Plan to commemorate village's war-time tank traps

This Is Wiltshire: Coun Ray Thomas at Tadpole Bridge, where the tank traps were Coun Ray Thomas at Tadpole Bridge, where the tank traps were

RESIDENTS in Purton have banded together in a bid to commemorate the remaining historic Second World War tank traps just north of the village.

The Adver reported in May that the monolithic concrete structures which stop tanks in their tracks and were thought to form part of the General Headquarter Line installed during the war, were broken down by workers making changes to Tadpole Bridge, at the Purton end of Tadpole Lane.

Several of the tank traps remain, but villagers were angered by the lack of consultation and said they would have liked to see them preserved for historical reasons.

Now, with the help of a community grant, they are planning to put up an information board about them. The GHQ Line was set up as a crucial last line of defence in the face of a perceived imminent threat of invasion by German forces during the war. Wiltshire councillor Jacqui Lay said: “We lost three of the tank traps but there is some suggestion of a sign to mark them and say what they are. “Groups from Purton will be meeting to decide what they want and then it can be taken to the Area Board.”

Jim Moseley, of Purton Historical Society, said: “Purton Parish Council is now in the process of arranging a meeting with representatives of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway Society, Purton Historical Society, parish councillors and the unitary councillor to discuss the siting of an information board and the text, and any illustration, which would appear on it.

“Once these points have been agreed, an application will be made to the Wiltshire Council Area Board for funding.”

Dr Richard Pagett, of local group Purton Ps and Qs, said: “There are still five traps, with one hiding in the trees, two remaining on the north side of the new bridge and two on the south.

“The proposal is to have an information board nearby to inform people about the tank traps and their original purpose.”

In May a spokesman for Swindon Council, which is carrying out the work on Tadpole Lane, said: “The three traps were photographed and recorded before they were demolished and those records will be deposited at the Wiltshire History Centre in Chippenham.”

Meanwhile, work on the river bridge in Tadpole Lane is now complete and it is open but the railway bridge is now closed for reinforcement and stabilisation work, and access to Swindon is must be through Oakhurst.

The closure of the road is set to last until the completion of the work on January 8.

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