IN Memories in the last year or so, we’ve had our brilliant readers and contributors sending in pictures of leftover Second World War bric-a-brac. There are, as we’ve established, pillboxes dotted all over.

A new book about the history of Redcar details the elaborate coastal defences that were put in place to deter a seaborne invasion.

In September 1940, the pier was closed and two sections of it were dismantled to prevent the Germans coming ashore that way, although there is an old joke that they wouldn’t have bothered with the pier as they wouldn’t have had enough pennies to all get through the turnstiles.

The sand dunes next to the golf course were sown with landmines, and great rolls of barbed wire were twisted along the seafront from South Gare to Marske. There were concrete blocks on the beach, and pillboxes, machine guns posts and searchlight stations along the promenade, all of which gave the resort a very grim countenance.

The beach was closed to everyone, although fishermen and sea-coalers were given permits to go onto it, until the summer of 1943. Then, it could be accessed only by one slipway between 10am and 12.30pm and 2pm and 5pm. Seabathing, boat trips and dogs were all banned.

The book contains a remarkable picture showing a huge, curved concrete block on the seawall above the one open slipway.

Should the Germans have been spotted sailing over the horizon to invade, four men would have jumped onto the seawall and rocked the curved block until it fell into place, blocking the slipway and thus forcing the Germans to turn round and go home because there was no way off the beach.