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The Bridge (BRFM) Sheppey

With some Island & Radio History

Issue : 6 Dated : 20th December 2020

Page 1 of 3

Quick Link : 2 : 3

BRFM 95.6 Logo

From time immemorial the Isle-of-Sheppey has suffered jibes, isolated from North Kent by the Swale it's own inhabitants long ago dubbed themselves 'Swampies'

A simple bridge known as the 'Tremsethg' first spanned the Swale, lost in a tidal wave it was replaced in 1860 with an Admiralty pattern crossing to carry rail & road traffic

In 1908 a rolling lift bridge was built & finally in 1960 the Kingsferry Bridge lifting road-rail bridge was built, here which has since taken a secondary role with the 2003 multi million pound Sheppey Crossing which was completed in July 2006

See pictures of the bridges in Old Ships : Greta 3 : Boat Move : UCL Charter

Infrastructure investment, home building & commercial development continues, some believe the island will gain its own airport though environmentalists & a good many engineers have shunned the idea

The islands relationship with radio go back to the 1960's when from time to time supplies were ferried to & from the Offshore Radio Forts

This practice continued in the mid 1980's with Murray Tugs tendering Laser Hot Hits & again in the Min 1990's when Murray Tugs supplied the Yoman Rose for Radio London's commemorative broadcast off Clacton-on-Sea

BRFM is co-owned by Murray Tugs

BRFM Location

Where am I?

The BRFM studio cabin is perched on a cliff top site at Minster

Sea view north east

Looking North East towards Red Sands & Shivering Sands Forts beyond from the Minster Cliffs on 18th May 2007

The closest landfall from Red Sands is Leysdown 5 nautical (5.75) miles the BRFM location has been accurately christened 'Windy Ridge'

The Relay Logo

Relay BRFM Report

Police Newspaper 'The Relay' of November 2007 reports Kent Police Chief Constable visit to BRFM

Thames Boom 1

Remnants of the Thames Boom from the cliffs with tower blocks at Southend beyond

The defence boom was built across the Thames Estuary from Minster (Sheerness) to Shoeburyness to control shipping movement in the early years of the Cold War

Thames Boom 2

Note offshore dredged Channel Buoys

It replaced a similar World War II the surviving sections of the Boom extend seawards from the beach

Thames Boom 3

Wreck remnants of the Thames Boom from the cliffs

Three pictures above from December 2007 there's more in the Thames Boom feature

Mulberry Harbour Section

The World War II Mulberry Harbour section off Essex photographed in August 2007

This section can be readily seen from Essex & the Thames Estuary this 'Phoenix' caisson has a broken back, it's on the West Knock sandbank about 1.8 km off Thorpe Bay it was to form part of a temporary 'Mulberry Harbour'used for the fast supply of troops in the Normandy landings following D Day

Extended 3.5 km along the coast & around 1.75 km out to sea, formed at Arromanches they played a crucial role in the landings

Mulberry Harbour Section Close Up

This caisson photographed again in October 2008

Was being towed from Immingham, on the Humber, to Southsea in the run up to D Day, when it sprang a leak so was brought into the Thames Estuary & sunk

Port Ramsgate from Air TransEuropa Ferry from air

Aerial picture of Port Ramsgate where Murray Tugs are contracted to assist shipping movements

Nore Challanger at Port Ramsgate

Murray Tug Nore Challenger at work

The small motor boat is used by Port hands to take ship bow lines

Nore Challanger & Larkspur

Tug is used to aid safe docking of ferry's onto Ramsgate's jetty arm exposed to prevailing westerly winds

Details of the former Sally Line ships in use by TransEuropa Ferries Larkspur & behind the Primrose

Nore Challanger

Movement complete the tug remains on standby 24/7

Above three pictures from 3rd February 2008

12/10/09 - Hello, my Name is Stefan. I am modeller from Poland. I am looking for a tug design. The tug was built in 1958 in T. Mitchison Ltd Gateshead Newcastle on Tyne Shipyard (or P.K. Harris & Sons Ltd, Appledore / Devon /) and was named Tur, a Polish name. Orkan (and Lew) was another one. Unfortunately there are not any designs or documentation in Poland. I would like to make a tug model. These tugs are very interesting because they very different from anyother in Poland. Can anyone help Stefan Poland?

Demolished in 1959/60 the Nore Fort is no more but a legacy of WW11 remains on the Great Nore Sandbank; The wreck of the liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery

RS Richard Montgomery wreck 1

The Montgomery pictured in the mid 1980's

RS Richard Montgomery wreck 2

The Montgomery on 7th August 2007

In three sections the Montgomery remains partly laden with explosives off the Isle-of-Sheppey close to the approaches to the River Medway, you can just make out the BRFM Minster antenna on the island

See the SS Richard Montgomery feature

The tenuous radio link with the island continued into the late 1960's as Murray Tugs supplied Red Sands Development Seatribe as they made their ill fated attempt to convert the Red Sands Forts into a leisure complex

In Mid-1980's Murray Tugs supplied Laser Hot Hits on the MV Communicator, mast sections for their antenna were shipped out from Sheerness, the unused mast sections eventually went back to be stored in Murray's yard

Swale Sound Logo

The Swale Sound logo looked quite like a house For Sale Board'

In August 2002 a group was formed known as Swale FM, they began campaigning for a local community station for the Sheppey & Swale area

Swale Local Radio had been running Sittingbourne Hospital Radio, the group fragmented SLR ran their own Restricted Licence Station (RSL) now a granted Ofcom licence for Sittingbourne & negotiated a Digital arrangement on the Capital Radio Multiplex

Kings Ferry106.6  Logo

Kings Ferry Sticker

The other group members similarly did their own thing & opened an RSL under the call sign Kings Ferry FM

Link FM Antenna arrangement

The early antenna

Made quite a sight installed on a full extended 'Crane Lorry' jib

Crane mounted antenna

View from under jury rigged antenna

Link 87.9 Logo

Link Sticker

Link headed paper

Link headed paper

Link Headed Note Paper

This was followed by the Link, using the same transmitter & antenna arrangement

BR idge FM 106.6 Logo

Original BR 'idge' FM Sticker

Finally the 'Bridge' shortened to BRFM again they used the same antenna arrangement

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