The above image shows part of the anti invasion defences put up along Hastings seafront during 1940* I can’t imagine how it would have felt to the residents of Hastings seeing these go up. German forces had conquered great swathes of Europe, and forced our army to evacuate at Dunkirk. That operation was successful in rescuing the bulk of our forces, howeverÂ a huge amount of equipment was left behind.Â In the skies above, the Battle of Britain was beginning.
Preparations in Hastings included blowing up part of the Harbour Arm, and dismantling the beach side section of the Pier. These measures were taken to prevent German forces from using them as landing stages. Time passed and the threat ebbed, but for those months during 1940 the prospect of seeing the German invasion force on the horizon was a real possibility. The strength of our Navy, and the victory by the RAF Â ensured that Operation Sealion never got started. Historians now doubt whether the invasion was ever seriously considered. If you’re interesting in that type of thing, the entire German plan can be downloaded and read.
The other interesting aspect to the original photo is the sailor and his parents watching the anti invasion defences being built.Â Can anyone identify them?
I found the original photograph in Hastings Library, so credit for it goes to East Sussex Libraries service. The two photographs used to create the image above are shown below.
*This date was on the original photo, but the commenters below have kindlyÂ identified the photo as being taken in 1943 when the defences were dismantled. The soldier on the right isÂ Fredrick William Horton of Canadian regiment 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards.