Pillbox Type 22

Bulletproof and Shellproof Pillboxes of Regular Hexagon shape Type 22

Although pillboxes in the group Type 22 follow similar guidelines, each individual pillbox is different.  This diversity can be seen by differences in wall thickness, the amount of rifle loops, the materials used for construction, camouflage and other modifications such as shutters and blast walls.  The construction of pillboxes required a casing to allow the concrete to be poured and dried in shape, this process is known as shuttering. When built the concrete may be shuttered with wooden boards, corrugated iron sheets or bricks.  When shuttered with brick the shuttering was often left on the outside of the concrete casing, as it would have been inefficient to remove the mould.  This added an extra layer to the pillboxes created in this way, often making them appear as made from bricks alone.  It was realised that the pillboxes would be required to withstand artillery and dive-bomber attacks and so many pillboxes were made shellproof by increasing the thickness of the walls.

Pillbox Type 22 example in Peper Harow, Waverley (Photo:Paul Bowen) (Historic Environment Record No. 6748)

Pillbox Type 22 example in Peper Harow,
Waverley (Photo:Paul Bowen)
(Historic Environment Record No. 6748)

The Type 22 pillbox is an example of a fairly simple, standard design for pillboxes intended to protect a vulnerable or important point in a defensive line or to act as a second line of defence to reinforce the frontline.  Type 22s are usually built as bulletproof pillboxes in a regular hexagonal shape.  Wall thickness of the Type 22 range from around 12 to 15 inches and usually have rifle loops in 5 of the faces with 1 to 2 pistol loops protecting the entrance.  There may also be weapon rests for machine guns and anti-tank rifles, shutters of wood or steel and occasionally buttresses leading up to the loopholes.

Variations of Type 22 also include irregular positioning of loopholes such as on the corners of the pillbox, additional upper storeys, tunnel entrances and extra defensive concrete skirting.  Entrances could be sunken, protected by a porch or door and could also be shielded with half or full height blast walls.

Although over 1000 Type 22s are still in existence, only a handful can be seen in Surrey.  The example from Peper Harow, Waverley (Historic Environment Record No.6748) includes mountings for steel or wooden shutters and uses brick shuttering, helping to demonstrate the Type 22s simple design.

Click here to see an interactive map showing the location of pillboxes in Surrey.

Surrey’s pillboxes are included in the county’s Historic Environment Record (HER), click the link to see more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *