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Fort Godwin

Hob Uid: 929478
Location :
East Riding Of Yorkshire
East Riding Of Yorkshire
Easington
Grid Ref : TA4169116061
Summary : Fort Godwin was a coastal battery built to defend the ports along the Humber estuary. It opened in 1915 and was constructed for two 9.2-inch breech-loading Mark X guns. The battery was in use throughout the First World War and kept in use during the inter-war period. The battery was modified during the Second World War and in 1940 was equipped with a 4-inch Mark IX gun on naval mountings and a new pair of searchlights. The battery was retained for use after the war. A site visit in 1995 revealed that the strongpoint, coastal artillery searchlight and the 4-inch gun emplacement have been destroyed. The gun aprons have both collapsed, half lying on the beach, half on the cliff top but highly unstable.
More information : (TA 4177 1606) Godwin Battery coastal defence battery, Easington

Godwin Battery, named in honour of Major General Godwin, formed part of the programme to strengthen the outer defences of the Humber. The site selected was the stretch of low cliffs near the old village of Kilnsea. The site was selected in late 1914 and was to house two Mk.IV guns on Mk.V mountings.

Construction of the battery began in 1914 with the construction of a sea wall 300yds long around the site to protect from the advancing sea. Behind this two 9.2"BL guns were mounted in circular concrete pits approx. 100yds apart and 43' above mean sea level. Between the guns were the underground magazine, crew shelters and workshops, the magazine roof being 5ft thick. On the right and left of the battery were two battery observation posts, one housing a 30' Barr and Stroud rangefinder, both BOP's had defensive blockhouses built into their base. The barrack accomodation was unlike that of other batteries, being substantially constructed of brick and concrete, these included a guard house, officers quarters and a hospital.

The defensive measures taken to protect the battery included a 6' wall enclosing the landward perimeter while the seaward side was surrounded by a network of fire trenches and a 20ft ditch filled with barbed wire. Further protection was given by a large concrete blockhouse situated on the beach and a redoubt known as Murrays Post on the rising ground to the north west. Another feature of the battery was the terminus of the Spurn Point railway which supplied the Spurn Point garrison.

The battery became operational in early 1916 and remained so until the end of the war. Unlike the inner Humber defences which were gradually abandoned between the wars, Godwin Battery remained active and was used for a number of purposes including Territorial Army training and school outings.

The battery was put back to full strength with the advent of the Second World War. Steps were also taken to provide the battery with a means of close defence; this included the installation of a 4" BL Mk. 9 gun just to the south of the right hand Battery Observation Post, together with a single 90cm Coastal Artillery Searchlight. In August 1940 half inch thick armoured plate anti-strafing shields were built around the two 9.2" guns.

The battery was manned by the 269th Coastal Battery RA until the end of 1944 when the 9.2" guns were removed from their mountings and the battery placed in care and maintenance. In 1959 the site was put up for sale as `Fort Godwin valuable Gun and Camp site'. It became a caravan site. The gun pits have been filled in, although their aprons survive; the BOP's have both been demolished, and a dump of concrete testifies to the advancing sea. (1)

The Battery was visited by the Fortress Studies Group in 1992 during the Holderness Survey. The FSG found the site to be in generally good condition, although the hospital building has been demolished, but felt the site was at risk from coastal erosion. (2)

The site was visited by R.Thomas in Febuary 1995. He found that the sea wall had been virtually destroyed by wave action, as had the strongpoint, CASL and 4" BL emplacement. The gun aprons have both collapsed, half lying on the beach, half on the cliff top but highly unstable. The inverted apron on the beach testifies to the strength of the sea. (3)

The monument is also visible as upstanding structures on air photographs examined as part of the Rapid Coastal Assessment Survey of the Yorkshire and Humber Estuary. Due to coastal erosion a conspicuous part of the monument no longer survives in situ. (4-5)

Fort Godwin/Kilnsea Battery located at TA 4176 1605. It opened in 1915 and was built for two 9.2 inch breech-loading Mk.X guns. The battery was kept in use during the inter-war period and modified during the Second World War. In summer 1940 the fort was equipped with a 4 inch Mk.IX gun on naval mounting and a new pair of searchlights. The battery was retained for use after the war. (6-7)

Aerial photography from 1997 shows that little of the fort survives due to coastal erosion between 1993 and 1997. 1-2 ancillary buildings have been reused and survive and three building bases from the Second World War remain at TA 414 157. (8)

Coastal battery site severely damaged by coastal erosion. The southernmost 9.2in gun emplacement has split; one half remains atop the cliff, the other lies shattered in three sections on the beach below.
Coast battery. [054]. No.1 Gun coastal battery. Little remains due to substantial coastal erosion between 1993-1997. One or two ancillary buildings survive (re-used) ands there are three WW2 bases at 414157. [information from 1997 aerial photographs].Kilnsea. (9)

Short note on a site visit. (10)

Important coastal battery, named in honour of Major General Godwin, constructed in 1914 to strengthen the outer defences of the Humber and house two Mk.IV guns on Mk.V mountings. The Battery was protected by a sea wall 300yds long around the site to protect from the advancing sea. Behind this two 9.2"BL guns were mounted in circular concrete pits circa 100yds apart. Between the guns were the underground magazine, crew shelters and workshops, the magazine roof being 5ft thick. On the right and left of the battery were two battery observation posts, one housing a rangefinder; both had defensive blockhouses built into their base. The barracks were substantially constructed of brick and concrete, and included a guard house, officers¿ quarters and a hospital. The defensive measures taken to protect the battery included a 6¿ wall enclosing the landward perimeter while the seaward side was surrounded by a network of fire trenches and a 20ft ditch filled with barbed wire. Further protection was given by a large concrete blockhouse situated on the beach and a redoubt (`Murrays Post¿) on the rising ground to the northwest. Another feature was the terminus of the Spurn Point railway. Godwin Battery remained active after the war and was used for a number of purposes including Territorial Army training. It was put back to full strength with the advent of World War 2. Close defence was provided by a 4" BL Mk. 9 gun to the S of the right hand BOP, together with a single 90cm Coastal Artillery Searchlight. In 1940 half inch thick armoured plate anti-strafing shields were built around the two main guns. At the end of 1944 the 9.2" guns were removed and the battery placed in care and maintenance. In 1959 the site was put up for sale and became a caravan site. The gun pits have been filled in, although their aprons survive; the BOPs have both been demolished. In 1992 the site was still in generally good condition, although the hospital building had been demolished, but was at risk from coastal erosion. By 1995, the sea wall had been virtually destroyed by wave action, as had the strongpoint, CASL and 4" BL emplacement. The gun aprons had both collapsed, half lying on the beach, half on the cliff top but highly unstable. In January 2007, the majority of the monument had either collapsed, been demolished, or rested on the beach, with little other than the magazines and part of a gun position in an original location, although the remains were very substantial. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Dorman, J.E. Guardians of the Humber: The Humber Defences 1856-1956. pg.57 1990. Humberside Leisure Services
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : David Clarke/12-APR-1992/FSG,RCHME:Holderness Survey
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Source Number : 11
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Gazetteer Reference EA182, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Field Investigator: R.Thomas 17-FEB-1995
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 58/1004 42 03-FEB-1953
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Source Number : 5
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR TA 4116/25 (31218/PO-31) 22-JUL-1941
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume 6.1. Coast Artillery, 1900-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 120-131
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6.1
Source Number : 7
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume 6.2. Coast Artillery, 1900-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 233
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 6.2
Source Number : 8
Source : Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two Coastal Batteries
Source details :
Page(s) : 78
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Source Number : 9
Source : Migrated Defence of Britain Project database record originally compiled from various sources
Source details : The two databases developed by the Project can be searched on-line through the Archaeology Data Service at http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/specColl/dob/index.cfm
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Source Number : 10
Source : Subterranea: The Magazine of Subterranea Britannica
Source details :
Page(s) : 47
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 18-Jan-09

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : Opened in 1915
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1915
Monument Type : Coastal Battery, Military Hospital, Beach Defence, Trackway, Pillbox
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Coastal Battery
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Humberside)
External Cross Reference Number : 10819
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0006784
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TA 41 NW 24
External Cross Reference Notes :

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Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FSG/RCHME: HOLDERNESS SURVEY
Activity type : THEMATIC SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-04-09
End Date : 1992-04-13
Associated Activities : THE DEFENCE OF BRITAIN PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-04-01
End Date : 2002-03-01
Associated Activities : THE YORKSHIRE COAST AND HUMBER ESTUARY RCZAS NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2006-05-12
End Date : 2007-05-31
Associated Activities : LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31