Whitchurch pillbox is reopened

From left: Whitchurch Mayoress Jan Kean, Whitchurch Mayor Cllr Mike Kean, Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Cllr Roger Gardiner, Basingstoke and Deane Mayoress Tricia Gardiner, Sir George Young MP, and Pauline and Alun Rees

From left: Whitchurch Mayoress Jan Kean, Whitchurch Mayor Cllr Mike Kean, Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Cllr Roger Gardiner, Basingstoke and Deane Mayoress Tricia Gardiner, Sir George Young MP, and Pauline and Alun Rees

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

A PILLBOX built to defend Whitchurch from escaped prisoners of war has officially reopened.

The defensive position lies at the bottom of Alun Rees’ garden, in Lynch Hill Park, facing what was a prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War near the town’s station.

Last Saturday, Sir George Young, MP for North West Hampshire, opened the pillbox in front of a crowd of well-wishers, including former Arctic Convoy veteran Roy Dykes.

A piece of artwork was also retrieved from the pillbox to remember the 31 men from the town who died during the Second World War.

Sir George said: “It’s important that we keep monuments such as these to remember the country’s history.

“Originally, there were 40,000 of these pillboxes and now there are only 6,000 left, and it’s important that we keep a few to remind us that there was a real threat of invasion.”

Local artist Graham Burgess had the idea to renovate the pillbox and oversaw the work that took place earlier this year.

Vegetation was removed from on top and around the pillbox, while conifers were removed so that the pillbox can be seen from people on Newbury Road.

Mr Rees has lived in the house with his family for 29 years.

He said: “It’s a beautiful building, if you squint! I was not that keen when Graham first approached me four or five years ago. Part of the problem has been with allowing access to the public. We will open it up once or twice a year.”

Comments (1)

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1:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

whitchurchwhinger says...

Must be heavily armed prisoners - I dare say it's more likely to be as part of defensive measures in case Germany invaded, as thousands of other pillboxes in the UK were for
Must be heavily armed prisoners - I dare say it's more likely to be as part of defensive measures in case Germany invaded, as thousands of other pillboxes in the UK were for whitchurchwhinger
  • Score: -1

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