Monument record ADB 106 - A World War II Anti-tank ditch

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A World War II Anti-tank ditch, Aldeburgh (formerly MXS19751).


Grid reference Centred TM 4637 5773 (813m by 1217m)
Map sheet TM45NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

A World War II anti-tank ditch is visible on aerial photographs from 1940 onwards immediately to the north of Aldeburgh, centred roughly on TM46435788. This stretch of anti-tank ditch is part of the World War II coastal defences for Suffolk, and continues southwards from the stretch immediately to the north (ADB 060). Unusually, this section of the anti-tank ditch defences is made up of two components; a double ditched defence, one behind the other. The first stretch to be constructed appears to be that furthest inland, the length that crosses the relict sea-bank (see ADB 059) at circa TM46635830. By July 1940, the sea bank has had a section removed to prevent it being used as a route inland, also allowing an almost continuous length of anti-tank ditch to run between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh, constructed through the widening and connecting of existing drainage channels. On photographs from 1940 the widening process appears to have begun on the stretch from circa TM46635830 to circa TM46495816, with the resultant spoil being piled up to create a bank on the eastern side (S1). By December 1941 not only has the existing drainage bank been widened and banked from circa TM46635830 to TM57304655, to create a C shaped barrier, a completely new ditch has been excavated and banked along the sea front, from circa TM46775825 to TM46605739, closing the 'C' shape and creating a rectangular 'box' of anti-tank ditches. The ditches supplement, and are in turn reinforced by the coastal anti-invasion defences that also plug the small gaps between the ditches (see ADB 154). An 'arm' of anti-tank ditch runs south for about 300m from the south-eastern corner of the 'box' of ditches at TM46555742, to circa TM46575712. This provides additional protection for the land around Aldebugh Lodge that contains an 18th century gun battery barracks that was used by the army in the second world war (see ADB 022, ADB 110). A second 'arm' of ditch runs from circa TM46325741 to TM45975223. This appears to be located to provide an additional element of protection on the northern side of Aldeburgh town, should the first two ditches be breached. The sea-front ditch, the section in the relict sea-bank and both southern 'arms' of ditch have been filled in by 1952, whilst the inland ditches continue in use as drainage channels. (S1-S6).

Thorpe Road, Aldeburgh. Approx. 900m linear anti-tank ditch aligned SSW - NNE. [Plotted from aerial photographs] (S7).

The Green Drift, Aldeburgh. 360 metre linear anti-tank ditch aligned WSW - ENE, with a 100 metre spur aligned NE from N extremity. The spur aligns with a 900 metre long ditch to the N. [Plotted from aerial photographs] (S8).

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <S1> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 2/BR11/14 5-7 08-Jul-1940.
  • <S2> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 2A/BR167 6-9 17-Dec-1941.
  • <S3> Photograph: USAAF. USAAF Air Photograph. US/7PH/GP/LOC132 5048-5049 30-Dec-1943.
  • <S4> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/929 4307-4308 16-Oct-1945.
  • <S5> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 58/877 5221-5223 21-May-1952.
  • <S6> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 58/877 5252 21-May-1952.
  • <S7> Digital archive: Defence of Britain Project archive. UORN: S0006134.
  • <S8> Digital archive: Defence of Britain Project archive. UORN: S0006211.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Feb 22 2016 4:21PM

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