guarding the Frome and the weir
guarding the A356
I had difficulty finding the doorway on this one. Guarded by an enthusiastic hollybush and ancient brambles, I confirmed where I thought it was by taking a photograph of the interior through an observation slit. I returned later with secateurs and fought my way in. Fortunately this pillbox was different to the weir one as the steps led directly into the interior so I managed to get my photograph through an observation slit though with not quite the results I had originally intended. My dog did prove useful though as it turned out.
The interior photo below shows the observation height inside which compares with the exterior height on the right . It also shows the small opening which faces on to the entrance steps. Note also that there are no water marks on the interior walls (see next item)
Between the road and the river. The main problem with this one is that it readily floods, the internal doorway is very low and then there is at least another 12" down to floor level inside. As there is usually water at the bottom of the steps, stepping inside risks getting wellies full of very murky water . Black 'tide' marks on the interior walls indicate high water
an ammunition store by the railway line. Until a few years ago it had a tin roof and was used as a scooter shed and a quiet spot for 'courting'
a recent temporary resident
a view of the A37, A356, railway viaduct and the Frome;
was there an auxilary look out post up here?
Well yes it seems that there was >>>>>>>>>>>>>
and then there's this, halfway down the slope between the railway and the A356. It's now built against but I have several photos
World War 2 Defences
There are a number of pillboxes in Frampton because of the juxtaposition of road, rail and river. Some have been destroyed, one is buried and another is deep in the undergrowth along the railway cutting. They are an essential ingredient in the history of the area.
Not quite sure what this was supposed to prevent under the viaduct at Grimstone though I have since been informed that it originally stood in the road under the main arch which must have aggravated the residents of Sydling St Nicholas
There are many other reminders of World War 2 in the area. These brick walls are below Poundbury Hillfort near Dorchester.
There was an army camp between here and Dorchester. This was the firing range and a meccca for small boys hunting for ammunition cases long after the war
There's a lot of 'tank traps' round Maiden Newton. These particular ones, part of a double row, guard the railway line which used to run to West Bay
These tank traps run alongside the River Hooke
The remains of an ammunition store and a base for a 29mm mortar, both alongside the River Frome
According to information from John Hellis via the Pillbox Study Group website, these are sometimes called Blacker Bombard after the inventor of them. Also known as a spigot-mortar Members of the Group restored a rather battered pillbox at Maiden Newton during the Maiden Newton at War weekend in 2008
This now peaceful old quarry housed two large guns firing out across West Bay. They got here, presumably from Weymouth, via the railway line just up the lane
and these are close to the railway bridge on the A356 to Crewkerne
These 'pieces' of pillbox are at the junction of the A37 and the A356, destroyed, I suppose, when the junction was improved
Frampton's air raid warning siren
click on photo for details
The label reads deliver to
Mr A Worth
13 Dorchester Road Frampton
(Mr Worth was an acknowledged bee expert but maybe he also had something to do with Civil Defence, see note below)
I had hoped to get an inside out view through one of the slits. 1st left of the row below is the entrance.and when I investigated I found a 3ft drop beyond the sill. I could have got in but I would have had difficulty getting out again and I doubt if my mobile phone would have worked inside those thick concrete and brick walls. The blast walls look as if they had been constructed yesterday
'The enemy approaches
with a deadly weapon'
This photo gives a neat underscore to floor level against ground level. Scout stands 18" at his shoulder, inside the height to the slit is 4ft 6" A 6ft defender could easily stand upright in these constructions
The grey box on the cellar wall below the Rectory was the communications centre for the village. The original was replaced by BT in the 1980s and then still had to be checked at regular intervals for Civil Defence purposes.
only the top is visible of this one though a careful look into the undergrowth reveals more
New information on these matters has come from John Watts and it appears that these communication devices were distributed round UK towns and villages during the 'Cold War' in the 1970s. In Frampton the siren was stored originally in what is now the garage end of the house east of the church. The other end, at the time, was the Post Office with the emergency telephone line, tested weekly. Later, presumably when the building was sold, the siren was moved into the cellars of the Rectory along with the telephone line. It was still being tested at 6 monthly intervals into the 1980s. I think the sirens were originally produced for WW2, the MoD had a warehouse full of them somewhere and thought it a good idea to distribute them if only to convince the populace that they were 'doing something'. The Rev Ken Scott who was retiring invited me to record these details and the siren is now safely stored with the HSoF Chairman. It works just fine as we tried it out at the HSoF village history weekend
The tin hat belonged to Capt. William Guinon who served with the Dorsets. He lived at the Mill Southover and gave the hat to Nigel Green when he moved to Dorchester. Rene Green allowed me to photograph the helmet
updated: May 9, 2016
Somewhere I have a postcard of the First World War PoW encampment at Dorchester. I will post it as soon as I find it!
Rumour has it that this pillbox was constructed by a local builder by the name of 'Beano' Hill. Certainly the ground it stands on was part of a piece of rough land which he had on a permanent lease. Here he kept an eclectic mix of timber, tools, machinery, fencing, glass and strange looking objects which would have been difficult to imagine any use for.. The pillbox would have been unusable for much of the winter or indeed even in a wet summer. see Frampton floods
Villagers still managed to make the most of whatever was available. Here the Harvest Home in the early 1940s was held in the barn at Littlewood Farm. The photos were supplied Ron Sprake, the gentleman arrowed on the right.
LH photo. this pillbox is on the right covered in ivy and under the leaning tree on the left in the RH photo so you might think it had a fair chance of flooding. However the pillbox guarding the A356, is behind the trees on the right in the far distance yet doesn't have any sign of water inside despite being well set into the ground
On the right is the weir, the rails are the sluice gates and immediately next to that is the pillbox which guards the weir. I couldn't see any water marks from the outside although the water levels must come pretty close to the observation holes. I took this photo before the river reached max. and I certainly don't fancy standing there until it does. Maybe I'll get a closer look this summer as I do have a volunteer to help me investigate
Maiden Newton at War
returns on June 19th and 20th 2010
The restored pillbox overlooks the railway line between Maiden Newton and Frampton. The one below is close to the Maiden Newton railway station and in very good condition. The view of the line is now somewhat obscured by the very necessary safety fencing. You can see how close the housing is to the line in the photo of the tanktraps which stand between the pillbox and the line. You can also see that, like the restored pillbox above it stands well above the ground surface unlike most at Frampton. The other very obvious difference between this and the Frampton pillboxes is the standard of brick used to build them. These are almost certainly locally hand made bricks, the close-up photos plainly showing the rough mixture they are made of. Not that that means they are not long lasting just that they are not as 'well-made' as those at Frampton. The Frampton bricks are probably made from the Oxford Clay (marine deposits) at Chickerell , Weymouth which practically fires itself. The Maiden Newton bricks look as if they are made from the local Eocene clays (river depositsl) which is much more variable in content. There was a small kiln at Notton perhaps brought back into use for this purpose
from the Defence of Britain website