Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Site "ZE7 Lippitts Hill", Waltham AbbeyBack Lippitts Hill, Loughton
The remains of a World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft battery, documented in wartime records as 'ZE7 Lippitts Hill', sited on a hill-top position some 2.5 km to the east of the River Lee Navigation on the Essex/Hertfordshire border. The battery was later converted for use as a prisoner of war camp.
- Year of construction
- Metropolitan Police
- Protected status
- Scheduled Monument
"Epping Forest - Then and Now" (Ramsey, W, 1985, p377) records, "From the Army camp on Lippitts Hill the first American guns to fire in the defence of London came into action in March 1944 during the mini-Blitz, manned by Battery B, 184th Anti-Aircraft Artillery". Photographs include an American 90mm M1 AA gun firing from one of the emplacements. When the Americans moved to France in June 1944 Lippitts Hill became a German prisoner-of-war camp.
An aerial photograph taken in October 1946 shows four octagonal gun emplacements in a semi-circle facing NE. Each of these has five internal ammunition recesses. In the centre is the command post. Between the two inner gun emplacements an on-site magazine bunker can be seen. Between the emplacements and the road to the E, there are approximately 19 huts. An aerial photograph taken in 1960 shows the site to have developed with the addition of a number of huts and to have been extended to the S. Where, in 1946, there was a field bordering the site, there is in 1960 a very large, flat-roofed bunker - a cold-war "anti-nuclear" Anti-Aircraft Operations Room, or A.A.O.R. Further study of a range of aerial photographs shows the bunker to have been built between October 1948 and August 1951.
In 1960, the site became a Metropolitan Police training area and this is the role, in addition to acting as a base for a police helicopter Air Support Unit, which the camp fulfils to this day.
Although two of the four gun emplacements have been demolished, ZE7 Lippitts Hill remains by far the best preserved heavy anti-aircraft gun site in Essex.