Monument record MCC5128 - WWII Spigot Mortar Emplacement, Chappel Viaduct, Chappel


Spigot Mortar Emplacement, Chappel Viaduct.


Grid reference TL 8964 2839 (point)
Map sheet TL82NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Between Piers No. 13 and 14 of Chappel Viaduct, under the W edge of the arch, stands a Home Guard spigot mortar pedestal. It is 39 inches high and 43 inches diameter, surmounted by the more usual stainless steel pintle, unlike its neighbour under Piers No. 15 and 16 (SMR 10997). It is in good condition with only slight signs of the outer casing cracking. Sited under the W edge of the archway, almost alongside the river, this is a position from where it was clearly intended to fire against attack from the W side of the viaduct rather than the E. By 1942, when spigot mortars were supplied to the Home Guard, the concept of “Stop-lines” had been largely discredited in favour of nodal point defence and the siting of the two spigot mortars at Chappel Viaduct probably reflects this rather than an attempt to add further to the Eastern Command Line which ran from the E along the River Colne to the viaduct and then northwards along the railway.

Alongside the pier of the viaduct next to the pedestal are the remains of two ammunition alcoves side by side. There is a concrete capping stone measuring 7’ x 2’ lying on the ground with signs of brick-built walls which would once have supported it. It is probable that both pedestal and alcoves would have been protected by a low wall of sandbags during World War Two.

Three photos of site.<1>

The quantity, diversity and survival of the WWII defences in the Chappel Viaduct area form a rare, interdependent, compound site. These include the four major types of pillbox on the Eastern Command Line (SMR 20000/MCC4798, 20001/MCC4799, 20004/MCC4800 and 20008/MCC4801), 28 concrete anti-tank cubes (SMR 20002/MCC5130 and 20005/MCC5132), three concrete anti-tank cylinders (SMR 20002/MCC5130) and two spigot mortar pedestals (SMR 10997/MCC5127 and 10998/MCC5128).

OCTOBER 2002: Site designated Scheduled Monument NHLE No. 1020687. This scheduled site is in seven parts. See also SMR's 10996 (MCC4797), 10997 (MCC5127), 20000 (MCC4798), 20001 (MCC4799), 20002 (MCC5130), 20004 (MCC4800), 20005 (MCC5132) and 20008 (MCC4801).

See also <2>.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Photograph: Nash, Fred. 1997. Three Frames by Nash, F.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Nash, Fred. 2007. SURVEY OF WORLD WAR TWO DEFENCES IN THE BOROUGH OF COLCHESTER. VOLUME 1. Volume 1.

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Record last edited

Jun 15 2020 8:43AM

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