Did Germans land on East Anglian shore?

By David LennardTHE arguments about whether German troops landed on the Suffolk coast during the Second World War continue to rage, with reports of an invasion at Shingle Street finding both supporters and detractors.

By David Lennard

THE arguments about whether German troops landed on the Suffolk coast during the Second World War continue to rage, with reports of an invasion at Shingle Street finding both supporters and detractors.

The truth about the matter probably lies hidden in a top secret Government vault yet to be revealed, but reports and letters in the East Anglian Daily Times have stirred the memory of one north Suffolk councillor.

Bob Niblett lives in Halesworth and, as well as being a town councillor, is chairman of Waveney District Council.


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“The regular letters about German landings on Shingle Street have brought back memories of the time I spent helping in the erection and running of a radar station on the beach at Benacre close to Kessingland,” he said.

Mr Niblett added that at almost 300ft high, the towers were put up to give warning of impending invasion and to assist in the protection of minesweepers and convoys moving up and down the coast.

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“We gave plots of ship movements to the Naval Plotting Station in Great Yarmouth,” he said.

It was a particular night in 1943 when Mr Niblett believes German sailors might have stepped ashore on the north Suffolk coast.

Fast-moving German E-boats were known to be in the area and were causing problems for those on the shore.

“It appeared that some cheeky German E-boats had moved close in shore. The shore batteries along the coast were unable to depress sufficiently to fire on these rapidly moving gun boats and, as it happened, our radar could not see them among the grass on the screen,” recalled Mr Niblett.

That might have been the end of the matter until Mr Niblett visited the beach around Benacre the following morning.

“The next morning I went down to the beach, gingerly stepping through the minefield, and found to my surprise some evidence that some Germans had landed and, as it were, left calling cards to show how cheeky they had been,” he said.

Mr Niblett added it was mostly rubbish and food wrappings that were definitely German and they were well above the high-water mark, so could not have been washed ashore.

“I wish I had picked it all up now, but you never think of such a thing at the time,” he said.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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