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Maunsell Army Forts – The Decaying World War II Towers in the Thames Estuary

August 30, 2013

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The Maunsell Army Forts (Red Sands and Shivering Sands) are located about 10 miles offshore in the Thames Estuary, England, United Kingdom.

The Maunsell Army Forts were designed and named after Guy Maunsell. The towers were built on land and floated out to sea in 1943. These small fortified towers were used as anti-aircraft defense in the Second World War for the United Kingdom. The army forts carried 4 QF 3.75 inch guns and 2 Bofors 40 mm guns. During the World War the forts shot down 22 aircraft and 30 or more flying bombs.

The tower forts were decommissioned in the late 1950′s and abandoned in 1958. One of the Shivering Sands towers was hit in 1963 by the boat Ribersborg which caused it to fall into the ocean, without harming anything.

Nore Army Fort was part of the original standing towers. It was badly damaged in 1953 when the ship Baalbek had collided with it. The wreck severely damaged the Nore Fort, killing 4 civilians, and destroying guns, supplies, and radar equipment. The ruins were considered hazardous for other ships and vessels and dismantled in 1960. These pieces were taken ashore and remain near the village of Cliffe in Kent, England.

In 1964, Screaming Lord Sutch, of the Monster Raving Looney Party, set up a pirate radio station called Radio Sutch in one of the old towers. He quickly got bored with the project and gave it to Reginald Calvert, who expanded the pirate radio to all five towers and called it Radio City.

Project Redsands is planning to conserve the fort at Redsand and not let it continue to fall into decay.

Where are the abandoned and rusted Maunsell Army Forts located? You can find them with these coordinates. 51.499767,1.079353. Though Bing and Google Maps seem to not show satellite photos that far off shore.

All images (except for the black and white photograph which is under public domain) used under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic. Images by Wayne Barry / Flickr.

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