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Thread: Search Light Batteries

  1. #21
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    At least Pillboxes are next to immovable and, therefore, durable. Searchlights, both the 120cm and 90cm tended to be trailer mounted with trailer mounted generator seats so a fixed position required little more than a piece of level ground with a cinder overlay or ideally, concrete and so field remains are few.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    I suspect from reading AA command recently that very few searchlight sites were of a permanent nature. Although the projector was supposed to be mounted in a shallow pit to offer the crew some protection against aircraft firing down the beam. And there were supposed to be a couple of Lewis guns in earth emplacements, neither structure would have left much of a trace. The most enduring structures would have been the bases for the accommodation and in some cases a pillbox. I'm sure site locations are recorded in the same documents researched by Colin Dobinson but since there are little or no remains and they aren't as interesting as Decoy sites it was deemed a waste of effort to document them in the same thorough manner lavished on Decoys and HAA sites.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    May I thank everyone for their help and information. I spoke again at the end of last week to my lady informant and she referred me to another lady who confirmed the location, both of them were adamant about the searchlight and its location but were woolly about the guns. I am going next week to see Iris for tea and cream buns and will show her the August 1945 PR photo of the area. We are getting together a press article to ask if anyone else recalls the site.
    Here is a link to the first lady
    http://ryhdymwynvalleyhistory.co.uk/...id=160&lang=en

  4. #24
    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    London GDA: Z-Rocket Batteries

    I've been updating my GE AA folders again, concentrating on the Z-Rocket batteries in the London Gun Defended Area.

    So far I've plotted the following, mainly from Pastscape entries with position corrections where possible:

    2Z: Tooting Bec
    3Z: Anerley
    4Z: Blackheath Common
    7Z: Shooters Hill
    8Z: Hyde Park
    9Z: Battersea Park
    13Z: Wormwood Scrubs
    16Z: Parliament Hill
    18Z: Dulwich
    19Z: Victoria Park
    20Z: Wanstead Flats
    21Z: Southwark Park
    25Z: West Ham
    26Z: Parsloes Park

    London GDA ZAA 4-1-12.kmz

    Can anyone help fill in the gaps in the numbering sequence?

    All the best,
    PB

  5. #25
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    Never knew about the Shooters Hill one. My old secondary school, Shooters Hill Grammar for Boys, was about a mile WNW between the AA battery on Woolwich Common and the Z battery. The 1945 GE layer show up the Z battery, albeit fuzzy.
    We did a geography field trip around that area in the late 60s. and there was an abatoir not far from there. Smelt a bit as I recall.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    There were quite a few searchlights used in coastal defense schemes.

    This is just south of Blyth, it was a WW1, and WW2 defence site, protecting the harbour, which was used as a submarine base. Again - excellent condition, and preserved, full marks to Blyth council for doing so. Such a refreshing view and attitude, just like Cheshire CC.

    Barr & Stroud rangefinder (in the top circular bit):



    Observation tower:



    From the back:



    One of two gun emplacements:



    Front View:



    Ammunition Storage (3 units, shell, charge and case are all stored separate):



    Searchlight Units, manned by the Americans: ( http://www.skylighters.org/ )

    The open ends have been bricked up.



    Commemoration Plaque:



    A general website for searchlights: http://www.skylighters.org/howalightworks/index.html

    Just down the road literally, is an excellent AA site, also well preserved. The owner who uses it for horses, had no idea what it was at all.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    This is just south of Blyth, on the NE Coast, it's a fine example, excellent condition, and I had to explain to the owner, what it all was, so he's happy, and I'm happy too.

    This site is featured as a photograph in Dobinson's book.

    General Layout (courtesy Google Earth):



    Generator building for power:



    Control building, now filled with ground water:

    Rangefinder / height finder mount:



    An innovation on the later sites - a shelter !:



    Radar building (??):



    Exit pipes for control cables (??) to the gun emplacements:



    GL Radar Ramp - the wheeled radar unit sat on top, above a 85 yard diameter chicken wire mesh mat, to provide an artificial horizon:





    Storage, underneath the GL wire mesh mat - what was the slot for ?:



    3.75 inch gun emplacement, with earthworks (still extant!):


  8. #28
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    Another site in very good condition. Thanks for the pictures. Was this one upgraded during the Cold War?

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    Quote Originally Posted by P Bellamy View Post
    London GDA: Z-Rocket Batteries

    I've been updating my GE AA folders again, concentrating on the Z-Rocket batteries in the London Gun Defended Area.

    Can anyone help fill in the gaps in the numbering sequence?

    All the best,
    PB
    Thanks for the kmz file PB about half of these are not listed in AA Command so I've added their locations to my overlay with the designations you supplied. Confusingly the ones that are listed have different designations to those you give but still begin with a Z indicating a Z battery.

    Anerly is listed as ZS24
    Wormwood Scrubs is ZW10
    Parliament Hill is ZE14 but your placemark is some way from mine so maybe these were seperate site.
    Dulwich is ZS14
    Wanstead is ZS9

    Any thoughts?

  10. #30
    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ack Ack and Searchlight Sites

    Within the London GDA, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery numbers given in AA Command appear to have been split into three zones, ZE for (Zone?) East, ZW for (Zone?) West and ZS for all those "sarf of the river".
    Consequently, batteries in each zone are prefixed with the zone's letters.

    The Rocket batteries in the London GDA however all have the Z as a suffix, without any area letter.

    As for placemark locations, sadly the grid references tabulated in AA Command are not always accurate when compared to surviving battery positions on the ground, and the same battery can be given multiple widely different locations too.
    I've been combining the information from Pastscape, DoB, Old Maps, local history sites and historic aerial photo coverage to try to get placemarks as close as possible, always fun especially when a fair amount of the "1945" GE coverage of London is censored.

    As an example, here's Wormwood Scrubs, HAA site outlined blue and the ZAA site outlined in yellow:



    All the best,
    PB

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