The Blue Line

before its closure, the Kennet and Avon played a surprising part in the struggle for national survival.

Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, there was a very real fear that Hitler's armies would soon follow them across the channel, and that "We will fight them on the beaches" would be more than a piece of political rhetoric.

Of course, coastal defences were strengthened - that would be where the first strike would have to be repelled. But military planners had to face the possibility that these defences would not hold.

So, the Commander of Home forces in the South-West - an aptly-named General Ironside - established "The Blue Line" along the course of the Kennet and Avon. Various strategic points were re-enforced with pill-boxes and tank traps. Many of these can still be seen today.

Such a trivial barrier would seem ludicrous in the face of a Nazi Blitzkrieg, but this "Stop line" was only ever intended to be an opportunity for the defending troops to re-group, to gain a moment's respite to re-organise the defences.

Luckily, we never found out how effective it would have been.

Holding Water Holding Water Restoration Restoration
© David Craig Send me a message