A village with links to the Cold War and a legacy tied to the sea

St Nicholas Church, Holmpton with the memorial to an RAF Bomber crew who crashed at nearby Mill Hill
St Nicholas Church, Holmpton with the memorial to an RAF Bomber crew who crashed at nearby Mill Hill
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Holmpton, close to Withernsea, is a traditional rural village with an interesting link to the Cold War and a history which is tied to the sea.

The village dates back to the Domesday Book and chairman of the Holmpton Parish Council, Andrew Wilkin, described it as a lovely place to live.

“It is rural and quiet with a good community spirit,” he said.

Many of the buildings in Holmpton are steeped in the history of the community which has lived there over the centuries and is situated just inland from the Holderness coastline.

Its links with the sea – and the challenges of a now rapidly eroding coastline – are apparent.

There are pictures on the parish council website showing the Holmpton Coastguard in the 1930s and the village pub doubled as the Bethel (a place of safety) for survivors.

Now named The George and Dragon, the 210-year-old inn, shown in older pictures as The George, is currently closed and the subject of an ongoing planning application.

Its role as a place to take shipwreck survivors to recover saved it from closure in 1926, when a staunch Methodist wanted it closed for reasons of propriety.

Also in the village is a house which still bears the name Rocket House which is a nod to its former use. In the event of a shipwreck, rockets with ropes attached, were fired from the cliffs on to the ship so they could rig up a bosun’s seat to bring the survivors to shore.

Access to the beach from the village is now limited due to the cliff erosion.

In more recent times there is another feature which has put Holmpton on the map and that is RAF Holmpton. Now privately owned and open to the public, the Cold War era nuclear bunker was built in the 1950s.

Mr Atkin who has lived in the surrounding area all his life said the amazing thing was that until it was opened to the public they had no idea what was there.

“We knew it was an RAF bunker, but no idea what went on there. It was fascinating to find out.”

There is also a memorial outside the church to an RAF crew which crashed nearby during the Second World War.

In the grounds of St Nicholas Church is a memorial made from local cobble – stone collected from the fields – to the crew of the Bomber.

All seven of the crew members were killed when the plane crashed at nearby Mill Hill. The memorial was dedicated in 2009.

Mr Atkin said the parish council was involved in the event.

“It was lovely as we were able to welcome some members of the Bomber crew’s families,” he added.