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Guide Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth

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3. Connaught Gardens during the war

Connaught Gardens are located in an important strategic location, looking out to sea and along the coastline for some distance. During World War II, they played an important role defending the south coast. They were closed to the public and two 138mm swivel guns, taken from the French battleship 'Paris' were installed looking out to sea (although a lack of shells meant they were only fired a few times). The clock tower was fitted with a searchlight and another gun was placed in the Sunken Garden for practice. A concrete emplacement was built near the main entrance to the gardens and can still be seen today.

Even in the 19th century, Peak Hill was used to defend against attack from the sea. Guns and a stone ammunition store were a permanent feature of the slope.