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Somerset Historic Environment Record

12359

Site Name: Second-World-War Coast Artillery battery, Brean Down
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Multi-period site on Brean Down [No:13811]
Civil Parish: Brean
Part of:
PRN 12514Multi-period site on Brean Down, Brean
Comprises:
PRN 12355Second World War battery command post, Brean Down
PRN 12356Second World War barracks, Brean Down
PRN 12357Second World War searchlight position, Brean Down
PRN 12358Second World War searchlight position, Brean Down
PRN 12362Ruined building, Brean Down
PRN 12363Second World War training features, Brean Down
PRN 12364Second World War or later structures, Brean Down
PRN 12380Second World War observation post, Brean Down
PRN 12480Second World War Nissen hut base, Brean Down
PRN 12481Second World War water storage tank, Brean Down
PRN 12482Second World War generator building, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12483Range finder, Brean Down
PRN 12486Second World War gun emplacement, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12487Second World War sewage chamber, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12488Second World War nissen hut base, Brean Down
PRN 12489Second World War nissen hut base, Brean Down
PRN 12490Second World War nissen hut bases, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12491Second World War experimental weapon rails, Brean Down
PRN 12494Second World War gun crew rooms, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12495Second World War latrine, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12496Second World War gun emplacement, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
PRN 12498Second World War building base, Brean Down Fort, Brean Down
Grid Ref: ST 280 593 (ST 25 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 12359 - View over one gun house to the other. Photo by Somerset County Council (April 1995)
  HER 12359 - View over one gun house to the other. Photo by Somerset County Council (April 1995)

Public access:

As far as we are aware all or part of this site is on National Trust land open to the public. [Information last updated on 12 December 2002]

Details:

A Coast Artillery battery survives in good condition. {1}

The Palmerstonian fort at Brean (PRN 10128) was reused during WW2 as the site of a coastal battery as were the other forts on the Holms and in Wales. Two gun positions were built to mount 6" ex-navel guns in their turrets. These were later protected with a "plastic" anti-aircraft roof. This has now been removed for safety. One position (PRN 12486) was built over the ruins of the old W battery and the other (PRN 12496) partly obscures the NW battery. The barrack blocks were converted and the windows partly blocked to reduce the effects of blast. The concrete bases of several buildings survive in the fort (PRN 12498) and also protected in the moat (PRNs 12482, 12487 12490. Several experimental weapons were trialled at Brean, the only evidence being a short length of launching rail (PRN 12491). Several other structures lie outside the fort: Two searchlight batteries for illuminating sea-borne targets (PRN 12357, 12358), a command post (PRN 12355) and the barracks for the garrison (PRN 12356). {2}

Manned by 365 and 366 Coast Batteries RA of 571 Coast Regiment in 1942. {4}

Severn Fixed Defences were disbanded on 20/4/1944. {5}

On 29/7/1941 "R/T sets installed and communications set up between NELLS POINT, BREAN DOWN and FLATHOLM". At the end of 1941 (19/12/1941) "366 Coast Battery ceased to be incorporated in this Unit" as were 189, 145, 365 and 188 Batteries. It is not clear if they were disbanded or transferred or whether their guns continued in operation. {6}

The battery does not appear in a list of Emergency Batteries dated 26/12/1940 and appended to the 558 Coast Regiment war diary. {7}

In an addendum to the list of Coast Artillery batteries in Southern Command in 1942 Brean is included as follows : Corps/Div = "(Western Command)", Works = "Brean Down", Armament = "2 - 6" (Naval)", Coords = 720805, Arc of fire = 036 - N - 180, Range = 6000 yds. {8}

References:

1 Description - Information from Fortress Study Group database [John Hellis]. Record ID: 00823 (March 1994)
2 Verbal communication - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (September 1994). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
3 Aerial photographs - DAP YU33-36. (1995) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
4 Historical reference - War diary, 526 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery.  (1939-41) Available at The National Archives Reference: WO 166/1728
5 Historical reference - War diary, Fixed Defences Severn.  (1944) Available at The National Archives Reference: WO 166/14955
6 Historical reference - Royal Artillery: Coast Regiments: 531 Coast Regiment war diary.  (1941-42) Available at The National Archives. Reference: WO 166/1733
7 Historical reference - War Diary 558 Coast Regt.  (November 1940 - December 1941) Available at The National Archives Reference: WO 166/1757 some photocopies in HER. Copy in HER files under PRN 35359.
8 Historical reference - Coastal Defence.  (1940-42) Available at The National Archives Reference: WO 199/1638
9 Detailed records - Webster, CJ. The Victorian and Second World War artillery batteries on Brean Down. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  145 (2001), 89-115

Record created in October 1994

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