Saving a Second World War Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery

Mautby, Norfolk

This Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) Battery – located some 350m east of Decoy Farm, to the north of the River Bure, near Mautby, Norfolk – is believed to be the most-complete battery of its type in Britain, and one of only a small number of complete, or near-complete, Second World War gun batteries still around today.

Based on its design, it was probably built sometime after September 1943, as one of five batteries constructed to defend Great Yarmouth from the aerial bombing campaigns of the Luftwaffe. Typically, these sites contained a command post, radar platform, gun store, and a magazine for storing reserve ammunition, as well as domestic buildings. There would also have been gun pits, searchlight emplacements, and pillboxes.

While most of the defensive structures survive at the Decoy Farm HAA, most of the domestic buildings were demolished after the site was decommissioned in 1955. The structures that are still present, however, are currently under threat from tree and vegetation growth, which is causing some of the masonry to rapidly decay and disintegrate. Already, one of the underground shelters has partly collapsed.

To help preserve this important Second World War site, the local council is working with Historic England, who recently placed it on their 2022 Heritage at Risk Register, to take action to reduce this damage and hopefully ensure this site endures into the future.

TEXT: K Krakowka
IMAGE: © Historic England Archive