Planning for Defence

  • K. W. Mitchinson
Part of the Studies in Military and Strategic History book series (SMSH)


Contemporary opinion within the War Office and Admiralty considered an enemy attack on Britain could take several forms. As one of the precautions against such an eventuality, the navy had classified ports and their facilities into either ‘Commercial’ or ‘Naval’. All the principal anchorages, particularly those on the East and South Coasts such as Hull, Harwich and Dover, were categorized as ‘Defended’; these included ports which were considered either liable or not liable to attack in the Precautionary Period. Despite much debate over which of the two services should be responsible for which aspects of ports’ defence, the traditional demarcation point of the high water mark was consistently retained. Above the high water mark, and further inland, the military authorities were chiefly responsible for the protection of vulnerable points, but the Police were also tasked to prevent acts of sabotage by individuals or small groups. The exception to this general rule was the railway network: in time of war it was to fall under the protection of the army. In addition, the military were also to assume responsibility for the security of signal stations, cable landing sites and the national telegraph system.


National Reserve High Water Mark Commanding Officer Army Reservist Special Reserve 
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© K.W. Mitchinson 2005

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  • K. W. Mitchinson

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