Cudmore Grove Country Park

Back Cudmore Grove Country Park, East Mersea, Essex

Cudmore Grove Country Park was, during World War Two, a coastal artillery site housing 4.7" (120 mm) guns. There were two casemates. These are marked on maps dated 1960 and shown on photographs taken in 1974 - before their collapse on to the beach. Barbed wire, stakes, wheels, etc., which were dumped into a pit presumably when the site was closed down, are now re-appearing at the cliff face as a consequence of coastal erosion.

During World War Two, what is now Cudmore Grove Country Park was a coastal artillery battery with two 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns, probably of World War One vintage. A Battery Observation Post was the central command position, horizontally-aimed searchlights swept the sea at night from concrete bunkers, and pillboxes guarded the perimeter against ground attack.

In 2007, two pillboxes still survive, both in good condition. The two gun casemates now lie as broken concrete on the sands but remain very recognisable from the large ring of gun-holding bolts, the holdfast. Similarly, the Battery Observation Post is now shattered concrete on the beach, as is one of the two searchlight emplacements, both recognisable from the distinctive shapes. The remaining searchlight emplacement survives as a concrete base on the cliff edge.

After 60 years, very few WWII 4.7-inch coastal artillery sites still survive in anything approaching significant form. All the remains at Cudmore Grove, including the extant pillboxes, the broken emplacements on the beach and the remaining searchlight base, are important features of WWII archaeology, part of the history and heritage of wartime Essex. The loss of any part would be a loss to the integrity of the whole.

Photo from 1970s showing gun battery before destruction by erosion

Photo from 1970s showing gun battery before destruction by erosion

Rubble on beach following erosion

Rubble on beach following erosion

Remains of battery observation post on beach

Remains of battery observation post on beach

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