World War II

Removing a mine from the beach c1945

By Jennifer Drury

 
Photo:Personnel from HMS Vernon remove a mine from the beach c1945

Personnel from HMS Vernon remove a mine from the beach c1945

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

Beach defences

In World War II the south east coast was stoutly defended by a blanket of barbed wire, mines and concrete barriers, intended to protect us from the German invasion. Both Palace Pier and the West Pier were closed for the duration of the war and gaps were cut in both promenades to make sure they could not be used by the enemy.

Instructions in the event of an invasion

Gun crews were strategically placed along the seafront and it is believed that they were instructed to destroy either or both the piers to stop the German navy using them as landing stages for an invasion. There were several naval bases set up in Brighton and Hove. One of these, was at Roedean School, which was requisitioned to house HMS Vernon, The Royal Navy’s Torpedo and Mine Training School.

Clearing the beaches

When hostilities ceased the beaches needed to be cleared and made safe once again. The photograph here shows naval personnel from HMS Vernon removing a mine from the beach at Brighton.

Do you remember this?

Do you remember the beaches being covered with these sea defences? If you do, please leave a comment below and tell us about it.

This page was added on 04/06/2011.
Comments about this page

I was 13 years old and went to Christ Church school in Bedford Place. Coming home from school one day with a couple of school chums. We saw this tank being driven on the beach. It was a soldier clearing the mines with a powerful jet of water. He stopped, got out of the tank and was walking towards us, when there was a loud explosion and his body landed in the wire in front of us.

By Viv Webb (17/06/2011)

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