Pill Boxes in the Wickford area.
The term “Pill Box” refers to the defensive structures built during the early years of
the Second World War to provide foundations for anti aircraft guns, and cover for
machine guns and larger artillery pieces to be used at ground level.
THE WICK COUNTRY PARK.
There are three pill boxes in the grounds of the park. The largest is just inside
the main entrance, next to the day nursery. It is easily visible, and shows clearly the
concrete roof which is thick and strong enough to support an anti aircraft gun, and
the multiple layers of brickwork, with the large gun port which would give a wide
range for guns to be used at ground level. It was built in 1940 when the country was
at risk of aerial bombing, particularly from enemy bombers coming from the near
continent and aiming at London (the Blitz), and also at risk of a land invasion which
was thought likely at that time.
The second pill box is further inside the park, and can be seen from the
perimeter pathway, near the bridge over the stream. It is smaller than the one
mentioned above, and is surrounded by trees and bushes. Also the entrance and
gun ports are boarded up, but it still gives the visitor a clear impression of the serious
danger we faced from Germany in 1940.
The third pill box is in the thickest part of the woods, and would easily be
missed by the casual visitor to the park. It is of a similar size to the second one
mentioned above, and has been neglected in the years since the end of the war.
THE RECREATION GROUND, SHOTGATE.
This pill box is of a different type to those mentioned above. It is thought to
have been a defensive position meant to resist attack by enemy tanks in the event of
a major invasion. It is a large, low building with wide ground level gun ports. It is
surrounded by trees and undergrowth, and is in poorer condition than the others in
the Wickford area (the concrete roof is crumbling away), but the brickwork is still
ALICIA WALK, WICKFORD.
There is a small pill box near the pathway at the end of Alicia Walk. It is in
good condition – the concrete roof is intact, and the brickwork is also well preserved.
The entrance is sealed, and the gun ports have been bricked up at some time after it
was no longer in use , but it gives a good impression of what these pill boxes looked
like when they were new.