ANTI-TANK DEFENCES AT MOSS BAY, WORKINGTON.

If Hitler's audacious invasion plans had meant fetching up at Moss-bay, his Wehrmacht shock-troops would have been in for a nasty set-back. Anti-tank blocks - ingeniously cast in ladles from a mixture of slag and iron - stretched from the works of the Workington Iron and Steel Company at Moss-Bay, all the way to Harrington. This regimentally aligned barrier of 'skulls', of which they were to become known, was at shore-level, a prelude only to the impenetrable railway embankment which lay behind. The invaders would be channelled towards Harrington, fighting their way up between the harbour and the steep banks of Salterbeck.

Slag 'skulls' anti-tank blocks viewed from the Harrington end.

Keeping a look-out for the enemy would be the Workington Home-Guard's 'A' - Company, high on the slag-bank's southern tip, from the WWI pill-box which stood there. The 'F' - Company of the Workington Home-Guard would observe at the Harrington end, from their eyrie in the Copperas Hill pill-box, up above the 'Magnesite' plant, or 'Harrington Shore Works'.

slag skulls slag skulls slag skulls

The construction of these defences reflects an inginuity borne out of adversity. Most beach defences were concrete blocks or 'dragon's teeth' shaped. The nearby Iron works provided a ready source of different materials, however. This was also the case with the WWI pill-box - now sadly demolished - which stood at the very tip of the distant slag-bank (LH and centre photograph) before it was landscaped. It was constructed with yellow refractory bricks, of the type used to line the blast-furnaces! Access was by means of steps cut into the slag-bank itself.


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