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Tyne and Wear HER(5558): Cullercoats, Smugglers Cave, Searchlight Battery TT132 - Details

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5558


N Tyneside


Cullercoats, Smugglers Cave, Searchlight Battery TT132


Cullercoats


NZ37SE


Defence


Anti Aircraft Defence Site


Searchlight Battery


Modern


C20


Demolished Building


Searchlight Battery - During WW2 many of the Tyneside searchlights were manned by the 225th Anti Aircraft Artillery (Searchlight Batallion) USA. Their headquarters was at Debdon Gardens in Newcastle (HER 5559). Many of the searchlight sites were used as low security POW camps after the American troops left, accomodating the prisoners who were working on local farms. Until radar was invented, searchlights were the only means by which aimed anti-aircraft fire and fighter interception were possible at night. The searchlights forced the enemy aircraft to fly higher, thus reducing their bombing accuracy. They also guided disabled allied aircraft back to base. During WW1 searchlights were emplaced to defend London and other vulnerable points. In 1916 a searchlight belt was established 25 miles inland from Sussex to Northumberland. In WW2 almost the whole country was covered in a grid of searchlights. A searchlight site would comprise of a circular earthwork around 9.14 metres in diameter for a 90cm light, a predictor emplacement, at least one light anti aircraft machine gun pit and a number of huts for the detachment and generator. These sites only generally survive as crop marks, unless the huts or foundations survive {"20th Century Defences in Briatin, An Introductory Guide", 1995, Handbook of The Defence of Briatin Project}.


361


710


NZ361710



<< HER 5558 >> 2003, Searchlight Sites in the Newcastle Area: Sites TT132 (Smugglers Cave), www.skylighters.org Council For British Archaeology, 1995, Twentieth Century, Defences in Britain - An Introductory Guide Handbook of The Defence of Britain Project, p 62-63

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