During the Second World War, the Hoo Peninsula was one of the most heavily fortified areas anywhere in England. Defensive ‘Stop Lines’ including pillboxes, barbed wire and anti-tank ditches cut a swathe across the whole landscape linking up the villages.
The purpose of these defences was simple, they were part of Britain’s Outer London Defence Ring in response to the threat of German invasion. The intension was to delay and hold back enemy armoured columns that were expected to drive inland from the nearby invasion beaches and ports.
Today only fragments of this military landscape survive. Enough still remains to gain an impression of what was once was expected to be the front line against invasion.
The Hoo Stop Line; anti-invasion defence line stretched for approximately eight miles between the River Thames near Cliffe and the River Medway to the south-east of Hoo St Werburgh .
The War Office plan for the Stop Line shows a total of sixty infantry and eighteen anti-tank pillboxes. Each individual component would have been encircled in barbed wire for extra protection. There were probably other earthworks such as slit trenches.
The Hoo peninsula was a heavily militarised zone during the Second World War with Hoo itself designated as a defended village in 1941 with its own garrison. A further one hundred troops from the 347th Searchlight Battery, Royal Artillery were located at Kingshill Camp to the west of Bell Lane. High Halstow village to the north and the Royal Navy Ammunition Dump at Lodge Hill were also garrisoned.
The stop line was intended to provide a man-made defence against invasion.
Development of the Peninsula must be sympathetic to the Hoo Stop Line and its historic structures and continue the excellent work already undertaken at Allhallows on the historic Slough Fort
This is another example of how important the cultural heritage of the Peninsula is and shows why it should celebrated in a National Park.
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