Kindly prompted by blog follower, Alastair, we set out on an expedition to Reigate Fort, a little to the east of Box Hill and another part of the London Defence Positions built in the 1890s to defend
from the French.
had been the world's super power since the Battle of Trafalgar, its strength
was thinly spread and its naval dominance slipping. Although the subsequent
naval race with Germany and the commitment to building 'Dreadnoughts' restored
confidence in British naval supremacy and rendered the London Defence Positions
obsolete, the fear of invasion was still great enough for parts of the LDP to
be revitalised during the First and Second World Wars.
The southern edge of the South Downs forms a natural escarpment and a strong defensive position, and would have been the best, and, indeed, the last, place to resist an advance on
by forces landed on the south coast. London
itself would have provided good internal lines of communication.