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

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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

List entry Number: 1020549

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: North Lincolnshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Winteringham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Sep-2001

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34707

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Selected Sources

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details

National Grid Reference: SE 93395 21133

Map

Map
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1020549 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 25-Nov-2017 at 07:51:08.

End of official listing