Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran fans appeal to put finishing touches on restored Second World War pillbox

The wartime pillbox at The Oval
The wartime pillbox at The Oval

A group of Glentoran fans are seeking the public's help in putting the finishing touches to a restored Second World War pillbox at their ground.

Back in 1941, The Oval was destroyed when it was bombed by the Luftwaffe, however the pillbox located on the club's Sydenham Hill survived.

The hexagonal, red-bricked structure was installed by the Ministry of Defence in 1940 and was used a defence and lookout post.

Since The Oval's destruction, however, it fell into a state of disrepair, with its corrugated iron roof nearing collapse and the interior overgrown with weeds.

The Glentoran Community Trust, a group of dedicated fans who want to preserve and explore the history of the club, stepped in to restore the Type 24 pillbox when it became a safety hazard.

Along with the Department for Communities, they approached the original builders of the pillbox, the Royal Engineers, and aided by their knowledge and expertise, a three-day drive to complete the restoration began.

They were able to breath new life into the structure, removing the weeds and graffiti, in addition to installing a door and laying a path.

Now the group are hoping to deck out the pillbox with period furniture and items so it can be explored by tourists in its former glory.

They have appealed to the public to donate some items to the project, including: two wooden chairs, a small table from the 40s or 50s and a Gramophone record player.

"Other nick nacks like enamel mugs, mess tins, old telephone etc would be superb. We would gladly take any of these in order to enhance the project," they said in a statement.

"As you may be aware we are blessed to have large numbers of foreign guests visit the stadium each season as part of our groundhoppers tour scheme.

"Last year we welcomed visitors from Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Canada, USA and Australia. Invariably they ask about the pillbox so it would be great to enhance it inside as well as out."

The Glentoran Community Trust can be contacted through their Facebook page.

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