Monday, 20 June 2016

Leeds Liverpool canal Wartime defensive 'stop line' still visible

the pill box we passed
 On board the Pride of Sefton on Sunday as part of the 200th anniversary celebration for the Leeds Liverpool canal I had the pleasure of the company of Captain Dan. As we made our way from Aintree to Maghull he provided a fascinating commentary on the canal and its history

Of particular interest are the war time defences that were established along the canal in this part of Lancashire. Dan explained the 'stop line' to me and pointed out the pill box that we passed.

Captain Dan explaining about the war time defences. Photo courtesy of Amanda Bennett
When I got home I 'googled it' for more information and found from the Tow Path Treks website that:

Lancashire has a coastline with flat beaches ideal for amphibious landings. Inland from the coast is the Lancashire plain, flat agricultural land which would be a good landing zone for paratroopers or for gliders and transport planes to crash land.  To defend against this a defensive "Stop Line" was built. The Western Command Stop Line Number 14 extended from Wigan to Liverpool and was based around the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Stop Lines were based on anti-tank ditches and pill boxes. Their aim was to slow down the enemy's advance and to allow counter attack. Villages would be defended to become islands of resistance. The canal and its embankment would act as the anti-tank ditch. Concrete pill boxes and fortified buildings were places at bridges and at points with good views over the fields below.  The stop lines were designed to combat light tanks and infantry not the Panzers and blizkrieg that the Nazis used so efficiently in Europe. The defences were built quickly, some are based on official designs others unique to their location.

To be fair that is almost exactly what Captain Dan explained to me

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