British Anti-Invasion Preparations
During World War Two Great Britain tried to defend it long coastline. They build all kinds of protective constructions, lookout posts, searchlight positions and other warning systems. They used home guard, officially named LDV – Local Defence Volunteers who helped the government with information and extra eyes, 1,5 million sets of extra eyes to be more precise. The coast was strengthened with fortifications, pillboxes and anti tank obstacles, barbed wire defences and anti personnel and anti tank mines. Gun positions were filled up with obsolete World War One Naval guns.
Today the mines and barbed wires are gone but the concrete constructions can still be found as can be seen on this beautiful drone movie made by Erika. This particular anti tank wall can be found near Dunbar in Eastern Lothian – Scotland near the Hedderwick Hill Plantation.
A Tank on the beach
Further down the beach lies the remains of a tank. This World War Two tank is indentified as a Matilda II type. The Matilda was an infantry support tank, high speed was not necessary but armour was. It could reach a top speed of 26 km/h on the road and had a 40 mm, 2 pounder, gun. Its Armour could get as thick as 80 mm. Almost 3.000 pieces were build between 1937 and 1945 and it was used by English forces, Soviet troops due to the lend and lease pact, and Australian forces. This particular Matilda tank seems to be used as target practice. Locals mention it was a dozer variant.
The Matilda remains can be found at: 56.011820, -2.576448
The Polish Army in Eastern Lothian
After the invasion of Poland and the taking of France and Belgium by the German army, 17.000 Polish soldiers arrived in England. The 1st Polish Armoured Division had its training grounds in Scotland. They arrived with the legendary Major General Stanislaw Maczek who lived in Scotland after the war. One of the larger units, the 10th Mountain Rifles trained in East Lothian, they were stationed at the Amisfield Park in Haddington. They trained with Crusader tanks and helped the build coastal defences and lay mines. The unit left for south England for more training but returned later on and would be stationed in Peebles and later on in Dalkeith. The 1st Polish Armoured Division landed in Normandy in July of 1944 and would battle through Europe. Their last battle was for the town of Wilhemshaven in Germany in May 1945.