It was constructed more than 80 years ago, and subsequently buried in sand for several decades. But now a pillbox dating from World War II has been rediscovered on the Aberdeenshire coast.
The find was made by a local resident on Blackdog Beach, north of Aberdeen city, earlier this year. It is believed that a severe storm finally caused the sands that had long buried the structure to shift.
Some 28,000 pillboxes were constructed around Britain on the outbreak of the war, in anticipation of an invasion by Axis forces. Typically small, innocuous-looking buildings, they were so named because of their similarity to the medicine boxes of the time.
Dog-walker Alan Neave, who made the discovery on 21 March this year, expressed his surprise at coming across the long-lost fortification.
‘It only appeared in the last couple of weeks,’ Neave said. ‘We were quite surprised – it just came out of the blue one day.’
The find at Blackdog Beach is most likely a Type 24 pillbox, according to the Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service. Archaeologist Bruce Mann, who investigated and photographed the site, described it to MHM as a ‘six-sided structure, but without embrasures either side of the doorway.’
‘There is no internal anti-ricochet wall,’ Mann said, ‘but there is a single gun embrasure on each of the other [five] walls.’
Mann also explained that the pillbox would have once stood several metres above the beach but had since tumbled forward due to erosion and was now completely upside down.
The find offered a ‘fascinating insight into how the coastal defences were built during the war,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Alan Neave can count the find as the latest in a series of discoveries made while dog-walking. He had previously come across a wartime mine on the same beach in January this year, as well as a shipwreck.
‘Blackdog Beach is one of the most interesting in Scotland: every time there is a storm, we find something new,’ he said.