30th September 1994

It’s not much more than fifty years later, but a Roman centurion returning to Hadrian’s Wall after two millennia might have less of a problem in recognising his surroundings.  To say our fortifications are in ruins would be an understatement.  It is true that the location of one of the 15-inch guns of Wanstone Battery can be deduced, but the other is buried in rubbish;  the four 9.5-inch emplacements at South Foreland are represented by chalky indentations amidst the scrub;  the 6-inch guns of Fan Bay Battery have vanished into rough grassland as if they had never been.

Tomorrow, though, it will be time to go back to our erstwhile home – my own home for six months in 1943 – the headquarters of 540 Coast Artillery Regiment at the Low Lighthouse.  This building at least is still clearly visible on the cliff edge at South Foreland, its distinctive tower rising above the trees, although the twin parabolas of B(p)8, the radar station installed in the former lamp room and one of my wartime charges, will long since have been removed.

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