From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Godwin Artillery Battery
Statistics
Category
County
Coordinates
Grid
Condition
Age
Admission
Coastal Artillery Battery
Yorkshire
53° 37' 20" N 0° 8' 29.1" E
TA41721609
Poor
1914
Free
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Godwin Artillery Battery is next to the Sandy Beaches Holiday Village in Kilnsea, Yorkshire. Built around 1914. In its heyday the battery dominated Kilnsea, and many local girls married soldiers. In World War I the hospital on the camp was used for recuperating soldiers once the focus of the war moved to the Continent.

The Godwin Coast Artillery Battery was part of the outer defences of the Humber on the stretch of low cliffs near Kilnsea and was the terminal of the Spurn Point railway that supplied the Spurn Point garrison. The site consisted of two 9.2" breech loading (BL) guns mounted in circular concrete pits, underground magazines, crew shelters and workshops. On the right and left of the battery were two observation posts and a single coastal artillery searchlight. The barrack accommodation was unusual, being substantially constructed of brick and concrete: it consisted of a guard house, officers’ quarters and a hospital. The battery was protected by a wall enclosing the landward perimeter, a network of fire trenches and a 20ft ditch filled with barbed wire.

After World War I Godwin Battery was retained as a local military base, and also used by the Territorial Army for annual camps. In 1933/34 most of the soldiers left Spurn itself, and civilians were employed to care for the camp and maintain the sea defences. When World War II was declared, the military came back in force, and in the early years of the war Godwin played an important role in home defence. When the focus of the war moved to the Continent, Spurn and Kilnsea forts continued to play an important role in the defence of the East Coast from the air. After the war a military presence remained but by the late 1950s most of the military had withdrawn and the battery was put up for sale. In 1960 Godwin Battery was sold and turned into the caravan site 'Sandy Beaches'. Some military buildings, gun emplacements, and concrete pill boxes still remain, though many were demolished in the 1970s because they were thought to be dangerous.

Over the years the battery has suffered from the relentless pounding of the North Sea which has led to extreme coastal erosion. By 1993 the defensive wall was almost totally submerged and the gun emplacement to the right was collapsing, half lying on the beach, half on the cliff top but highly unstable. By 2003 both gun emplacements had collapsed onto the beach and the coastline had receded further and threatened the modern buildings. By 2008 the battery is almost completely washed onto the beach.