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Report (Permission Visit) - Red Sands Maunsell WW2 Sea Forts Permissioned Visit (tour) cc2021 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) Red Sands Maunsell WW2 Sea Forts Permissioned Visit (tour) cc2021


DE-eVOLVED SS3

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Red Sands Sea Fort Thames Estuary, UK cc2021

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Here is the start of my Maunsell, Red Sands Fort report, situated in the Thames Estuary (1 of 3 forts, 2 remain) ..i'll touch on the remaining two Forts at a later time..

OVERVIEW :-
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The offshore forts, or towers, were originally World War II military facilities built to protect the coast and were essentially of two designs. Red Sands, Shivering Sands and Great Nore were Army constructed, originally consisting of seven separate towers, each set on four concrete legs supporting a steel structure 90 to 100ft above sea level and connected by narrow catwalks.

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This Battery like configuration consisted of five gun towers, a searchlight tower and a main control tower. The towers were towed out on specially constructed barges, two at a time, and set into the sea bed of the Thames Estuary..

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The seven towers of Red Sands were placed approximately six miles off Minster, Isle of Sheppey, over the period July 23rd to September 3rd 1943.

The forts were designed to house various gun installations (visible on some of the pictures I've included ) to combat the twin threats of enemy aircraft and E-boats.

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The original armament consisted of two '4.5" guns' mounted on the main decks, four 'Lewis machine guns' and two 'Bofors 40mm guns' on the upper deck with the central tower sporting a radar scanner dish.

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The forts were abandoned hook, line and sinker by the military at the end of the war after which ownership of the Forts became a matter of opinion as they were generally considered to be situated in international waters and not subject to any particular mainland jurisdiction. In fact, the War Office seemed to be rather keen to pass responsibility for them onto other government departments having tried, unsuccessfully, to sell them off in 1963.

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This didn't really matter, of course, as they were doing no harm and were of no real practical use to anyone - until pirate radio came along.

A third type of offshore fort was also in existence, notably Horse Sand Fort in the Solent, but did not evolve in pirate radio activities.

All of the towers, except Roughs and Sunk Head, were declared to be inside territorial waters and therefore subject to prosecution under the Wireless and Telegraphy Act. The area of water in the bay, 683 square miles as calculated by a Ministry of Defence Naval Surveyor, was only 5 square miles more than that inside the theoretical semi-circle!

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The last military maintenance teams were withdrawn from the towers in the winter of 1958/59 and by the Sixties all the offshore towers were already in a state of considerable neglect and disrepair, offering at best only a bare minimum of facilities and were to prove impossible to supply for long periods during bad weather.

This is part of a description of Shivering Sands, which was the home of Radio City. The fort had lost one of its towers when a ship ran into it, killing four people: "and injuring others.
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. . one section had collapsed and another was standing unaccompanied or expelled where the walkways had collapsed."

Tragedy struck at Red Sands fort ccDecember 16th when "Radio Invicta" co-owner Tom Pepper, engineer Martin Shaw and disc jockey Simon Ashley ALL drowned in very bad circumstances following the capsizing of their launch after having delivered supplies to the station from Faversham.

Also, being in open sea areas and constructed largely of metal, they were natural lightning conductors. On Red Sands, D.J. Paul Beresford of Radio 390 was actually STRUCK BY LIGHTNING !!! ..not only surviving but managing to broadcast his usual programme only hours later! Even on good days huge build-ups of static electricity were apparently a problem and there are many recounted tales of station staff being thrown some distance after carelessly grabbing metal door handles. Minor things like that, however, didn't seem to be any deterrent to the more determined pirate radio station operators.

Offshore radio stations: -

Radio Invicta 17th July 1964 till 11th February 1965,
KING Radio 25th February 1965 till 22nd September 1965,
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Radio 390 25th September 1965 till 28th July 1967

Location: Thames Estuary (51.28.62 North, 0.59.60 East)

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I still have more info to add to this post..

I hope everyone's having a good evening - DE-eVOLVED
 

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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nicely researched. Would like to see more of your photos too. Ive always like the look of these. How many have access to each other?
 

AlternativeAdventuring

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I did this a couple of months back but only viewed from a boat. Not sure how I'd feel about getting up into the forts anyway as not good with heights or the sea!!

Did you actually get into the forts or are these ones old pictures/taken from someone else? I don't think I've seen anyone in them for a while so wanted to check!!


Thanks for sharing your pics though, I would recommend to anyway as it's a super cool place!
 

DE-eVOLVED SS3

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I did this a couple of months back but only viewed from a boat. Not sure how I'd feel about getting up into the forts anyway as not good with heights or the sea!!

Did you actually get into the forts or are these ones old pictures/taken from someone else? I don't think I've seen anyone in them for a while so wanted to check!!


Thanks for sharing your pics though, I would recommend to anyway as it's a super cool place!
Hi,
The high def pics are mine, and the rest are what i found online whilst researching, we couldn't get in them as the door\hatches have had new locks fitted due to vandals getting in.. .I do know theres a Team that go out there on an 'operation clean up' style outing from time to time..but how often?..Icouldnt say at this point.. I share your anxietys..i felt right out of sorts when I first got on the boat...knowing how deep it is if we sank lol.. and i have good days and bad days with heights... No problem glad you like my post ✔
 

DE-eVOLVED SS3

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nicely researched. Would like to see more of your photos too. Ive always like the look of these. How many have access to each other?
Hi, thankyou ..ill pm you shortly.. I think ultimatley 2 have access although the locks have been changed.. But it really deepends on your climbing ability and equiptment..i know there were a couple of explorers that went to another structure in the Thames and they took crossbows with grapple lines and electric hoists with them and managed to get some epic never seen before ..well not since it was abandonned pics.. so I reckon the rarerforts interiors 'could' be explored.. Personally, I'am not planning to be THAT adventurous, glad you like my post.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Hi, thankyou ..ill pm you shortly.. I think ultimatley 2 have access although the locks have been changed.. But it really deepends on your climbing ability and equiptment..i know there were a couple of explorers that went to another structure in the Thames and they took crossbows with grapple lines and electric hoists with them and managed to get some epic never seen before ..well not since it was abandonned pics.. so I reckon the rarerforts interiors 'could' be explored.. Personally, I'am not planning to be THAT adventurous, glad you like my post.
Yep Ive seen a few great explores from here. Just wondered that's all. My climbing is awful lol. I may go on a tour though . Thanks for replying.
 

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