Cleethorpes Camp ~ The Military History of the Humberston Fitties
A look at the history of the Humberston Fitties site in the very earliest days and the military connection
The Humberston Fitties is an area on the East Coast of Lincolnshire, in England, contiguous with Cleethorpes and close to Grimsby.
You can see an overview of the area in an earlier article we did here History of the Humberston Fitties. A complete history can be found in a book I highly recommend Humberston Fitties by Alan Dowling
Inspired by some images kindly sent in by Neville here’s a look into the military foundations of the site and its army past.
Firstly, I must stress a point, I am taking the leap of faith which is that Cleethorpes Camp and the Fitties site is one and the same thing!
Note the date 1909!
Long before there were any chalets or holiday homes on the site it was used for the same purpose by campers using tents during the summer months, up until the First World War when the area on the foreshore was commandeered for military use.
In 1914 the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment were tasked with guarding the coastline between Cleethorpes and Tetney Lock.
They were billeted in various sites, including those who lost their lives during the Zeppelin Raid on Cleethorpes, including the Fitties site.
Trenches or temporary fortifications were laid down, guard huts were built and picket duties arranged.
Contemporaneous reports via the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment suggest life a Cleethorpes Camp was really quite tolerable.
Presumably made more so with the introduction of huts. The first proper structures, per se, on the site were built by the soldiers themselves to provide some respite from tents and camping.
The Second World War saw the army back again, the coastline being of even greater strategic importance.
The 154th Battery Royal Artillery were in the area.
Early on owners were still allowed to visit their chalets, many who had them used to go and help the soldiers with food, tea and washing etc, before too long though it was declared out of bounds to the public and all the chalets were requisitioned for military use.
One part of the Fitties site came in particularly useful - a Rifle Range.
For many years a local club rented a piece of the land in order to use it as a Rifle Range and during 1939 to 1945 the army used it for target shooting practice and Bren Gun training.
Some of the bungalows were actually used to house soldiers who’d been rescued from Dunkirk!
As you can see form this outline it really is an area rich in history, plenty more to be uncovered as well.
To that end any information at all on the military at Humberston Fitties or Cleethorpes Camp is greatly welcomed.
As is comment on the images and the dates noted on them . . . ?