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Pakefield Coastwatch is a member of the Sea Safety Group of Coastwatch stations.

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World War 2

Stationed at the lighthouse in April 1938, the Royal Observer Corps, Group 14 Delta 4, reported directly to Bury St Edmunds H.Q. Removal of the roof ensured any approaching aircraft or vessels could be clearly seen. Open to the elements some of their watches could be cold and miserable. Often, relief from this tedium came by chatting to ATS girls billeted in the cottages at the lighthouse. The holiday camp found use as a Transit Camp for refugees and troops of various nationalities.

There were many incidents during the war including the lighthouse taking a hit from machine gun fire during a German air raid on Lowestoft on 12th April 1943. One sad incident over the lighthouse on 22nd April 1944 was an ambush by German ME 410 night fighters shooting down nine U.S.A.F. Liberator bombers as they returned home late after a German raid. In October 1944, a V1 flying bomb spotted with a faulty gyroscope 100ft above the waves was heading straight for the lighthouse. With no time to call H.Q., the lookouts ran from the building only to see the bomb plunge into the sea in front of them.

Toward the end of the war, the 40mm Bofors batteries along these cliffs became very proficient at shooting down V1 bombs, very few making it to their targets. Later, with the V2 launching sites moved to Holland, red exhausts at night and vapour trails in the day could be spotted over the Dutch coast and reported to H.Q., giving four minutes warning to London and other targets. The lookout finally closed late in 1945 and the lighthouse returned to the holiday camp.

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