Posted: 25th August 2021
Welcome to part five of ‘North Lincolnshire on the Home Front in World War Two’ focussing on Barton upon Humber. This blog series will focus on how different towns and villages of North Lincolnshire operated on the Home Front of the Second World War.
We would like to thank the source providers and individuals who have shared their stories on the Home Front. Without them, the experiences of the Home Front would not have been possible to share with North Lincolnshire and its citizens.
As with all major counties and villages in England, Lincolnshire was heavily involved in the War, especially North Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire itself contained plenty of military and naval targets so air defence measures were immediately put into effect. Many North Lincolnshire villages contributed: Scunthorpe, Brigg, Southend, Barton upon Humber are just a few examples of involved communities.
However, most of these villages each had something which made them unique to others. While Scunthorpe was prime for its defences, Brigg was more well known for its Prisoner of War camp and Barton Upon Stather specialised in making tanks!
Burton upon Stather
Burton upon Stather was very different compared to the places we’ve looked at in this series. Instead of specialising in home defences or holding POW’s, Burton upon Stather was a base for top secret military planning. They performed various operations mainly focusing on new vehicles to use on the battlefield. One of its most famous operations was the secret construction of tanks it had performed at the River Trent. Known as the ‘Tank Ramp’, it was constructed in May 1944 by the 79th Armoured Division and continued to operate until 1948.
The main purpose of the ‘Tank Ramp’ was testing the Duplex Drive Amphibious Tank, a tank capable of traversing across rivers and water alongside with amphibious craft and associated equipment.
The curator of Fritton Lake, Stuart Burgess, quotes that ‘Burton Upon Stather is definitely a significant and unique site. The military spent much time carefully choosing a suitable site that resembled areas of the Rhine which could enable them to perfect river crossing techniques’ (Burton Stather Heritage Group, 2021).
Burton Stather Heritage Group. (2021). The Tank Ramp. Received from: http://burtonstatherheritage.org/tank-ramp