Sites 1, 2 & 11. Type 24 Machine Gun Pillbox

The Type 24 pillbox has a slightly squashed hexagonal plan with 5 embrasures (splayed gun ports) for firing through. It was intended for the Vickers Heavy Machine Gun or infantry Light Machine Guns such as the Bren or Lewis gun. Two small embrasures in the rear wall were for close defence with rifles or pistols.

Royal Engineer officers at FW3 (Section 3 of the Directorate of Fortifications and Works) of the War Office produced some basic designs for 10 types of pillbox. These were given ‘Type’ numbers from 22 to 28A hence the designation of FW3/24 or simply Type 24.

The Royal Engineer commanders of individual army commands also produced variants of the standard designs for use in their own areas. This was the case with Scottish Command who produced their own version of the Type 24 pillbox, drawing No. CEScC 2893 (Commander Engineers Scottish Command). This had much larger embrasures, a gun table around the inside, and no internal anti-ricochet wall. This design was used at several locations round Wick, Sinclair’s Bay and Thurso.

The walls of this example are 19 inches thick (48cm), and it appears to be constructed entirely of brick with no concrete reinforcing at all. This was possibly due to a national shortage of cement at the time. With no reinforced concrete in its construction the brick alone would have offered very little protection to the soldiers if they were ever called into action.

This type of pillbox was constructed about every 400 yds (360m) round Sinclair’s Bay from Keiss Castle to Noss Head. The centre section was omitted as the height of the dunes was considered a sufficient obstacle.

Type 24 Pillbox