Tilburstow Hill


Rabies Heath Road

Stone Pit.  This former pit in the Hythe Beds was worked for chert for use in road metalling at the beginning of the century.  It is now a nature reserve.

Tilburstow Hill

pillbox stands at Anglefield corner where Tilburstow Hill meets the A22. Following the defeat of the British army on the continent in 1940 hasty preparations were made for the expected invasion of southern England. Remembering the effectiveness of the German concrete machine gun pillboxes in 1917, General Sir Edmund Ironside ordered the construction of a complex series of lines of pillboxes throughout the land. The line running through Tandridge District and which is in the rather flat area in the south of the district, was part of the General Head Quarters Line (GHQ) which stretched from the Bristol channel to the Thames estuary. The pillboxes were about 100m apart therefore constituted an uninterrupted line of defence but neverthe- less they presented rather prominent targets to the enemy. It would have helped if they had MQ been earthed over as was the case in Belgium. Basically the line was an anti-tank defence and  in front were either water courses or an anti-tank ditch (which remains only in local memory), and barbed wire obstructions. Those required to man the line were instructed not to regard it as last ditch defence. If enemy infantry got close enough to use grenades and flame throwers the pillboxes were to be evacuated. In construction the basic protective properties of concrete were enlisted. The brick coverings not only added to the strength of the construction but acted as shuttering during the building process. Local Royal Engineer commanders enlisted local builders for the job. Most of the pillboxes still stand in reasonably good condition. In general only the brickwork has deteriorated over time. Visitors today will find two types; the infantry type and the anti-tank type which has an open front to accommodate the anti-tank guns. In theory the pillboxes and hills of the North Downs and the Greensand ridge constituted a sound defensive system but in practice they would have been of little use because the defeated British army had lost nearly all of its arms and equipment, particularly its anti-tank guns in France and Belgium. Some pillboxes are outside the GHQ line.


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