Modified Type 27 Shell-Proof Pillbox

Back Sudbury Meadows, Sudbury, Suffolk

Shell-proof pillbox once forming part of the Eastern Command or Corps Stop Line.

Suffolk was crossed by numerous ‘Stop Line’ defences, which were intended both an anti-tank barriers and places from which British counter-attacks could be launched on any invading German columns. The most heavily fortified line was the ‘Eastern Command’ or ‘Corps’ Line, which originated at Colchester in Essex, entered Suffolk at Bures and ran north through the east of the county, passing Sudbury, Lavenham, Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall, before heading further west and joining the river Great Ouse.

The piilboxes along the line were modifications of standard designs that were almost certainly drawn up by Royal Engineers based at Colchester. They tend to fall into ‘bullet proof’ and ‘shell proof’ types and are often referred to as Type 27 pillboxes. The example at Sudbury is a good example of a shell proof modified Type 27 with a central well for the mounting of a machine gun in an anti-aircraft role. The concrete walls were originally covered with a yellow brick shuttering, some of which remains. Along this stretch, the Stop Line comprised two defensive lines; the pillboxes guarded the river, while the former railway line to the west was an anti-tank line.

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