NORTH WARREN, ALDERTON, TRAINING LANDSCAPE

Back North Warren, Aldringham, Suffolk.

Large area of training trenches, probably dating to early 1940, reused as part of defences later in the year.

Military training on the Suffolk coastline probably began almost as soon as the military presence was established in the early part of the war. By April 1940 an area comprising a fourteen kilometre length of coastline from Aldeburgh to the Dingle marshes and stretching up to four kilometres inland had been requisitioned and formed what was alternatively known as the Dunwich or Westleton training area

There is the strong likelihood that some of the military earthworks in this area date to the early part of the Second World War, of which those at RSPB North Warren are by far the best. The site comprises a roughly circular series of trenches, with a series of discrete firing points interspersed along the edge, with a distinctive circular trench work in one corner.

The form of this work corresponds closely to the layout of a company position given in 1925 Manual of Fieldworks and a possible context provided by a training instruction in April 1940 that units in the area were to dig both battalion and company positions. Although training trenches, they were to face towards the coastline should they ever be required to help oppose an enemy landing. The North Warren trench system makes sense in such a context lying as it does behind the forward line of the company of the 9th battalion the King’s Regiment that was stationed at Aldebugh at this time. The existence of the two pillboxes also aids this interpretation; the possibility that the proposed training trenches might have to be used seems a little prophetic given that the invasion crisis would break the following month. The orientation of the pillboxes to give a line of fire to cover the main road leading inland from Aldeburgh would suggest that they represent secondary positions to be used when the main area of the town had fallen. 

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