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HER Number:MDV102619
Name:Anti-glider poles across Horsey Island and Braunton Marshes

Summary

A large number of pale upright poles across Braunton Marshes are visible on oblique aerial photographs between 1944 and 1945. They are interpreted as early Second World War anti-glider defences. Some infield poles may have been removed by 1944, and the remainder removed by 1946.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 477 342
Map Sheet:SS43SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBraunton
Civil ParishHeanton Punchardon
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishHEANTON PUNCHARDON
Ecclesiastical ParishBRAUNTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and structural remains of World War II military training features for D-Day Landings on Braunton Burrows
  • SHINE: Earthworks, fields and hedgebanks associated with Braunton Great Field, open field system and WWII pillboxes

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • POLE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1944, RAF/106G/LA/88, NMR RAF/106G/LA/88 FPO/0057 SS4531/21 31-DEC-1944 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349744.

Upright poles are visible over Velator Marsh, some in the centre of fields, many alongside hedgerows and boundaries. Map object based on this source.


Royal Air Force, 1944, RAF/106G/LA/88, NMR RAF/106G/LA/88 FPO/0063 SS4835/4 31-DEC-1944 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349744.

Upright poles are visible over Velator Marsh, some in the centre of fields, many alongside hedgerows and boundaries. Map object based on this source.


Royal Air Force, 1944, RAF/106G/LA/88, NMR RAF/106G/LA/88 FPO/0065 SS4935/1 31-DEC-1944 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349744.

Upright poles are visible over Velator Marsh, some in the centre of fields, many alongside hedgerows and boundaries. Map object based on this source.


Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/102, NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 FPO/0044 SS4531/75 17-JAN-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349749.

The poles are visible as upright structures.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1684, NMR RAF/106G/UK/1684 PSFO/0016 SS4534/3 08-AUG-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349999.

No poles are visible.


Wasley, G., 1994, Devon at War 1939-1945, 190-192 (Monograph). SDV72735.

Braunton Great Field is identified as an obstructed possible landing ground for airborne troops in North Devon Defence Plans dated to 1940.


Dobinson, C. S., 1996, Anti-invasion defences of WWII, 133 (Report - non-specific). SDV350005.

Anti-aircraft obstacles include posts and stakes; 1.8 metre posts should be placed 9.1 metres apart and 3.7 metre posts spaced at intervals of 27.4 metres.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011 - 2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

A large number of pale upright poles across Braunton and Velator Marshes are visible on oblique aerial photographs between 1944 and 1945. They extend from Velator and Velator Bridge in the north, across Braunton Pill to Braunton Great Field, and south to the flood defence embankment around Horsey Island, and east to west from the River Caen to Braunton Burrows. Some are visible on the foreshore, although it is possible that these mark training areas or deep water channels rather than having a defensive function. Braunton Great Field is recorded in 1940 as a possible landing site that was obstructed against enemy aircraft, and it is therefore very likely that these structures are anti-glider poles dating to the early part of the Second World War. In general they are spaced at a much greater distance than would be expected for anti-aircraft defences, at approximately 50 metres apart. However a few are visible much closer together at approximately 25 metres, and this concurs well with the spacing of 27.4 metres given in Dobinson. They are set into the ground mostly along field boundaries, although some are visible within the fields, and it is possible that many, including most of those in the middle of fields, had been removed for agricultural reasons after the immediate threat of airborne invasion had passed. The poles are not visible on oblique aerial photographs taken in 1946 and it is likely that they were deliberately removed soon after the war ended. Rectification of the photographs was extremely problematic and the poles have not been individually transcribed.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011 - 2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349744Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1944. RAF/106G/LA/88. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/88 FPO/0063 SS4835/4 31-DEC-1944.
SDV349749Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/102. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 FPO/0044 SS4531/75 17-JAN-1945.
SDV349999Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1684. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/1684 PSFO/0016 SS4534/3 08-AUG-1946.
SDV350005Report - non-specific: Dobinson, C. S.. 1996. Anti-invasion defences of WWII. Council for British Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 133.
SDV72735Monograph: Wasley, G.. 1994. Devon at War 1939-1945. Devon at War. A4 Hardback. 190-192.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project

Date Last Edited:Apr 12 2018 3:05PM