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Brian Waters

A former Leigh-on-Sea, Essex engineer in the very early days of Radio Essex talks about his experience and involvement

The Naval Forts in 1943

1. Bofors Gun & Radar Predictor on the Top House of a Naval Fort in 1943

After WWII a caretaker crew were left to guard & maintain the Thames Estuary Forts by 1958 they'd been totally abandoned by the MoD

Pillaged of useful parts & scrap, having brass portholes the Naval Forts faired worst that the Army Towers

GPO Notice 1965

2. GPO (General Post Office) Notice 15th September 1965

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Brian Waters recalls his involvement as an electrical mechanical engineer in the early days of Radio Essex from the summer of 1965, on a boat trip to the Knock John Fort in September 2017

Felixtowe Times 14th August 1965

3. Felixstowe Times 14th August 1965

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The Knock John Naval Fort in 1966

4. The Knock John Naval Fort in 1966

The collapsed Dolphin Ready to board

5. The collapsed Dolphin
6. Ready to board

The Dolphins were a late addition hastily built in the final stages to aid supplying

Climbing the rickety Dolphin Climbing the rickety Dolphin

7. Climbing the rickety Dolphin
8. Climbing the rickety Dolphin

Roy Bates had scaled Knock John to wrestle control from Radio City who'd left a small party of three guards & modest equipment aboard

Last stage crew hauled you aboardHauled up from above

9. Last stage crew hauled you aboard
10. Hauled up from above

Once he'd control Roy the remains of heavily corroded leg ladders had fallen away, Roy placed 'gash' planks over part of the Dolphin & sealed the top leg access hatch

Secure from a retake by Radio City getting aboard involved the crew above hauling personel the remaining 15 feet to the platform

Aircraft Diesel Fuel Tanks The one & only Radio Essex Studio

11. Dick Palmer 'dips' the Aircraft Fuel Tanks
12. The one & only Radio Essex Studio

A Channel Airways Director, friend of Roy Bates & backer of Radio Essex of Southend supplied the fuel tanks

Fuel was man handled below by hand resulting in many spillages resulting in dangerous slippery floors at level A as the diesel dissolved the bituminous floors

Fort Captain & Senior Engineer Dick Palmer was to designed & build a gravity feed from car carburetors

13. Channel Airways signage
14. Channel Airways Logo

The private airline Channel Airways began as the East Anglian Flying Services in 1946 moving to Southend in 1947 by 1971 their fleet had grown to 25 aircraft they ceased trading in February 1972

15. A Channel Airways Briston 170 Freighter MK21E at Southend (Romford) Airport SEN/EGMC in August 1965 (Dave Welch)

16. Channel Airways Vickers-Vicount 701 at Southend (Romford) Airport SEN/EGMC in 1965 (Dave Welch)

See more superb Channel Airways Photographs by Dave Welch

North 3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun South 3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun

17. North 3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun
18. South 3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun

The Radio Essex antenna was initially lashed from the radar top house to the Southern elevated Gun

3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun with attached antenna feed Ships mast antenna arrangement

19. 3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun with attached antenna feed
20. Ships mast antenna arrangement

Various other arrangements were made to the Radio Essex jury rigged antenna, one using a heavy wooden boat mast & slung between a pair of scaffold poles

Roy Bates Roger Scott & Roy Bates

21. Roy Bates
22. Roger Scott & Roy Bates

Leaving Knock John

23. Leaving Knock John

Thanks to Bernard for sharing his memories, Dick Palmer, Dave Phillips, David Welch & Francois Lhote for their help in this feature

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