The Allan Williams turret

By Rob Morgan

During the Second World War, there were many forms of ‘defence’ put in place in the UK – pillboxes, gun positions, searchlight and radar posts. Some inventions were hasty and, if put to the test, likely to be less efficient, and this is an example.

The Allan Williams turret was a cylindrical, lightly armoured ‘pillbox,’ capable of 360-degree rotation, rail-mounted on a concrete pit. It could be emplaced very quickly, in an hour or two. It was capable of mounting a bracket-mounted light machine gun, a Bren, Vickers ‘K’ or Lewis, or a Boys anti-tank rifle. There was a

This example, awaiting restoration, is at Chapel Hill Fort Artillery Museum in Wales.

crew of two, potentially three, men. The weapon was to be fired either through the front opening (shown here without its usual sliding doors) against ground targets, or through the rather cramped upper ‘lid’ against aircraft.

The pillbox was manufactured in Chester and some 200+ were made in the Battle of Britain period. Almost all were used by the RAF for airfield defence, a few by the Army and Home Guard.

The turret can easily be scratch-built in most scales, with a game counter, ball pen top or button, with a protruding gun barrel. Camouflage netting optional.

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