Tuesday 18 January 2022

Pillbox 16

This was a Beach Defence Unit consisting of PB and Lyon Light situated on the shoreline between Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay, opposite Middle Island. Only the Lyon Light structure on a concrete tower has survived. The steel shutters still remain in the searchlight aperture. The entrance can be seen at the bottom of the tower structure in the photo below. There is an upper steel door into the searchlight , engine and accommodation compartment.  The two-man crew of the Lyon Light were in contact with the PB by voice pipe.

Lyon Light (Searchlight) LL 16 (Writer's Collection)

LL 16 showing the steel shutters in the aperture (Writer's Collection)

The PB was immediately below the LL tower. It can be seen in the photograph below showing a boat crew carrying their skiff ashore at Middle Island. The photo was taken from the book "Eastern Waters Eastern Winds. There is no sign of the PB anymore other than part of a concrete platform that could have formed its base. It was presumably demolished when the concrete pathway and dyke composed of large boulders/rocks was built (Seaview Promenade). The Lyon light is normally overgrown by thick vegetation. The undergrowth had been cut back when these photos were taken in January 2022. The date of the black and white photo showing the LL and PB is not known.

RHYC Crew coming ashore at Middle Island showing PB (Sourced: Eastern Waters Eastern Winds)

Notes from Mx War diary UKNA File: WO 172/1689:

PB Commander was Sgt George Tattam, 1/Mx 'C' Coy

'C' Coy were responsible for Beach Defence PBs from PB 12 (Brick Hill) to PB 20 (South Bay). C Coy Commander was Major Henry Marsh. Coy HQ was located at war shelters on Shouson Hill. 

Originally 2/Lt Cheeeswright was in command of PBs 15, 16 and 17. He spent a night in each PB in turn and when the Japanese reached Repulse Bay (20 Dec) he was in PB 17. After 2/Lt Grounds was killed at RBH - Cheesewright commanded  PB 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20. PBs 12, 13 and 15 were evacuated on 19 Dec (MX war Diary) (Leaving PB 14 isolated and PBs 16 to 20).

On 23 Dec  According to 2/Lt Cheeswright: PB 17, 18, 19 and 20 were evacuated to Stanley.  (What about PB 16?) It may have been evacuated earlier to avoid being cut off. Major Marsh writes that "16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 were successfully withdrawn to Stanley" (Mx War Diary) but PB 16 is not mentioned in the description of the withdrawal to Stanley by 2/Lt Cheesewright. Tattam (PB 16 Commander) was involved in the fighting at Stanley....... but what is not clear is whether his crew were evacuated on 23 Dec with 17,18,19 & 20 or separately on or or before this date. 

PB 16 is believed to be 3-loophole PB (?) probably built between 1939 and 1941.



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