Pillbox Type 27

Shellproof Pillboxes of Square, Rectangular, hexagonal and Octagonal Shapes – Type 27

Although pillboxes in the group Type 27 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.    

The Type 27 is a bulletproof or shellproof machinegun post often containing a central open area to allow a light anti-aircraft weapon or observation post to be positioned either on a temporary or permanent concrete support.  The Type 27 is usually found in a hexagonal shape however there are examples, which may also be octagonal.  Octagonal versions of the Type 27 have machinegun loopholes on seven sides with a smaller loophole to guard the entrance.  Duplication of drawing type numbers on different defence lines mean that there are examples of the Type 27 which have been modified to a square or rectangular shape; this can be seen within Surrey at Beacon Hill.  The Type 27 often had either a sunken entrance or porch and access to the central well could either be by a set of double steel doors leading to the pillbox or through ladder rungs set into the wall.  Tables and deep stepped embrasures are common to provide machinegun rests.   

In Surrey the Type 27 is often deployed in pairs and unusually uses brick shuttering rather than the standard timber shuttering.  Type 27 pillboxes were fairly uncommon, although a large amount were built on the Outer London Line A, and according to the Defence of Britain project only 127 examples survive, of which there are several located in Surrey (Historic Environment Record No.6784). 

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 *