Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Second World War anti-aircraft battery at Bowaters Farm

A Scheduled Monument in East Tilbury, Thurrock

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Latitude: 51.4678 / 51°28'3"N

Longitude: 0.4154 / 0°24'55"E

OS Eastings: 567863.913562

OS Northings: 177075.943851

OS Grid: TQ678770

Mapcode National: GBR NM7.XH1

Mapcode Global: VHJLD.4CYN

Entry Name: Second World War anti-aircraft battery at Bowaters Farm

Scheduled Date: 31 July 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012185

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12709

County: Thurrock

Electoral Ward/Division: East Tilbury

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: East and West Tilbury and Linford

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes eight concrete gun emplacements with their connecting
roads and vehicle parks, magazine and command post. The battery forms two
groups of anti-aircraft artillery. The earlier group comprises four
octagonal emplacements of concrete covered by asphalt, which measure some
16m across. Two entrances are located on opposite sides of the emplacements
and earthen banks protect their outer sides. Inside the emplacements, the
ten bolts which fixed the guns to the ground survive, as do the ammunition
lockers against the walls. Between the middle two emplacements is a
rectangular magazine building some 12m long with five compartments for
shells with different fuses. At the rear of the group is a larger building
which formed a command post and which included height and range-finding
equipment, although this no longer survives. This group housed 4.5 inch guns
from mid-1940 to 1944.
To the east is a second group of four emplacements, these examples
comprising a deep circular pit lined with concrete, again measuring some 16m
across, with an adjoining sunken engine room to the west or south-west. A
gun turret, which no longer survives, capped the circular pit, and housed a
5.25 inch gun. This group superseded the 4.5 inch guns in 1944 and continued
in use until after the war.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Anti-aircraft batteries are small clusters of artillery dedicated to firing
at aerial targets. They were constructed from the First World War to the
1950s, after which time missile batteries took over from artillery as fixed
weaponry while anti-aircraft artillery became increasingly mobile. They were
constructed in large numbers in the immediate pre and early Second World
War periods in response to the threat of air attack. Many took the form of
simple sandbagged emplacements which left no substantial remains when they
were abandoned. Others took the form of concrete emplacements arranged
around a command post, while the latest types of battery were fully
automatic and included radar-guidance equipment. Artillery of 3.7 inch and
4.5 inch and later 5.25 inch calibre was the usual armament of these
batteries. Anti-aircraft batteries were widely distributed around England,
with a marked concentration in the South East around London. As a result of
development pressure in the South East few have survived.
The example at Bowaters Farm is the last surviving example of such batteries
in this area of Essex. It forms the latest part of a series of important
defensive installations at Coalhouse Point which illustrate the development
of coastal defences from the Tudor period to the mid-20th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, VT C, 'Coalhouse Fort Project' in Coalhouse Fort and the Artillery Defences at East Tilbury, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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