Ruined Fort Godwin Artillery Battery (Kilnsea, East Yorkshire)

The ruins of Fort Godwin in East Yorkshire. (Image: Rich Cooper 2012. The ruins of Fort Godwin in East Yorkshire)

Near the tip of East Yorkshire, adjacent to the Sandy Beaches holiday park, lies a ruined wartime fortification that’s consumed by the North Sea at high tide. The remains of the Godwin Artillery Battery lie half buried in the sand east of Kilnsea, a tiny hamlet on the north bank of the Humber Estuary. We’ve featured a number of abandoned military fortifications, built for the defence of Britain, to date, but the Godwin Artillery Battery is arguably the most destroyed.

Abandoned remains of the Godwin Artillery Battery near Kilnsea. (Image: Rich Cooper 2012. Abandoned concrete remains of Godwin Artillery Battery)

Built at the outset of World War One, when the bustling ports of the Humber Estuary were crucial to the British war effort, the coastal artillery battery known as Fort Godwin was operational by 1915 and equipped with two 9.2 inch Mk X guns. The 46.7 calibre breech-loading weapons, which saw service between 1899 and 1950, are considered to be among the most successful of Britain’s heavy naval and coastal defence ordnance.

Fort Godwin Artillery Battery was built in 1915 to defend the Humber Estuary ports against German attack. (Image: Rich Cooper 2012)

Fort Godwin remained in service after the end of the First World War. Then,as global tensions again boiled over, the installation was thrust back into the thick of it during World War Two. By 1940 the fort’s original firepower had been upgraded. A 4-inch Mark IX gun replaced the older armament. Two searchlights were also fitted to counter the threat of Nazi attack.

(Image: Rich Cooper 2012)

At the end of World War Two, the Godwin Artillery Battery would again be called on to defend the land as the tense Cold War decades unfolded. But by 1995, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fortress lay in ruins, all but destroyed.

(Image: Rich Cooper 2012)

The mighty concrete gun emplacements now lie broken in the sand, their giant forms collapsing into the beach as coastal erosion attacks the surrounding cliffs.

(Image: Rich Cooper 2012)

What’s left is a mass of broken rubble, unstable and hazardous to approach, pummelled by the inhospitable North Sea waves. Despite its condition, there’s no mistaking the original purpose of these century-old fortifications, or the crucial role they played in keeping Britain safe throughout a century of conflict.

(Image: Rich Cooper 2012)

Nearby, in a field east of Kilnsea, stands another relic of the Great War in the form of a concrete acoustic mirror. Grade II listed and more intact than Fort Godwin, it was constructed around 1916 as part of an early warning system (see also the ruins at Denge, Kent) that was ultimately replaced by the Chain Home radar network.

(Images: Rich Cooper 2012)

Related: 10 Abandoned Sea Forts, Towers & Anti-Submarine Platforms


About the author: Tom





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