Wartime Buildings

At the time of the Munich Crisis when war seemed inevitable a programme of trench building began throughout the borough. From 1939, as part of the Civil Defence preparations, the local authorities of Edmonton, Enfield and Southgate began roofing over the trenches and building many structures for wartime use.There were trenches on the Library Green in Enfield and in Pymmes Park in Edmonton. There were Auxiliary Fire Service Stations at Pymmes House and Broomfield House.

LIBRARY GREEN 1939
Digging trenches on the Library Green in Enfield Town
Broomfield House in use as an ARP post
Broomfield House in use as an ARP post
Gun emplacement Slades Hill
Gun emplacement Slades Hill

There was a gun emplacement on fields north of Slades Hill and a searchlight in Pymmes Park. Although some Wardens’ Posts and First Aid Centres were housed in existing buildings such as Broomfield House and under the Methodist Church in Enfield Town many were purpose built.  Tank traps were built on railways.

Pill Box at Government Row
Pill Box at Government Row

Air Raid shelters were built across the three authorities including a shelter at Weir Hall which still survives. The entrance is now covered by bushes and inaccessible to the public.

Surface Air Raid Shelter at Forty Hill
Surface Air Raid Shelter at Forty Hill

The majority of these structures were demolished at the end of the war.

Mr Miller demolishing his Anderson shelter
Mr Miller demolishing his Anderson shelter

Some survived for many years after. Some still exist.

We want to try and identify any that are left. If you know of the remains of a public air raid shelter, wardens’ post, pill box or any other Second World War structure please let us know.

Phone: 0208 379 2724

Email: local.history@enfield.gov.uk

Or in person at Local Studies Archive and Library, First Floor, Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, EN2 6DS. We are open 9.30 to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Plan for public air raid shelter in Compton Road
Plan for public air raid shelter in Compton Road

Gallipoli

Although Gallipoli is thought of as mainly involving Australian and New Zealand troops many other nations took part. One local man described to the Southgate Recorder that the troops were truly international with English, Irish, Welsh, Scots, French, Jews, Indian and Senegalese as well as the Anzacs.

Gallipoli Casualties

Wounded & missing Deaths
Australia 18500 8195
New Zealand 5150 2431
British Empire * 198000 22000
France 23000 27000
India 1700
* excluding Anzacs

By 1915 the situation on the Western Front was a stalemate.  Churchill hoped to break the stalemate by forcing Germany to fight on two fronts. By capturing Gallipoli on the western side of the Dardanelles the Allies hoped to remove Turkey from the war and possibly persuade some of the Balkan states to come in on the Allies side.

It was originally intended to be a naval operation. The attack began on the 19th February 1915. Bad weather caused it to be abandoned after three battleships were sunk and others damaged.

The delay allowed the Turks time to prepare defences and re-inforce the troops.

Gallipoli map

On 25th April troops started to land. The Australian and New Zealand Troops forced a bridgehead at Anzac Bay. The British tried to land at five points around Cape Helles but were only able to establish a foothold on three before having to call for re-enforcements. French troops landed at Kum Kale after launching a feint at Besika Bay.

Account of Gallipoli landing by Private Eastaugh from Enfield
Account of Gallipoli landing by Private Eastaugh from Enfield

After this very little progress was made. Anzac Bay was surrounded by steep cliffs which kept the Australian and New Zealand troops penned up on the beach at the mercy of Turkish shells and sharp shooters.

Conditions were appalling. In summer it was extremely hot and in the winter months freezing cold. There was an inadequate supply of fresh water. It was difficult to bury the bodies of the dead due to the rocky terrain and the constant shelling of the Turks. Hot weather and putrefying bodies produced swarms of flies.  This and the lack of clean water contributed to the spread of diseases such as dysentery, diarrhoea, and enteric fever. Of 213,000 British casualties 145,000 were from disease.

The end came with the evacuation of the ANZAC bridgehead and Suvla Bay (10th-19th December 1915) and the evacuation of Cape Helles(10th December 1915 – 6th January 1916).

We don’t know exactly how many local men were at Gallipoli. We have the names of some of those who died there:

Private John Robert Akers, 2nd Royal Fusiliers

Albert Howard Andrews, 6th Lincoln Regiment

Frank Gilderoy Batters

Sergeant Garnett Arnold Baughan, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Private WP Bryant of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers from Edmonton

JM Findlay Dickson son of RS Dickson of Palmerston Road

Geoffrey Frangcon-Davies, Honourable Artillery Company

Sergeant Austen Campbell Dent

Lance Corporal AG Dring, 2nd Royal Fusiliers

Victor Gadd went down with the ‘Goliath off the Dardanelles

Private WH Hartridge

Private SV Loveday, 21st battalion Royal Fusiliers

Jack Maller, New Zealand Army

Corporal William Ernest Miller, son of Daniel & Emily Miller of 6 Allandale Road, Enfield Wash

Ernest Verrill Nunn

Frank Page

Sergeant WJ Piggott, 1st London Field Company

Trooper Prytherck

Corporal Gordon Robinson, RAMC son of Benjamin and Mary Ann Robinson of 160 Chase Side, Enfield

Sub Lieutenant Eric Vyvyan Rice son of Sir William Rice of Grasmere, Bowes Park (one of six brothers serving in the armed forces)

Eric Rice

Herbert James Wigg

If you know the names  and stories of any others who took part in the landings at Gallipoli we would love to hear from you.

There will be a commemorative event  to mark 100 years since the start of the Gallipoli campaign in the War Memorial Garden at Broomfield Park, Aldermans Hill on 26th April from 15.00- 17.00