News: In June 1557 Edmund Allin, his wife and five others were burnt at the stake, where Drakes pub now stands in Fairmeadow, Maidstone, for refusing to accept Catholicism.
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Topic Summary

Posted by: peterchall
« on: April 21, 2014, 21:17:07 »

Im intrigued by the reference to the AAOR.

As Ive posted several times on the forum, it was at the TA Drill Hall on Watling Street when I worked for the Royal Engineers in 1944, when it was known to us as the Gun Operations Room (GOR), although that might not have been its official title perhaps it was loosely used when the foreman told us there was a job at the GOR. However the photos are reminiscent of the plotting room there.

I only remember going to Fort Bridgewoods once, and it was then disused and I think we went to recover equipment.

Rochester City Archives record an army lorry being burnt out in there in 1940, and I remember being told by my father that its ATS driver lost her legs.

Is there any record of when the AAOR/GOR moved?

Is there any idea what the Sub-Regional Control Centre was?
Posted by: kyn
« on: April 21, 2014, 19:37:47 »

One of the old signs
Posted by: merc
« on: March 27, 2014, 12:34:54 »

Photo's of the AAOR (Anti Aircraft Operations Room) in the fort, later used as a Sub Regional Control centre:

http://collection.subbrit.org.uk/sbc/main.php?g2_itemId=1570
Posted by: cliveh
« on: March 26, 2014, 18:32:13 »

The link is broken at the moment!! :(
Posted by: kyn
« on: March 26, 2014, 17:21:05 »

Thank you JohnG!
Posted by: JohnG
« on: March 26, 2014, 17:04:53 »

KCC have put their collection of 1946 aerial photographs of Kent and O.S. maps on the web:

http://www.kent.gov.uk/KCC.EploreKent.Web.Sites.Public/Default.aspx


Posted by: kyn
« on: March 26, 2014, 16:52:01 »

Cliveh, what is the source of these images?  :)
Posted by: merc
« on: March 26, 2014, 13:58:13 »

Thanks for adding the image Cliveh :)
Posted by: cliveh
« on: March 26, 2014, 10:57:43 »

Aerial view of the fort from 1946;

cliveh
Posted by: merc
« on: September 03, 2013, 12:06:48 »

Snippets from Google Books (Sorry for lack of more details, as these are only available in snippet form, and it's not always easy searching for the surrounding text).

The History of the Second, Queen's Royal Regiment, Now the Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, Volume 7, Part 1

"In November 1914, the Battalion moved to Rochester, where it was split up - Headquarters and "A" Company at Fort Clarence, and a company in each of the forts-Horsted, Borstal, Bridgewood."

"In May, 1915, the Battalion moved to camp in the vicinity of Fort Bridgewood Battalion headquarters being in Fort Bridgewood and remained under canvas until the autumn when it moved back into the forts. Whilst at Bridgewood the first zeppelin bombing raid over Chatham took place - the zeppelin appeared to be hit by a shell and was driven off with its nose in the air."
Posted by: kyn
« on: September 02, 2013, 00:27:15 »

 :)
Posted by: jc101
« on: September 01, 2013, 11:25:15 »

ooh, ooh, lets dig....!
A couple of my colleagues at TDH Gravesend have visited Fort Bridgewoods, they have been telling me the stories of their visit...
Posted by: kyn
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:42:39 »

 :)  Our little digging team are tied up with other projects at the moment!  If we can get some more volunteers I will arrange it :)
Posted by: man-of-kent
« on: June 04, 2013, 07:51:24 »

I have heard there are some foundations/lower sections under the concrete floor but have no idea what is left now.
You're a very resourceful person Kyn. I'm surprised you haven't flashed your eyelashes at the head of the post office and got permission to dig up the floor.   :)
Posted by: kyn
« on: June 04, 2013, 07:39:24 »

Thank you so much for adding these.  After a flick through some other old images (I think these can be found online) I realised that I did know these existed as there is an exterior shot.  The frame work is interesting though.  Fort Borstal has two tier counterscarp galleries but there is no second floor or fixtures in the walls so we assumed there must have been framework in these, I wonder if they were similar to the framework here?  Although it would have to be freestanding.
Posted by: steve mullane
« on: June 03, 2013, 22:02:49 »

the photos have been scanned but hopefully look ok
Posted by: kyn
« on: June 03, 2013, 09:36:23 »

Sounds a lot like counterscarp galleries, I hadn't realised this fort had them.  It would be really nice to see your photos :)
Posted by: steve mullane
« on: June 01, 2013, 22:47:17 »

If I recall correctly, the post office was built in the early 90's. I'm pretty sure the photos I took of the tunnels at Bridgewood were taken in 1990, at that time all that was left were 2 tunnels which I believe were to the counterscarp galleries, the tunnels went down lots of steps. I assume to go under the ditch and then up some steps which led into the rooms which still had musket loops in the wall and frame work for a platform for another set of loops above. I have photos of the steps leading down and some of the room showing both sets of musket loops.
Posted by: Walderslade_W
« on: May 16, 2013, 09:18:13 »

As mentioned in one of the first posts, the Fort was demolished and the Post Office Depot now sits on the site, which was built in the late 80's. I know of school mates, who explored a lot of it back in the mid eighties. There was a lot of underground network tunnels to it, but I don't know if these still exist or what state they are in.
Posted by: peterchall
« on: April 06, 2013, 22:59:42 »

The present Royal Mail depot is on the exact site and there is no sign of the fort on the surface on GE or Bing Maps.
Posted by: kyn
« on: April 06, 2013, 22:54:27 »

I have heard there are some foundations/lower sections under the concrete floor but have no idea what is left now.
Posted by: Steve H
« on: April 06, 2013, 22:39:54 »

I would like to know as well. :)
Posted by: Leofwine
« on: February 28, 2013, 09:03:54 »

Is there anything left of the fort or has it been completely removed now?
Posted by: david
« on: September 26, 2012, 09:50:39 »

Thanks for explaining that STEVEG4HJE. There are many Fort Record Books held within the National Archive in which the commanding officer of a Fort, tasked with producing a history of the establishment which now fell under his command, compiled a history with many inaccuracies of fact. I would respectfully suggest that this may be one such example.

Quote
refers to the Fort as being locally referred to as a Gladstone Folly at the time of its construction

Bridgewoods was commenced in 1879. At this time Gladstone was not with the Treasury or the Office of Works so his connection to the Chatham forts is rather tenuous. He became Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Works in 1885.
Posted by: STEVEG4HJE
« on: September 19, 2012, 13:20:02 »

I note the comments made by David in his post 28 August and acknowledge his learned opinion.

There are a couple of things I wish to make clear, however. Firstly the document of mine that has been discovered from an internet search should not be available to public view. It was placed within a private web site belonging to the Medway Amateur Receiving and Transmitting Society, of which I am a member. When this site was removed from use the ISP removed all of the protective features which has allowed it to be seen in the public domain. This was a very early draft of what is now a far larger and more detailed research project into wireless interception work at Fort Bridgewoods, which is my primary interest in the site. Secondly, the waffles on referred to by David and which receives short shrift from him, has as it's primary source document a recently declassified war office document which was written for GCHQ in 1948 as an un-official history of the War Office Y Group by Lt Cdr Ellingworth DSM OBE RN Rtd, who commanded at Bridgewoods from 1935 until 1941. He identifies in his document Palmerson, The Royal Commission and Gladstone, and indeed refers to the Fort as being locally referred to as a Gladstone Folly at the time of its construction. One would suspect that this refers to the political fiscal policy which applied at the time rather than to the nature of the building which is more traditionally referred to as a folly.

Clearly there are differing authorities in any serious research, but one would suspect that Ellingworth perhaps had access to War Office documents and records at the time of his writing, having been in actual command of the site and indeed closely linked to RSME Brompton who had locus for the fabric of the site a long number of years.

My primary interest is in the wireless work that the site became a vehicle for. The short opening page of the draft document just sets the scene of where it took place.

I am very pleased to say that the forum has now allowed me contact with the family of Lionel Atwell Beal, the first commanding officer of intercept work from 1926 to 1934, and for that I am most grateful.
Steve G4HJE
Posted by: cliveh
« on: September 18, 2012, 16:10:41 »


Does anyone else here know how to trace why an MBE recipient received the award, or maybe even know why Lionel Attwell Beale got his in particular please?

Try the 'London Gazette' search:

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/search

You'll need some idea of the date it was awarded. Not sure if it gives individual detailed citations or just 'for services to ...'


cliveh

Here he is in the 'Edinburgh Gazette' Jan 6 1933:


cliveh
Posted by: cliveh
« on: September 18, 2012, 15:42:57 »


Does anyone else here know how to trace why an MBE recipient received the award, or maybe even know why Lionel Attwell Beale got his in particular please?

Try the 'London Gazette' search:

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/search

You'll need some idea of the date it was awarded. Not sure if it gives individual detailed citations or just 'for services to ...'


cliveh
Posted by: Heather Beale
« on: September 18, 2012, 10:24:58 »

I will see what the photos etc. scan like, but I have yet to work out how to upload pdf's on this forum, so give me a few days and I will see what I can do.

I came across this website by accident since I am trying to find out what my Grandfather got his MBE for. The citation does not say and strangely no one in the family seemed to know but I am certain it was for work he was doing at Fort Bridgewood.

Does anyone else here know how to trace why an MBE recipient received the award, or maybe even know why Lionel Attwell Beale got his in particular please?
Posted by: kyn
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:32:04 »

Hi Heather Beale, I for one would love to see the documents you have.  Thank you so much for your kind offer of sharing them!
Posted by: Heather Beale
« on: September 17, 2012, 17:19:49 »

Geoff B a very interesting series of posts about Knockholt. The Post Officer engineer who built the Collusus was Tommy Flowers and he did so with much of his own money. There was a documentary on the subject on TV recently which covered his part in the development and building of the machine, included a rare interview with Tommy just prior to his death.

I have been researching Fort Bridgewoods and the WOYG intercept station for a number of years now and have recently established the identity of the first officer commanding, a Lieutenant Lionel Atwell Beal MBE who died suddenly in 1934 and is buried in Fort Pitt Military cemetery on City Way Rochester.  His home family home was on Chatham Maidstone Road opposite Fort Horsted.  His wife was the daughter of a Royal Navy Captain and they lived just off Watts Avenue in Rochester.  Beal was a Regular Army Reserve Officer with the Royal Signals and his occupation is described as Radio Engineer.  Indeed upon his taking over as OC at Fort Bridgewoods in 1926 he provided the first interception receiver which he had built himself and it was housed in a tea chest! Beal's father was a well respected consultant surgeon at one of the London hospitals and was still alive in the 1950's.

I am seeking further information about Lionel Atwell Beal MBE so if anyone can help I would be most obliged.
Hello,
I am Heather Beale, Lionel Attwell Beale's grand daughter. Last weekend my father, Lionel John Beale, brought me all his records of his father's work at Bridgewoods, including photographs of the first duplex radio responder (forgive me if I have described that wrong).

If I can help you with information using the documents my father has given me, I am happy to do so. I could ask Dad if he has other knowledge of Lionel Attwell Beale's work, but he was very young when his father died at 39.

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