The Local History group of Crewkerne & District U3A heard about the sharp shooters of the Crewkerne Company of the Home Guard during the Second World War. Guest speaker local researcher Colin Coggan told members that Crewkerne used to have one of the best Dads Army platoons in the country. The platoon who were part of the 3rd Yeovil Battalion of South Sector Command came joint fourth in a national rifle shooting competition in 1944.
Regarded as strategically important by the War Office, the A30 road and defenses at Crewkerne were part of a plan to stop the German Army in the event of an invasion, in the wake of the evacuation of Dunkirk. The Pillbox which stands alongside the A30 near Ashlands Road, is all that remains of the anti tank island defenses in Crewkerne, which during World War Two included seven pillboxes and eight roadblocks.
Colin Coggan confirmed during his illustrated talk for the U3A group that the surviving pillbox was recently given a Grade 2 listing by Historic England because of its architectural and historical importance. Colin said: “One unusual feature of the Pillbox is that it was built without a roof, which may be because it could also have been used as an anti-aircraft defence post.”
A spokesperson for Historic England had previously told Colin: “It is an especially well-built defensive structure, constructed to a rare and unusual design using high quality brickwork.” Members of the U3A Local History group thanked Colin for his presentation on Crewkerne’s anti tank island defenses and extra information on the platoon of accomplished riflemen, which they found both interesting and entertaining.