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The Radio Forts of the Thames Estuary

A sailing from Queenborough, Sheerness on the Isle-of-Sheppey on 22nd April 2018

A copy free feature of one of many 'Grand Forts Tours' undertaken by the X-Pilot from her home port

Issue: 2 Dated: 9th January 2021

Cast Off

X-Pilot owner Martin takes a snap

All Tide Landing

Leaving Queenborough All Tide Landing

Motor Boat 'Who Knows'

Motor Boat 'Who Knows' making for the landing

Jet Skiers

Jet Skiers at Queenborough Leisure Launch Ramp

Sheerness Port

Car Transport RoRo ship 'Malacca Highway', Container ship 'Star Service 1

and a SCA lines vessel at Sheerness Port

Crew Bus

Port Crew Bus leaves 'Malacca Highway'

Sheerness Port

Switzer Tugs and Medway VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) at Garrison Point

Sheerness Docks

Sheerness Dock entrance

Dock Buildings

Abandoned Dock Buildings

Switzer Intrepid

Switzer Tug 'Intrepid'

Old Ferry Line Passanger Bridge

Old Olau Ferry Line Foot Passenger Bridge and Car Ramp

Ferry Bridge and Ramp

Olau Passenger Ferry Foot Bridge with Garrison Fort

Ferry Queenborough Ferry Poster

'Flashback' The Ferry Service Poster (1930's)

Ferry Queenborough Ferry Olea West

'Flashback' Olau West ran from 1975-1977

Ran from Queenborough (Sheernes) to Flushing (Vlissingen) 1875 - 1939 then to the Hook-of-Holland 1945 - 1994

More on the Queenborough - Holland Ferry Service

SS Montgomery Buoy

SS 'Richard Montgomery' Wreck Buoy

SS Richard Montgomery Masts

SS 'Richard Montgomery' Masts with bridge hatch

Sheerness Esplanade

SS 'Richard Montgomery' Masts with Sheerness Esplanade

Clearly shows the proximity of the wreck to the shore

SS Montgomery Masts

SS 'Richard Montgomery' Masts looking back towards Sheeness Docks

Note the WWII buidings centre, a closer view later in this article

For Photographs and the history of SS 'Richard Montgomery'

Switzer Ganges

Switzer Tug 'Ganges' motors out of Sheerness


Inbound 'Finnbreeze'


'Finnbreeze' close by


'Finnbreeze' passes Sea Reach Buoy 1

Nord Hummock

Norient Line Oil Tanker 'Nord Hummock' moored with Southend beyond

Skipper Alan

Skipper Alan edges the X-Pilot closer to the Naval Tower

Knock John

Knock John Fort

The Fort is still dry below deck, see how the concrete has fallen away exposing the steel reinforcement

Birds Leave the Fort

Seagull leaves the Fort

Photograph shows the open end of the Fort

Echoes of an earlier time

Echoes and shadow of an earlier time, post WWII activities of Radio Essex

Underside of Wing

Underside of Bridge Wing

Reinforced Concrete Lag Reinforced Concrete Leg

Degraded reinforced concrete leg

Close-up detail of exposed reinforcement


Underside of Knock John

Air Duct

Air Duct outlet remains

The Naval Forts had a huge Boxer type fan to circulate air around the Fort


Underside of Knock John showing heavily rusted deck

Crewman Bob

Crewman Bob Vine

Bob is on the preservation team of the historic Tug 'Kent' that's moored in Chatham Pleasure Dock

Tug Kent

The Tug 'Kent'

No stranger to Offshore Radio she provisioned Tower Radio on the Sunk Head Fort

Shivering Sands

Shivering Sands Army Forts through X-Pilots spotlight

Shivering Sands Army Forts

Shivering Sands looking South West towards Whitstable

Shivering Sands

Shivering Sands looking South West towards Hampton, Herne Bay

Shivering Sands

Gun Tower 2 leg stumps, Bofors Tower with 'Malacca Highway'

Shell Damage

Gun Tower #3

Gun Tower 3

Gun Tower #3

Notice the shell damage around the door

Shell Holes

Gun Tower #3

Shell damage above walkway

Shell damage

Gun Tower #3

Close view of shell damage above walkway, never noticed before perhaps the Navy in the end used the old Radio Sutch Fort for target practice!

Gun Tower 2 leg stumps

Gun Tower #2 leg stumps

Gun Tower #4

Gun Tower #4

Control Tower

Control Tower

Shivering Sands Buoy Searchlight Tower

Shivering Sands North Buoy

Searchlight Tower

Searchlight Tower Southern Gun Tower

Searchlight Tower

Southern Gun Tower #1

Note collapsed PLA (Port of London Authority) ladders

Bofors Gun Tower

Bofors Gun Tower

Note cable remains of Jungle Walk between Southern Gun Tower #1 and the Control Tower

4 Towers

Bofors Gun Tower, Gun Tower #4, glimpes of Gun Tower #2 Legs, Searchlight Tower, Gun Tower #3

Radio City Insulator

Southern Gun Tower #1

Control Tower


Control Tower with a closer view of a Radio City antenna insulator

Southern Gun Tower Searchlight Tower Centre

Southern Gun Tower #1

Searchlight Towe Centre

Note the Arrow and Radio City fading after 53 years!

Shivering Sands Overview

Shivering Sands Army Fort overview

City of Westminster

Dredger the 'City of Westminster' heading back to London

City of Westminster

Dredger the 'City of Westminster'

Reputedly the noisiest and dirtiest Dredger on the River Thames

Red Sands Army Forts

Red Sands Army Forts from the North West

Resand North Buoy

North Buoy Redsand Towers

The sounds of the distinctive'clanging' bell, Seagulls on the Fort and waves lapping around the Fort legs were used in Red Sands Radio branding


Red Sands Radio branding example of 1 of 60 tracks produced


Container Ship 'Marja' and an Oil Tanker

Between the legs Gun Tower #2

Southern Gun Tower Landing Stage

Gun Tower #2 with distant Shivering Sands

The replacement Platform Landing Stage was built in sections at Whitstable Harbour

Red Sands Army Forts

Red Sands Army Forts from the South East

Star Service 1

Switzer Tug 'Ganges' sailing alongside 'Star Service 1' will take off Pilot once outside the Medway sea lane

Star Service 1

'Star Service 1' passing

WWII Buildings

WWII observation Towers at Sheerness

A good number of HHAA Gun Emplacements are located on the banks of the Medway and Thames

Medway VTS

Medway VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) above Garrison Fort, Sheerness

Today the Medway operations centre in Liverpool!

Garrison Fort

Garrison Fort, Sheerness

Garrison Fort

Garrison Fort, Sheerness

With no Vessel Services or Ferries what's the future for the historic Garrison Fort?

For our other features return to the ScrapBook Index

X-Pilot Logo

Like to join us on a cruise or perhaps board the Red Sands Army Forts with our working parties, details here of X-Pilot Sailings

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