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Council looks to restore and move New Milton's rare wartime gun turret to highlight historical significance

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A RECENTLY rediscovered rare gun turret, used to help defend New Milton during the Second World War, could be restored for display.

Town councillors want to highlight the historical significance of the steel Allan Williams turret – one of only 199 ever constructed.

But a previous suggestion that it be moved to the garden outside the soon-to-open No.1 New Milton heritage centre at the former station master’s house was rejected.

The Second World War turret on Barton Common
The Second World War turret on Barton Common

Amenities committee members were instead keen to see the turret, which had been moved years ago to a different position on Barton Common, placed nearer to its original site.

But mayor Cllr Keith Craze warned: “It’s a solid steel structure, so it would be way too heavy to lift – you would need a crane and a lorry.

“It is essential to New Milton’s heritage, so arguably should be kept in New Milton but somewhere safe.”

He argued it should be moved back to the part of the common where it was more likely to have been when it acted as New Milton’s third line of coastal defence.

Cllr Steve Clarke said: “It’s quite an interesting piece of machinery, although it’s missing some vital parts such as a door and the anti-aircraft guns.

“It would be something of a talking point and keeps the past and ‘Lest we forget’ in focus.

“It’s a really interesting thing. I didn’t know anything about it until we found it.”

Members agreed that the town council’s listed buildings working party should look into the potential cost of restoring and relocating the turret and installing a plaque.

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