. [Read more]

Rye Radar Station

Project ID: SMR1015

Location: Brookland, Kent

Project date: 2016

Rye radar station was built in 1938 as part of the Chain Home network that proved its worth during the Battle of Britain. Although the masts and other equipment were dismantled after the war, many features still remain. A partial excavation and full survey was undertaken of one of four extant light anti-aircraft machine gun emplacements, a mounting holdfast being uncovered. [Read more]

Stone Cross pillbox

Project ID: SMR1008

Location: Stone Cross, East Sussex

Project date: 2017

Description: This pillbox was scheduled for demolition as part of new housing development, but was saved as a heritage asset following a Grade II listing by Historic England. [Read more]

Battle pillbox and dragon's teeth

Project ID: SMR1006

Location: Battle, East Sussex

Project date: 2017

Description: Excavation on private land at Battle of elements of the anti-invasion defences of 1940. A series of concrete anti-tank obstacles (known as dragon's teeth) were cleared of vegetation. [Read more]


Project ID: SMR1019

Location: Hoo, Kent

Project date: 2018

Basic external survey of a Type 24 pillbox at Hoo, built as part of the GHQ Line in 1940. A 3D model was constructed and used in an interpretation board to be displayed near a new housing development. [Read more]

Martello Tower No.28

Project ID: SMR1018

Location: Rye Harbour, East Sussex

Project date: 2018

A partial survey focussing on internal features, the roof area and moat of Martello Tower No.28 at Rye Harbour. Built 1805-08 to meet the Napoleonic invasion threat, the tower was also occupied by the coastguard. During the Second World War it became an observation post and has an Ordnance Survey tertiary trig point installed on the roof. [Read more]

Sheffield Park Army Camp

Project ID: SMR1009

Location: Sheffield Park, East Sussex

Project date: 2018

Owned by the Soames family, parts of the grounds of Sheffield Park were requistioned by the War Office during the Second World War. In 1940 a tented campsite was established before being replaced by two hutted camps from early 1941. [Read more]

Shoreham Fort Spigot Mortar Emplacement

Project ID: SMR1010

Location: Shoreham, West Sussex

Project date: 2018

A partial excavation was undertaken of an unusual keyhole-shaped brick structure breaking the ground surface just west of Shoreham Fort. The fort had been occupied during the Second World War as a coast artillery battery and this feature is believed to have been a spigot mortar (anti-tank weapon) pit on account of its shape, dimensions and presence of a pedestal. [Read more]

Rye Harbour pillbox

Project ID: SMR1007

Location: Rye Harbour, East Sussex

Project date: 2018

Description: Removal of shingle and debris from the interior of a pillbox at the mouth of the River Rother at Rye Harbour. A Vickers machine gun was set up in order to appreciate the design and location of the pillbox. [Read more]


Project ID: SMR1017

Location: Kingstanding, East Sussex

Project date: 2019

Description: Clearance of vegetation from, and a full survey of, a circular brick-shuttered pillbox dating to c1942 at the site of the Aspidistra transmitter used for (amongst other purposes) black propaganda radio transmissions. Traces of a 3-tone camouflage paint scheme were found on the brickwork. [Read more]

Anti-tank pimples

Project ID: SMR1016

Location: Bexhill, East Sussex

Project date: 2019

Permission was sought from two landowners to remove vegetation from and record a series of concrete anti-tank obstacles known as pimples on both sides of a road in Bexhill. A roadblock had been sited across the road in 1940 and the pimples were cast on the verges to prevent vehicles from bypassing the block. [Read more]

Type 24 Pillbox

Project ID: SMR1013

Location: Piddinghoe, East Sussex

Project date: 2019

A landowner clearing vegetation in 2019 uncovered a Type 24 pillbox forming part of the GHQ Line of pillboxes following the course of the River Ouse from Newhaven Harbour in 1940. A team of volunteers from SMHS spent a day removing dense undergrowth from the structure in order to facilitate recording. [Read more]


Project ID: SMR1030

Location: Undisclosed, (Protected site)

Project date: 2019

Vegetation clearance around a pillbox prior to recording. A tree surgeon carried out tree removal and minor landscaping to expose the structure. [Read more]