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HER Number:MDV39540
Name:Instow Emergency Battery


Site of a Second World War Emergency Battery at Instow. It is visible as a complex of buildings on aerial photographs from 1945 to 1964, and is flanked by a sea wall with splayed opening. The buildings had been mostly removed, or covered over, in the late 1960s. However some earthworks or buried structures are visible on aerial photographs taken in 2010, and substantial remains may survive below the ground surface.


Grid Reference:SS 473 313
Map Sheet:SS43SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishInstow
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishINSTOW

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS43SE/224
  • Pastscape: 1429256

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Horner, B., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1669.

Des= Horner, W. /(10/5/1994)/as above.

APH, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV82845.

Site visible on RAF 1946 AP at NW end of Instow cricket pitch (APH).

SEE SUBSHEETS, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV82846.

AP site above corresponds to roughly crescentic structure marked on OS 6" (1971) map (OS). Vis=7/5/1994 (Horner) site largely demolished or overgrown, though an arc of low brick walling just within the cricket pitch grounds at c SS47353137 may be remains of a gun position. Other military buildings in cricket pitch area may be associated with the battery (see subsheets) (Horner).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV82847.

Des = Guy, J. /list of coastal batteries(1990)/copy in SMR.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV82848.

APH = RAF/106G/UK/1420/3405/(15/4/1946).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV82849.

Des= OS 6" (1971).

Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/102, NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5001-5002 17-JAN-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349060.

Several linked buildings are visible as structures.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1420, NMR RAF/106G/91420 3236-3237 15-APR-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349553.

Several linked buildings are visible as structures.

Royal Air Force, 1960, RAF/543/1017, NMR RAF/543/1017 PSFO-0089 SS4731/1 10-AUG-1960 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349659.

The buildings are clearly visible.

Meridian Airmaps Limited, 1970, MAL/70076, NMR MAL/70076 178-179 25-SEP-1970 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349892.

Many of the buildings are not visible.

Guy, J., 1990, List of Coastal Batteries (Un-published). SDV15882.

Site of coastal battery at Instow at SS473314. Armed with 2 x 4" guns (Guy).

Dobinson, C. S., 1996, Coastal artillery, 1900-56 VI.1 & VI.2, 317 (Report - non-specific). SDV323777.

Site of emergency coastal battery at Instow. Armed with 2 x 4in (Naval) guns. Manned by 398 Bty. Other details: AAI.

Next Perspectives, 2010, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4731 08-APR-2010 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349899.

A linear earthwork bank or earth covered structure and a pale platform is visible.

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

The emergency battery is recorded in Pastscape as having been operational from October 1941, and was in use until at least February 1942. It is visible as a complex of buildings on aerial photographs from 1945 to the 1960s. The two emplacements are approximately 15 by 5 metres in size, linked by enclosed corridors 3 metres wide, with a rectangular building incorporated at the point where these meet on the seaward side and a circular building, perhaps a defence post, attached to the landward side. An additional building close behind the southern emplacement appears rectangular on the 1940s aerial photographs but examination of 1960s aerial photographs suggest it is in fact L-shaped and this may be a store or a shelter. The emplacements are flanked by a sea wall, which appears to have a splayed opening at the southern emplacement presumably to improve the view and range into the estuary. Aerial photograph evidence suggests that the buildings had been mostly removed, or covered over, before 1970. However some structural material was visible on a site visit in 1994 and the line of one of the corridors is visible as an earthwork or partially buried structure on aerial photographs taken in 2010. A pale parch mark is also visible on the location of one of the emplacements, perhaps having formed over a structure or compacted ground. It is feasible therefore that substantial remains may survive below the ground surface.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England, http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1429256 (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Instow coastal battery located at SS 474 313. This was an emergency battery built during the Second World War as
part of Southern Command's coastal defences. The battery was operational by October 1941 and mounted two 4-inch
naval guns. It was manned by 398 Coast Battery of the Royal Artillery. It is referenced up until February 1942, but
may have been in use for longer.

Dipper, A., 2016, Military Record for the Instow Emergency Battery (Correspondence). SDV361336.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV15882Un-published: Guy, J.. 1990. List of Coastal Batteries. Typescript.
SDV1669Migrated Record: Horner, B..
SDV323777Report - non-specific: Dobinson, C. S.. 1996. Coastal artillery, 1900-56 VI.1 & VI.2. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. VI.1 & VI.2. A4 Stapled + Digital. 317.
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website. http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1429256.
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
SDV349060Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/102. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5001-5002 17-JAN-1945.
SDV349553Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1420. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/91420 3236-3237 15-APR-1946. [Mapped feature: #90366 ]
SDV349659Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1960. RAF/543/1017. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/543/1017 PSFO-0089 SS4731/1 10-AUG-1960.
SDV349892Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1970. MAL/70076. Meridian Airmaps Limited Aerial Photograph. NMR MAL/70076 178-179 25-SEP-1970.
SDV349899Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2010. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4731 08-APR-2010.
SDV361336Correspondence: Dipper, A.. 2016. Military Record for the Instow Emergency Battery. Email and attached photographs. Email + Digital.
SDV82845Migrated Record: APH.
SDV82846Report - Survey: SEE SUBSHEETS.
SDV82847Migrated Record:
SDV82848Aerial Photograph:
SDV82849Migrated Record:

Associated Monuments

MDV51288Related to: A military building, possibly a searchlight battery, north of North Devon Cricket Ground. (Monument)
MDV51290Related to: Loopholed wall at North Devon Cricket Ground (Monument)
MDV51287Related to: Pillbox at North Devon Cricket Ground (Building)
MDV102593Related to: Second World War water tank at North Devon Cricket Club (Monument)
MDV102594Related to: Two military buildings adjacent to North Devon Cricket Club pavillion (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

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

Date Last Edited:May 25 2018 9:00AM