23rd Oct, 2017

Kenilworth anti-aircraft battery to host special anniversary open day.

Leamington Editorial 14th Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

PEOPLE will have a chance to step back in time in Kenilworth this weekend.

The Friends of the Anti-Aircraft Battery at Goodrest Farm will be opening up the battery to commemorate its 75th Anniversary.

The group will be welcoming visitors to the Rouncil Lane site on Sunday (April 17), between 11am and 4.30pm, where there will be displays, hands-on exhibits, re-enactors, vintage teas and talks by local historians and researchers.

In the Spring of 1941, in the aftermath of the Coventry Blitz the previous November, the anti-aircraft battery was established as part of a defensive ring around the city.

As well as defending the skies, the site was also a prisoner of war holding area for around 80 prisoners.

Controversially at the time, the site was one of the few mixed batteries across the country, where young Auxiliary Territorial Service girls were recruited and trained in spotting, predicting and aiming while the regular soldiers did the actual firing of the guns.

The guns were removed in 1944 to defend against bombing in London and the site became a full-time POW camp for Italian and German prisoners.

Seventy-five years on, the site is a rare remaining example of a complete battery, and with the help of the Leek Wootton History Group, the Friends will be opening the site to the public.

Paul Eldridge, Chairman of the Leek Wootton History Group, said: “Not many people know the site exists, but it was instrumental in the defence of the area and is very important for us to remember.”

The Friends now work to promote and preserve the site, currently raising funds towards protecting the Command Post building at the heart of the site, which is suffering from water damage.

Entry at the gate is £2.50 (children under 16 free). All funds raised will go towards continued preservation of the site.

Visit the Friends’ facebook page at www.facebook.com/FAABatGRF for more information.

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