In the Second World War, a German invasion was imminent. Thousands of pillboxes and defenses were built in almost every town across England. With Canvey being the start of England’s first line of defence, otherwise known as the GHQ line, this was were defenses were most strongly built. Canvey defended us from the invader entering through either ‘the Ray’ (the water where Hadleigh and Canvey are separated, from the old french word ‘Reigh’ meaning water body or river), and the Thames estuary, entering straight into London. We were more heavily armed than you may realise, in fact more heavily defended than most other towns. One gun emplacement that would defend the sea was the emplacement at Scars Elbow, very close to Deadman’s Point, situated in Thorney Bay.
Sited on Scars Elbow Point, this battery was constructed in 1940 to guard against forays by torpedo boats. A twin 6-pounder gun turret was installed and “although hand-loaded, a mounting could deliver a stream of aimed fire at over 100 rounds a minute in the hands of a skilled detachment”, a necessary requirment to cope with fast-moving boats. The battery never saw action and was dismantled soon after the war
Just a week ago, by father was looking through my uncle’s photo album, and found a picture of himself in 1977 as a boy sitting on the old creek wall, with the Scars Elbow emplacements in the background. This was a first evr photograph of the emplacement, and really is a momentous find. We can see that the gun housing seems to be similar to pillboxes, but taller, with struts coming out of the top, and slits at the very top of the structure’s sides. It also features dark rectangular areas of concrete in its sides, and an entrance by way of a doorway shielded from being directly open with a ‘walk-in’ small porch.
Also, here is a scan from the book ‘Fortifications of East Anglia’ of a diagram showing the layout of the emplacement along with the defence boom in, which doesn’t remain at the time of the photo.