Site 14. Type 27 Machine Gun Pillbox

At the farside of the airport is located an FW3/27 or Type 27 Machine Gun Strongpost pillbox. It faces south-west and covers the approaches to the former RAF airfield at Wick. This example is unusual in that it is hexagonal in plan rather than the more common octagonal shape. It is built about 18 inches (45cm) below ground level with a staggered entrance passage. The centre of the pillbox has a separate open platform, raised about 4½ feet (1.4m) above the floor level, for mounting an anti-aircraft machine gun. This platform is accessed from inside the pillbox through a doorway and short flight of steps. The remains of the wooden post for mounting the machine gun and holes for a safety rail above the steps are still visible in the floor.


Hexagonal Type 27 Strongpost
Hexagonal Type 27 Strongpost north-west of RAF Wick. Drawing and photos courtesy of Andrew Guttridge.

Construction is of reinforced concrete and red brick shuttering, with a reinforced concrete slab roof 24 inches (60cm) and 15 inches (38cm) thick respectively. The floor inside is earth with pieces of Caithness flagstone. There are embrasures (splayed gun ports) in each wall including the entrance passage. These are pre-cast components set 4 feet (1.2m) from the floor with a 10 by 14 inches (25 by 35cm) opening. These were intended for infantry light weapons and LMGs (Light Machine Guns). Unusually they have plain outer faces which was a poor design as they could deflect a bullet into the pillbox.

The roof has been covered with a layer of turf to help camouflage it and there are remains of chicken wire underneath. This material was commonly used for camouflaging purposes.

The Type 27 Pillbox is located on private property so unfortunately there is NO PUBLIC ACCESS.

Type 27 Strongpost at Upper Ackergill
Type 27 Strongpost at Upper Ackergill covering the approaches to RAF Wick.
Light Anti-Aircraft emplacement
Light Anti-Aircraft emplacement in the centre of the Strongpost. Photo courtesy of Andrew Guttridge.