Anti Aircraft battery

First, it must be stressed that this site is on private land and livestock is normally present. Permission must be obtained before entering the field.

            Along with the air-raid shelters, the anti-aircraft gun position H25 at Goodrest Farm is Kenilworth’s most tangible link with the Second World War, there is little else in the way of relics. It was constructed in 1940 and was part of a ring of defence around Coventry. There were six 3.7” gun positions of which four remain along with the control room. The structures were built from blocks, others elsewhere were brick built. This may indicate a shortage of materials, or the need to build hurridly.

Although sited at Goodrest farm, it was known as Bannerhill Battery apparently because that was the farm where the officers were billeted.

            As air raids in the region decreased, the field alongside was used for a prisoner of war camp, of which no trace remains. Some of the buildings earlier housed the A-A crews. Prisoners worked and mixed with the local community, and some stayed when hostilities ceased.

The site, briefly, saw a return to use in the mid 1960s, when the Royal Observer Corps needed somewhere that provided better protection for their role of nuclear fall-out detection. (See also, ROC Post, Knowle Hill)

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In 1966, the ROC took part in a nationwide excercise. The KWN reported on it and included this photograph taken inside the command room. An accompanying article stated that for the exercise, the room was lit only by a 5 watt bulb powered by a battery.

Update, 15th December 2011:    I have been contacted by Maurice Butler who appears in the above photograph. He assures me that the 'Nuclear' observation post was NOT at Goodrest Farm but much further down Rouncil Lane and on the other side of the road. It was approximately 20feet underground; today there are no visible remains of the 'Nuclear' shelter.

             Today, the Goodrest farm site has no official preservation status of any type, but I am assured by the owner that its future is in no danger.

            Cyril Hobbins has carried out much commendable research on both subjects, which, sadly, is currently unpublished. This is a link to one small part of his work that is available on the internet:

 http://www.youngch.f2s.com/kfpg/goodrest.htm

 

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Goodrest Farm 1945. The 6 anti-aircraft gun positions are clearly seen in an arc around the control room towards the bottom, for convenience I shall number them 1 - 6, starting top-right and running clockwise. It is the four central ones, 2 - 5, that survive.The buildings towards the top make up the Prisoner of War camp.

 

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  Earth banks protect the outside of the positions, but not to roof level. This is due to the presence of air vents.The recesses are ammunition lockers, and in the centre of this particular example there are still metal fixings for the weapon. (Upper photograph is Number 5 position, lower  pictures are of Number 2 position).

 

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 Each gun position has two of these crew shelters. (Number 3 position)

 

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The control room is built partly below ground level.

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The control room is reached down a flight of steps, but nothing survives in the way of wartime fixtures or fittings.

 (Modern photographs taken in February 2011)

Details of a near-identical anti-aircraft battery, forming another part of the defence of Coventry at Fillongley, can be found here: 

www.timetrail.warwickshire.gov.uk/detail.aspx?monuid=WA9175

 

 Since the above was uploaded, a new group 'The Friends of Anti Aircraft Battery, Goodrest Farm' has been formed and in conjunction with the site owners have cleared a couple of the positions and the Control Room. On Sunday 20th November 2011, they held an 'open day' at which the following were taken. (The night of the 20th - 21st November 1940, the position was in action; it was the night 2 landmines were dropped on Kenilworth.)

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Inside the control room, little remains in the way of war-time relics. One last metal window frame is hanging on, whilst a solitary piece of electrical equipment is still attached to a wall.

 

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The central areas of two poistions, number 4 (left) and number 2 (right) have been cleared revealing the weapon fixing points and cable channeling.

 

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This is part of the observation area that would have been 'manned' by teenage girls, in part of the control room building. On the right is the remains of a post thought to have supported a telescope of some sort, extreme right is the entrance to the building.