ScrapBook Item                            scrapbook index

The Thames Estuary

From the Air

Page 2 of 2

Towers of the Thames a flight to the offshore Forts by John Lloyd

Flight path chart

Glance at this chart of the Thames Estuary you'll see four 'towers' marked - Red Sand, Shivering Sand, Knock John & Tongue Sand Towers. What do they look like? I planned to find out with a flight around them in my Blade 912

N.B Nore Fort remains lie just off Minster on Isle-of-Sheppey, Sunk Head leg stump remains are off Walton-on-the-Naze, Harwich, & Roughs Tower - The Principality of Sealand is off Felixtowe - Ed

Over Sheppey towards Medway & Thames

View across the Isle-of-Sheppey towards Queenborough & Sheerness Docks, the River Medway & Grain Power station & River Thames beyond

I set off on a perfect summer's afternoon from my base airfield at Willingale, near Chelmsford in Essex. Donning my immersion suit & lifejacket for a 43 mile flight over the sea, even in mid-summer, the water would be cold & uninviting mix of swirling muddy brown sediment & dark green algal bloom. Nearing the coast, I called Southend Approach to confirm the ranges in D138 danger areas were closed. Coasting out nervously towards my first objective - the Knock John Tower

Knock John Fort

Picture of Knock John Naval Fort taken by RAF Manston in 1992

My next objective was Tongue Sand Tower, 10 miles further east. But as I approached, I couldn't see a Fort even though my GPS confirmed I was on course. Where had it gone? As reported in Fort Fax Tongue Sand toppled in 1996 leaving just a portion of one leg visible

Tongue leg stump

The Western leg stump all that remains of Tongue Tower

Banking round I flew parallel with the distant North Kent coast towards Shivering Sand Tower. As I got nearer, I could see that it was a quite different structure to the Naval Fort

Shivering Sands

The Army Forts at Shivering Sands taken from a passenger ferry, the Searchlight Tower with Port of London Authority antenna centre

Four miles further into my now return leg home; Red Sands Tower the other Army Fort with all of its platforms intact

Red Sands Fort

Red Sands Fort; the Southern Gun Tower #1 bottom left

Red Sands Fort 1992

Red Sands Fort in June in 1992 taken by RAF Manston; Southern Gun Tower #1 now top centre

Grateful thanks to John Lloyd for his flight detail & superb photographs


14/12/07 - I enjoyed the Ross Revenge photo feature. Great shots from the air!

Look forward to to the remaining parts of the Laser & the Tower story in 2008 Dave R


For a brief history of all the Thames Estuary Forts see Fort Fax

For all of the features on Shivering Sands & its Radio Stations navigate from Radio Sutch & City Part 1

For all the features on Knock John & its Radio Stations navigate from Radio Essex

For all the features on Red Sands & its Radio Stations navigate from Red Sands Rendezvous

We have a range of documentary CD's, VCD's, books on the full history of Forts & the Radio Stations available from the Offshore Shop

We offer trips & excursions on our Thames Barge, RiB's & our tender the X-Pilot for more information & booking see Boat Trips

[HOME] (c)Bob Le-Roi 2007