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Tyne and Wear HER(5568): Ryhope, Ryhope Road, Searchlight Battery TT226 - Details

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Ryhope, Ryhope Road, Searchlight Battery TT226




Anti Aircraft Defence Site

Searchlight Battery



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}.




<< HER 5568 >> 2003, Searchlight Sites on Tyneside - 18 November 1944, 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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