In 1940 a very real possibility existed that the Island would the first target for an invasion by the German Army and preparations were made for this eventuality. In Shanklin the Home Guard stood ready for an onslaught whether it should come by sea or overland. Short of guns and ammunition it certainly had enough to cover the approach from the South and as the picture shows, the rifle positions to cover this are still in existence close to St. Blazius Church.
Shortage of hand grenades did not prevent throwing practice and one group assembled in the upstairs rooms of the Black Cat tea rooms for a simulated attack on a passing lorry using swede turnips.
However it was realised that the Home Guard might not be enough to repel the advancing troops and plan B was prepared. Captain Dick Wheway, the local radio repair man, recruited a clandestine band of local men who were ready to operate as guerrillas should the worst happen. Their operations would centre on a secret underground cavern they had excavated under the cover of darkness in the America woods. In preparation it was stocked explosives and detonators and emergency supplies.
The local army units erected miles of beach defences consisting of a framework of scaffold poles which stretched from Yaverland to Luccombe. The pier was a possible landing point so a cunning strategy was put into action. A vast gap was blown into the pier deck and if a battalion should land there and try to march ashore, disaster would ensue.
After the war the breach in the pier was repaired with reinforced concrete. Ironically this was the only part of the pier to survive after the storm of 1986 when all of the iron structure was washed away.