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Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite, 450m north east of Mere Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Winteringham, North Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.6783 / 53°40'41"N

Longitude: -0.5875 / 0°35'14"W

OS Eastings: 493399.388808

OS Northings: 421130.723377

OS Grid: SE933211

Mapcode National: GBR STBX.M5

Mapcode Global: WHGFT.YTF0

Entry Name: Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite, 450m north east of Mere Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020549

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34707

County: North Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Winteringham

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Winteringham All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes standing, earthwork and associated buried remains of a
World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft (HAA) gunsite known as Scunthorpe H8 in
official records. It includes the functional core of the gunsite with four
emplacements and the command post, located 1km to the south of Winteringham
just east of Winterton Road.
Gunsite H8 was one of 13 HAA gunsites established to protect Scunthorpe from
enemy bombers. It was first noted in the monthly location statement of 10 AA
Division on 12th September 1941, although at this point it was unmanned and
unarmed. On the 14th October it received four mobile 3.7in guns, but these
were soon redeployed and the site was unoccupied again by 20th November. On
the 22nd June 1942, only two out of twelve gunsites defending Scunthorpe were
armed, H8 being one of those unoccupied. As the gun emplacements follow the
DFW55414 design which was issued by the Directorate of Fortifications and
Works (DFW) on 10th October 1942, the structures forming the monument are
thought to date to late 1942 or 1943. By July 1944, the last gunsites
defending Scunthorpe were vacated. Their units were redeployed as part of
Operation Diver, the response to the new threat of the V1 flying bomb. Towards
the end of the war and in the years immediately following, the gunsite, with
its domestic accommodation which was sited next to the road, was used to house
first Italian and then German prisoners of war. It then became a squatter camp
used by demobbed service men and families made homeless by bombing. Aerial
photographs show that the domestic camp had been cleared and the area returned
to agriculture by 1958.
The gun emplacements and command post are all constructed out of brick with
flat concrete roof sections and concrete floors. They broadly follow standard
designs. The four gun emplacements are arranged in an arc around the north
east side of the command post which also faces north east. Each emplacement is
the same with a central octagonal gun pit 7.5m across, with a standard ring of
holding down bolts for fixing the gun mounting. The entrance to each pit is on
the side nearest the command post. Opening through each of the other seven
sides of the pit is an external roofed recess for ammunition storage. Behind
two of these recesses on opposite sides of the gun pit, there is a pair of
roofed shelters. One was typically used as a relaxed duty shelter for the gun
crew, the other for gun maintenance. At least one of these shelters contains
examples of graffiti, some of which is in German. The command post appears to
follow the standard DFW55402 design. It measures approximately 8m by 20m, its
long axis orientated north west to south east. It is divided into two main
parts with a series of semi-sunken rooms forming a wide horseshoe around the
raised frontal area which is open to the sky, but since abandonment has been
partly infilled with soil and rubble. In operation, this open area was used
for an identification telescope and for two other pieces of equipment, the
predictor and height finder. These fed information to the plotting room, the
largest room in the covered part of the command post to the rear of the open
area, where the bearing, elevation and range were calculated and relayed to
the guns. The other smaller rooms acted as offices, stores and communications
rooms. Although partly infilled, the shell of the command post is complete.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Although of comparatively recent date, 20th century military sites are
increasingly seen as historic survivals representing a defining episode in the
history of warfare and of the century in general; as such they merit careful
record and, in some cases, preservation. One of the more significant
developments in the evolution of warfare during this period was the emergence
of strategic bombing in World War II, and this significance was reflected by
the resources invested in defence, both in terms of personnel and the sites on
which they served. During the war, the number of people in Anti-aircraft
Command reached a peak of 274,900 men, additional to the women soldiers of the
ATS who served on gunsites from summer 1941, and the Home Guard who manned
many sites later in the war. A national survey of England's Anti-aircraft
provision, based on archive sources, has produced a detailed record of how
many sites there were, where they were and what they looked like. It is also
now known from a survey of aerial photographs how many of these survive.
Anti-aircraft gunsites divide into three main types: those for heavy guns
(HAA), light guns (LAA) and batteries for firing primitive unguided rockets
(so called ZAA sites). In addition to gunsites, decoy targets were employed to
deceive enemy bombers, while fighter command played a complementary and
significant role. Following the end of World War II, 192 HAA sites were
selected for post-war use as the Nucleus Force, which was finally closed in
1955.
The HAA sites contained big guns with the function of engaging high flying
strategic bombers, hence their location around the south and east coasts, and
close to large cities and industrial and military targets. Of all the
gunsites, these were the most substantially built. There were three main
types: those for static guns (mostly 4.5 and 3.7 inch); those for 3.7 inch
mobile guns; and sites accommodating 5.25 inch weapons. These were all
distinct in fabric, though they could all occupy the same position at
different dates, or simultaneously by accretion. As well as the four or eight
gun emplacements, with their holdfast mountings for the guns, components will
generally include operational buildings such as a command post, radar
structures including the radar platform, on-site magazines for storing reserve
ammunition, gun stores and generating huts, usually one of the standard Nissen
hut designs. Domestic sites were also a feature of HAA gunsites, with huts,
ablutions blocks, offices, stores and amenities drawn from a common pool of
approved structures. Sites were often also provided with structures for their
close defence; pillboxes are the most common survivals, though earthwork
emplacements were also present. The layout of HAA gunsites was distinctive,
but changed over time, for example to accommodate the introduction of radar
from December 1940, women soldiers from summer 1941, and eight gun layouts
from late 1942.
Nearly 1,000 gunsites were built during World War II, and less than 200 of
these have some remains surviving. However, at only around 60 sites are these
remains thought sufficient to provide an understanding of their original form
and function. This includes 30 of the 192 examples which continued in use
until 1955. Surviving examples are therefore sufficiently rare to suggest that
all 60 well preserved examples are of national importance.

Scunthorpe H8, Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite 430m north east of Mere Farm is a
well-preserved example of a mid-World War II gunsite, retaining the functional
core of the station: the command post and four gun emplacements.

Source: Historic England

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