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Thread: Cliffe Fort - Kent

  1. #1
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    Default Cliffe Fort - Kent


    Hi

    I know that this site is well covered, however wanted to add my pics to the mix

    Went down to the fort on new years day 2009 at 8.00 in the morning expecting to be all alone - got to the fort to find a huge dredger moored up next to it !!! Obviously working for Bretts Aggregate (who own the fort)

    Never mind - decided to go in anyway as the guy on the bridge seemed to be asleep

    This is a dangerous place and with hindsight i should not have gone on my own - whilst it is pretty sturdy, bits are falling to pieces, its flooded on the lower levels, the shell hoist holes are all uncovered and its isolated - i will put more thought into it next time.

    I did however get some good pictures (i am not a whizz with the camera !!) and good access.

    The history of the fort is well documented on the internet - it forms part of the Thames estuary defence in conjunction with Shornemead, Slough, New Tavern & Coalhouse forts (plus other smaller emplacements)

    Similar forts were built on the Medway to protect the navy dockyard there - all regarded as Palmerston follies.

    Cliffe suffered from flooding, subsidence, mosquitos and remoteness right from the word go - it did however provide a home for the worlds first practical guided missile (I kid you not). The Brennan Torpedo (1886) was a wire guided torpedo which could be fired from the fort and into a ship in the Thames whilst controlled from the fort i.e. a ship could not steer away from it. The only surviving Brennan Torpedo is at the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham and it is a handsome piece of kit. Cliffe is the only place in the world that you can see the remains of the launch ramp for this once widespread piece of equipment.

    The lower levels are under water most of the time - i have seen pictures where people have got down there - having been there it looks a bit dangerous to me, however i am tickling 40 so its probably an age thing !!

    My personal view is that these forts are not follies - a deterrent is the best form of defence and these forts made the Thames and Medway a rather unpleasant undertaking for any nation (France !!) who fancied having a crack at Britain.

    The condition of the fort is (in my view) a disgrace - its in private ownership but is part of our history and they are letting it rot.

    I didn't take pictures of the exterior - apologies - i will sort this

    Near the fort is the shipwreck of the Hans Egede which is a wooden ship which sank in the late 1950's - at low tide this is worth a look.

    Next to the Hans Egede is also the blown up remains of a Maunsell Sea Fort (see other posts) which was towed here after the war and blown up by the Royal Engineers - at low tide it is a tangle of concrete and girders !!

    The Cliffe Marshes are also (so the rumour goes) where the marsh scenes for Full Metal Jacket were filmed - not so sure about that myself - i will have to do some sniffing about to confirm that

    cheers

    parade ground - main gate right
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    parade ground - officers quarters right
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    WW2 AA gun pit on roof
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    parade ground from above main gate - its heavily flooded and overgrown
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    gun embrasure/casement - NOT 2nd world war !!
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    gun casement - looking along gallery - beware the shell hoist holes !!
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    view of parade ground from inside gun casement
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    Brennan Torpedo - remains of controllers periscope
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    large pipe in lower flooded levels - i don't know what this is
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    fireplace inside officers quarters - this area is very poor condition with floors and ceilings crumbling
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    windows looking landward from officers quarters
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    parade ground up to guns
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    rails in floor for gun traverse in casement
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    gun embrasure with iron bars for controlling recoil
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    ammo 'ready hatches' on roof for WW2 AA guns
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    Brennan torpedo launch rails - these are outside of fort and on public land - need to be put in a museum in my view........
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    and again
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    steps up to WW2 control office for AA guns - pretty hairy to use if i am honest !!
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    this is where the steps lead
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    staircase in officers quarters worn away by water
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    wreck of Hans Egede with faithful hound Scooby in attendance !! (its when the Thames comes out the other end that the problems begin......!!)
    [IMG][/IMG]

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  3. #2
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    Good photo's scooby it's always good to see someone else's take on a place

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  4. #3
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    Thanks

    I can confirm that Cliffe Marshes was used in Full Metal Jacket

    The scene where they are walking down a dusty road with a canal next to them (in Vietnam) is Cliffe - apparently you can see Canvey Island in the background !!

    One day i will need that info in a pub quiz..........

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  5. #4
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    Good report that and love scooby at the end:)
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
    Flickr

    Forgotten Fairmile
    Spuds Rural Explorations
    The Church explorer

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  6. #5
    Join Date
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    Very interesting site, do like the steps up to the control tower.

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  7. #6
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    That place is great nice one!

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  8. #7
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    Excellant stuff Scooby

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