Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun platform

Back Lee Valley Country Park, 340m SE of Cheshunt railway station

The monument includes a World War II Bofors Anti-aircraft gun platform overlooking the Lee Valley Navigation canal to the west, and the lakes of the Lee Valley Country Park to the east. The platform is of concrete construction and conforms to the Directorate of Fortifications and Works design DFW 55087, which is an early type, the first examples of which were produced during the spring or early summer of 1940.

The tower was designed to raise a 40mm Bofors gun and its operational equipment above surrounding obstacles in order to achieve an all-round field of fire. The emplacement includes two parallel, independent towers approximately 6m tall, separated for much of their height by a 1.5m gap and fanning out at roof level to form two large flat platforms set 0.3m apart. The gap was needed to insulate the sensitive predictor equipment (sited on one platform) from the vibrations of the Bofors gun (sited on the other). The northern platform is rectangular in shape, measuring 3.82m by 6.43m, and has a number of holes forming a rectangular pattern in the roof. Contemporary photographs show that these would have served to secure, with bolts, a steel tank to the roof to afford protection to the emplacement commander and crew operating the predictor equipment. The southern platform is approximately 6 sq m and housed the Bofors gun itself; the gun mounting ring is still in place in the centre of the platform with eight fixing bolts in position. At each corner of the roof are recesses for the storage of up to 400 rounds of ammunition. Two rectangular openings (originally with steel shutters of which the frames and hinges remain) facilitated the supply of ammunition from the upper room of the northern tower (which housed most of the ammunition in a series of shelves and lockers) to the gunners. Each tower has two rooms; an external concrete staircase provides access from the ground floor to the first floor ammunition store in the northern tower and then up to the roof. At ground level the northernmost tower has a pillbox-type room with a single loophole and low ceiling. The southern tower has two high-ceilinged rooms at ground level; one has a large number of vents and rectangular openings and most probably housed the generator; the other room functioned as a general operations room. Both rooms have loopholes for defence with light weapons. Photographs in a contemporary magazine article published in November 1943 show the gun operated by its crew of four, plus an officer manning the telephone, a spotter scanning the sky with binoculars and two further crew members in position protected within the steel tank. In one photograph supplies are being ferried across the River Lee navigation canal to the emplacement.

The World War II Bofors Anti-aircraft gun platform 340m south east of Cheshunt railway station is one of only a few survivals of its type in the country. As such, it is an important historical structure, serving as a physical record of similar emplacements which have been demolished elsewhere. It provides a significant, visible reminder of the nature of home defence during World War II and gives an insight into the development of anti-aircraft measures in the region around Waltham Abbey. 

Outside view of gun platform

Outside view of gun platform

View of platform showing double structure

View of platform showing double structure

Outside view showing openings

Outside view showing openings

Top of platform showing gun mounting

Top of platform showing gun mounting

Turn on JavaScript to display the map

Show slideshow