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Report - Cliffe Fort - Kent - May 2014

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by hhh, May 11, 2014.

  1. hhh

    hhh 28DL Full Member
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    Cliffe Fort lies on low lying ground on the Cliffe Marshes in Kent. It was built from 1860s to (along with other forts) protect London from the perceived threat of a French invasion force coming up the River Thames. Even during construction the fort suffered from subsidence, evidence of which is still visible today. The fort was originally armed Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) guns, the largest of which were 12.5inch 38-ton and 11inch 25-ton guns, the guns were protected in granite faced casements and further iron plate shielding. Musketry caponiers helped protect the landward side of the fort. From 1890 part of Cliffe Fort was adapted as a Brennan Torpedo station, this was an early form of anti-ship torpedo which could be guided (steered) from the land and was used for harbour defence. In the late 19th-early 20th century new concrete gun emplacements were added to the roof of the fort these housed 12 pound quick firing guns, later replaced with 4inch guns. Cliffe Fort remained armed until the end of the Second World War after which it was sold to a local cement company whose works and jetties were close to the fort.

    Today Cliffe Fort has a permanent place in English Heritage's Monuments at Risk Register, it has been left to decay since the end of the Second World War. Due to its low lying position and poor drainage the central area of the fort and the ground floor including the magazines are usually flooded. The fort is now owned by Brett Aggregates who operate a wharfs next to the fort for the bringing ashore of sea-dredged aggregate. The original entrance doors to the fort are wide open, but the entrance is filled in with sand. Parts of the fort and crumbling and collapsing, stairways have mostly been removed meaning that climbing may be required to get between different floor levels.
    There are remains of two launch slips for the Brennan Torpedo on the foreshore, inside the fort are traces of adaptations made for the conversion to torpedo station and the remains of a telescopic control/observation tower for the torpedo.


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    A resident Water Vole


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    Gun Casement

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    At the sides of the casements are shafts down into the magazines (flooded) below.

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    Replica of a 9inch 12-ton RML gun in New Tavern Fort, Gravesend, similar slightly larger guns would have been at Cliffe Fort.


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    What were these? this was the only hole in the wall /cupboard I saw like this in the whole site (in Torpedo Station area)


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    At least 70cm of water/silt here.


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    The dome shape on the left is where the telescopic observation/control tower came out for the Brennan Torpedo, the large arch below the dome shape, see photo below..


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    The metal on the roof and the hole in the floor apparently belong to the telescopic observation/control tower for the Brennan Torpedo.


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    Launch slip and rail for the Brennan Torpedo.




     

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  2. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Interesting. Nice snaps :thumb
     
  3. Electric_Orange

    Electric_Orange 28DL Full Member
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    Nice.. I was just wondering the other day how much water would be at Cliffe after all the rain we've had this year.. And I bet a fiver you was imagining firing a torpedo at the boat in the last pic.. :-)
     
  4. REEF

    REEF Getthegirlkillthebaddies
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    Top stuff.

    I've been thinking of going here for a while, I think you're photos have inspired me to get my arse into gear.

    Thanks
     
  5. Songsofthedoomed

    Songsofthedoomed 28DL Full Member
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    Fantastic, never even heard of this, nice one
     
  6. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Really nice site, like the looks of that, great pics, thanks for sharin' :thumb
     
  7. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
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    I wasn't expecting much from this but you've made it look like an interesting mooch, thanks!
     
  8. pirate

    pirate Rum Swigger
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    nice pano's.......one of the first sites i went to,loads to see there with plenty of history.
     
  9. floyjoy

    floyjoy 28DL Full Member
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    Very nice report - looks like a great visit.
     
  10. canute

    canute 货车司机和国王
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    Great set of pictures :thumb
     
  11. Ninja

    Ninja 28DL Full Member
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    Some nice arch porn there, good stuff!
     
  12. hhh

    hhh 28DL Full Member
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    no no no, you've got me all wrong, I wasn't bothered about this small ship - A little earlier a French container ship (CMA CGM Homere) went past, I imagined torpedoing that one but those crafty French must have seen me and made their ship go a little faster and my torpedo missed the stern by a matter of a few feet.
     
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