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Blyth Battery Goes to War - May 18/19th

Like last year, I decided to take a Jeep for the first day and the Dodge for day two. New to see this year at the Battery are the two replica naval guns, installed in the gun emplacements in the Spring. The first picture shows the Battery as seen from the beach, with the various buildings marked.

The drive up on Saturday was shrouded in light mist and as I drove onwards, it gave the impression of heavy rain on the screen while the hood remained bone dry. It dried up briefly upon arrival and I started to look around when the rain started. I quickly retired back to the Jeep and waited for it to pass.

It dried up late morning and was brighter by the time of the beach battle at noon. The Germans did the attacking on day one while the British made the assault on day two. It was during this that the commentator announced that the German attack on Norway, was the only attack they made during the war that involved a beach assault.

There were only five Jeeps there including mine, but several other interesting vehicles were on display. One of the more unusual ones was this "Bedouin" car, originating with a Citroen 2CV. A Harley, some Austin Champs and Land Rovers were also on show.

As previously mentioned, the Battery gun emplacements now have replica Mk VII, 6 inch naval guns installed and look much better for being occupied! Both emplacements had re-enactor displays, but in one, a gun crew ran simulated ranging, loading and firing displays. The port of Blyth can be seen in the background of the last gun image. At the end of the car park, looking in this direction, there is also a search light building.

While most of the vehicles were located on the fields beside the battery, a few and other displays were positioned on the other side of the public car park. It made a surprisingly large site to walk around.

There were a number of dioramas around the site. One item which put a smile on my face was amongst the Royal Navy Beach Assault diorama. There were several sticks of explosive and in the end was a slow burning fuse - which was smouldering! As usual, the Allied displays were to the left of the battery while the Germans were to the right.

Day two started nice and warm with almost a completely clear sky. The Dodge had a good run up though I had to increase the free play in the brake pedal once I got there. This had been the longest continuous run since fitting the new brake pipes and adjusting the shoes.

The following pictures are of the battery buildings. The grey tower is the World War One Ranging Tower, while the square tower was the World War Two replacement. The second picture is the wartime plan of the site, showing the battery and associated buildings, plus defensive block houses and barbed wire defences around the site. The third picture is from the WW2 ranging tower, looking to the South East while the last building is a surviving defensive block house. The gun slits have long since been filled but their rectangular outlines can still be seen in the outside walls.

Blyth Battery was just one piece of the coastal defences around the port which can be seen in the following picture.