Bulletproof and Shellproof Pillboxes of Irregular Hexagon shape – Type 24
Although pillboxes in the group Type 24 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.
Type 24s are developments of the Type 22 and so share many characteristics, both types are bulletproof or shellproof pillboxes, however Type 24s are built in an irregular hexagonal shape. The Type 24 could have either fewer or more loopholes than the Type 22 as the sides of the pillbox were shortened depending on where the pillbox was positioned; this provided the Type 24s irregular shape. For example, modifications were made to the Type 24 design to provide a number of pillboxes that could be built alongside a fence with the entrance inside the wire, resulting in an altered design with forward facing loopholes with longer side walls and thinner walls to the rear.
Type 24 pillboxes are one of the more common types found in defensive lines along the country and there are many still standing in Surrey. A possible reason for this types popularity may be due to the flexibility of construction as materials could be saved by reducing the length and thickness of walls that would not be threatened by the enemy. The Type 24 design could also be modified and built to more easily suit the location to which it was being deployed.
This example in Horne (Historic Environmental Record No. 6538) demonstrates a brick shuttered Type 24 on a raised platform with 3 equal sized walls with loopholes and shorter, thinner walls towards the entrance. There are many examples of the Type 24 within Surrey and according to the Defence of Britain project there are at least 1,640 surviving Type 24s in the country.
Surrey’s pillboxes are included in the county’s Historic Environment Record (HER), click the link to see more information.