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The Maunsell Army Sea Forts

 

                     

                Red Sand Towers                                                                                   Shivering Sand Towers

The Maunsell Army Sea Forts came about as a direct result of German aircraft attacking Liverpool Docks from the Irish Sea via the undefended Mersey Estuary. Fearful that the German air force would use the Thames as a means of navigation to the centre of London and the London Docks, then the busiest in the World, it was decided to build a number of gun towers for the Mersey and the Thames.

Originally there were 49 towers planned for the Thames but cut backs due to a decrease in German aircraft activity, resulted in only 21 towers being built at each location.

These Forts were built at the Red Lion Wharf site and towed down river to be lowered onto the sea bed. Each Tower is set on four concrete legs supporting a steel structure 100ft above sea level and connected by narrow catwalks. This complex consisted of five gun towers, a searchlight tower and a Radar/Control control tower. The towers were towed out on specially constructed barges, two at a time, and set into the sea bed. They were positioned between June and December 1943 and were manned by 165 men. 

Of the 21 Army towers built in the Thames, only 13 still exist. The seven towers of The Nore group were dismantled in 1959/60 and parts deposited on the foreshore at Cliffe in Kent as it was blocking the main approach to the Thames ports. The Red Sands Group of seven towers is directly off Minster on the Isle of Sheppey but visible from Herne Bay, were abandoned in 1956 and occupied by radio pirates, including Radio City and Radio Sutch, during the period 1964-1967. Several TV programmes were filmed on these Forts such as Dangerman and Dr Who.

The Shivering Sand Group today consists of just six towers, one tower having been knocked over (the remains of which can be seen next to the second tower) by the ship "Ribersborg" in fog on June 7th 1963. As with the Red Sand Group, it was occupied by the Radio Pirates and several radio stations were active before being forced to close. This group is directly off Herne Bay at about 7 miles distance.

                                        

                    Red Sand Tower                                                                                     Shivering Sand Tower       

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Home The Boat Skipper First Mate Log Marina Info Present Position Photo Album Workshop History This n That Just for fun Best 'n' Rest Trivia, games, etc Guestbook Glossary Site Map Links Contact Page