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I--- Fortifications
 I---   ** Cobden (Greymouth) **


B Section 134 Heavy Battery NZA Greymouth

All images have been modified to remove prominent graffiti

Like the Cape Wanbrow in Oamaru, the Cobden installation was also made for one 5" naval gun. The position is made up of an observation post and one Colchester type gun shelter.

The 5" Gun at Cobden c1942
A view of the GOP (Gun Observation Post)
from the approach path
A view of the view from the GOP of the
Greymouth harbour, Grey river mouth and bar.
A view of the 5" gun shelter from the South West A view from inside the 5" gun shelter overlooking Cobden
and the harbour mouth.
The 5" gun shelter from road in Cobden
Click Here
for a plan of the Greymouth
Coastal Defence Battery
A view from the 5" gun shelter looking down
on the Camp & air raid shelter.
Air Raid Shelter
(Prior to its destruction August 2007)
Destruction of the
Air Raid Shelter Click here
(to read Greymouth Evening Star article)


Fort Record Book
B Section 134 Hvy Battery NZA Greymouth

One 5" 51 caliber MkVIII US Naval gun No. 469 (From same shipment as Cape Wardrow (Oamaru) gun
on a Mk XIII Carriage and a MkIV Stand.
Max Effective range 17,000 yds

2 Officers, 1 WO, 3 Sergeants and 26 OR's

Battery Camp
The army took over the Convent School in Stour Street just below the battery and converted it as a camp for the Battery. The school hall still remains. The Air raid shelter also still remains and was converted to a bike shed.

Local Defence:
SMLE Rifles, 1 by Bren LMG and 1 x Tranter pistol

The battery was put into care and Maintenance 12 Oct 1943
The Ammunition was removed 2 Oct 1944
Gun dismantled & shipped to Burnham 1 Dec 1944

Grey District Council Sponsored Vandalism
Grey District Council destroys historic air raid shelter at Cobden to make way for a sewer line.......

It was probably the only surviving air raid shelter from WWII left in New Zealand!

No Public Consultation!

and not the first time !!!!!

to see what it looked like
Click Here


Click Here to download the
 Greymouth Evening Star Report
Click Here to download the original Battery Plan

The Cobden 5"gun

My Comment

On a visit to Greymouth last weekend I was given a cutting from your paper regarding the destruction of the Cobden Air Raid Shelter.

Several years ago I started documenting the remains of our Coastal Defence sites for precisely this reason. Our coastal defence heritage is disappearing, usually sanctioned by local or national government under the guise of public safety or to make way for infrastructure development. Where was the consultation? I believe that the Cobden air raid shelter may have been the only structure of this nature left in the country and consider its destruction to be Council sponsored vandalism.

Last year I visited this historic Cobden coastal defence site and photographed the remains for my web site. This web site was started, not as a definitive history of our WWII coastal defences, but a record of what is remaining, that people can visit the site and see some remaining local military history. By doing this I was hoping to raise awareness of the historical value of these sites. To find that this site was destroyed has disappointed me, a piece of our military heritage has disappeared forever. Not the first time by the Grey District Council. The destruction of the pill boxes and road blocks on the Point Elizabeth road several years ago is another example.

You can visit my web site to see what I have written, and see the original plans of the site, historical facts and a picture of the gun. Many hours research reading the Battery Log at Archives NZ. and other documents.

The West Coast has a fine history from WWII, both Regular Army and an exceptionally strong Home Guard. The remains of these sites should be treated as important historical sites as a tribute to those Coasters who manned them over a time of uncertainty. Not destroyed at the whim of a beaurocrat who sees them as an obstacle to development. Would this be done to a historic Pa site, I think not.

(A letter to the Editor, Greymouth Evening Star, 23 August 2007)

Maps & Satellite Images
Download location Map as PDF  

How to Get there:


Archives NZ ch539 2/1 Camp 18 Greymouth 1945-46
                    CAWQ CH540 3.12 Fort Record book B Section 134 Hvy Battery NZA Greymouth
Archives New Zealand, Christchurch Regional Office90 Peterbough Street, Christchurch.

Coastal Defence Links

Godley Head
Fortress Area
Timaru Coastal
Mt Pleasant AA Battery Battery Point
Port Hills Defences Cape Wanbrow
Other WWII
Defence Installations

Canterbury & the
West Cost
Miscellaneous Fortifications
Other Provinces
Pre WWII Defences
Akaroa (Wainui)

Other links directly related to this article:

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Last modified: 08/30/07.