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Joining the Concrete Dots

Pill box

Wed 9 Sep 2020

Have you ever seen a pillbox? If you’ve driven around the country the answer is probably yes. Many roads pass these little concrete bunkers left over from the wall.

Do you know what pillboxes are? Many of us know these were places for soldiers to shelter from gunfire while being able to shoot back.

Do you know why they were built? Often the clue is in the location of a pillbox, overlooking a road or abridge, even a river or railway; the pillbox would have been to stop the enemy from going any further.

We know quite a lot about pillboxes. However, we also know there is a lot we don’t know. Particularly about our local pillboxes.

We don’t know who built them, local builders or the army: we don’t know who guarded them, full-time soldiers or local Home Guards.

It’s a mystery as to why the railway bridges of the Trent Valley have pillboxes that are different to nearby ones near road bridges.

Were local pillboxes camouflaged during the war?

Did people try to use pillboxes for other uses after the war ended?

There is indeed much we don’t know: we want to answer these questions and others about the pillboxes along the Tame, Trent and Dove. We do know they were part of a network called Stop Line Number 5.

We are seeking research volunteers. People who would like to answer these questions and more by researching the history of Stop Line Number 5. If you think these are questions you can help answer we are looking for volunteers like you.

Working with the Staffordshire Records Office we need people who will delve into archives and read the records, researching the history of this little part of the Second World War.

If you would like to join us in solving the mysteries of pillboxes, please contact Rod Whiteman, our Cultural Heritage Officer, through r.whiteman@staffs-wildlife.org.uk