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Radio Sutch & City - Part 15

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Cliff takes a break

Cliff watches the shipping from the deck

"On a clear day we'd watch the 'Sludge Boats' steaming down the appropriately named Black Deep' towards the Tower, gradually raising in the water as their holds were freed of their foul cargo. Returning later with more of the London's human waste, with precious other traffic to watch they were a welcome sight"

The Sludge Boats aptly christened 'Bovril boats' operated from the Thames up until 1998 from works on the Thames at Beckton & Barking. Fisherman are convinced their cargos provided food for a rich number of fish readily harvested by boats out of Essex and North Kent, the grounds were much less productive after the dumping of 'Sludge' ceased - Ed

Radio mast

Radio mast on Knock John

Cliff climbs the Top House Cliff makes a salute

Cliff climbs the Top House
Cliff Makes a salute

Deck walkway Big Gun

Jerry takes a stroll round the deck
Southern 3.7 " Heavy A-A Gun

Jerry recalls his second spell on the Fort with Dick Dixon ...

"We saw a boat approaching from Essex and sealed off the access hatches from the leg ladders. Two of us manhandling heavy timber bulks over the hatch plates. The effort was wasted as the boat tied up at the Dolphin and Roy Bates scaled the somewhat precarious structure with ease"

Big Gun Promotion

Heavy Self Promotion

Jerry calls up Shiving Sands

Jerry calls up Shivering Sands not knowing that he & Cliff would soon be deported from Knock John

" Once onboard Roy pulled the timber away from the hatches so his cronies could come up. We were informed in no uncertain terms, we were leaving, to collect our personal belongings, board his boat to be unceremoniously taken to Shivering Sands. The sight of a big man clambering fearlessly up the collapsed Dolphin and Derrick was enough to convince us he wasn't to be trifled with. All in all a rather efficient exercise on his part"

Jerry leaves the Fort!

Jerry makes an undignified exit from Knock John

"Leaving wasn't exactly uneventful either, a heavy swell had picked up and struggling to gain purchase on Roy's fishing boat I inadvertently grabbed its exhaust pipe, perhaps just one reason why the Knock John adventure is 'burnt' into my memory"

Battle of Knock John

News of the World Report (July 1965)

Jerry Pitcher oil painting

An oil painting Jerry completed on Knock John

Jerry with the canvas

Jerry says the canvas was made in various shades of blue and was sold to a local Hairdressing Salon

Jerry Pitcher's oil painting in blue

Given the appropriate hairdressers 'Blue Rinse'

Daily Mail 30th September 1965

Daily Mail (30th September 1965)

Knock John in 2007

Knock John in 2007


Meanwhile on another occasion back in Whitstable

June at Whitstable Harbour

Jerry's girlfriend June on the Harbour East Quay with Eric K Martin and Don Witts in the background seeing the tender off

This is East Quay: Whitstable Urban District Council agreed a sub-lease tenancy from 'Leggett's Land' to Daniels for construction and use of Transit Sheds and new cold store 1965-1975

Jerry, Dick & Don

Jerry Pitcher, Dick Dixon with Don Witts in his signature duffle coat & overnight bag onboard the 'Harvester II' with supplies bound for Shivering Sands

Tender Run

Tony Pine, Chris Cross, Alexander Dee and Martin Green on 'Harveter II'

Newspaper report on Fort Piracy

One of the many newspaper reports of the day (September 1965)

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