Developers working at the Barnfield Drive site in Chichester made a fascinating discovery of more than 100 anti-tank blocks while carrying out ground investigation work for the new Lidl food store.

These large concrete blocks, each measuring five feet cubed, were intended to be used in the defence of Chichester during the Second World War, to halt German forces landing on the beach and prevent them from advancing inland.

One of these blocks will be installed as a memorial for residents and visitors to appreciate on the site of the new store development. 

"During the war, these blocks would have been positioned about three feet apart in a continuous line along the top of the beach to stop enemy tanks in the event of an invasion," says local historian John F. Wells. "At the end of the war in 1945, many of these blocks were removed and buried in disused gravel pits around Chichester where they were often forgotten about."

Councillor Susan Taylor, Cabinet Member for Planning at Chichester District Council, says, "The fact that these blocks have been uncovered after all these years is incredible. They have a fascinating story to tell about the events that took place here in the Chichester District during the Second World War, which many people will be unaware of.

"This year marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the war, making it the perfect time for residents to learn more about our wartime heritage once the new memorial is in place."

Mike Nuttall from developers Brookhouse Group says, "We were amazed to discover these blocks during the construction of the new Lidl store.  We are always keen to preserve such artefacts within our developments where possible. 

"One of the blocks will be placed in a prominent position on site for local residents and store users to enjoy and reflect upon the historic events that these blocks were associated with."

Reference: 3926

Date of release: 30 September 2019