The Ravages of War
Goswick’s steady rise was put on hold with the outbreak of the second World War in 1939. As the club’s meeting minutes put it, ‘the large reduction in the number of members caused by military service meant that the financial position was far from good’. On 10th May 1940, Hitler invaded neutral Belgium and Holland. While the bulk of British troops were evacuated at Dunkirk, the threat of a German invasion became very real.
Concrete blocks, pill boxes and barbed wire appeared all around the coasts to deter the landing of German troops by sea. The sand dunes at Goswick were no exception. Remnants of this defensive effort remain.
Ultimately, play was suspended and the club offered use of its clubhouse to the Home Guard. Parts of the course, in particular the southern end, were requisitioned by the War Department to serve as a target practice area for rocket-firing Typhoons. As such, those holes soon became littered with thousands of clips and cartridges.
After the war, it would take several years of hard work by the greenkeeping staff, assisted by members, to clear the debris — not to mention to corral the rabbits that proliferated during the interlude. But it could have been much worse. If the War Department had taken over all 18 holes, it’s entirely possible Goswick would have ceased to exist.
Below: Evidence remains of defence tactics to deter a German invasion.