Castles, Fortresses & Associated Works => Sheppey => Topic started by: kyn on May 08, 2008, 12:20:49

Title: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on May 08, 2008, 12:20:49
Cutting from a newspaper dated 6 march 1953

Four of the civilian personnel of the great Nore Fort, one a Minster man, lost their lives Sunday afternoon, when the fort was hit during thick fog by the 2,160-ton Norwegian motor-vessel Baalbek.
Two of the forts seven towers on stilts were knocked over by the ship.  One collapsed and sank, the other fell and came to rest at a 30 degrees angle on the ships deck, at low water when the ship was aground.
Ten maintenance men were on duty at the time.  The four dead are: Mr. James Hanley of 44 Harps Avenue, Minster; Kenneth Rawlinson of no. 53 Trafalgar Street, Gillingham; Mr. Stephen William Willis of Sea Street, Herne Bay; and Henry Louis Chafford of Harbour Street, Whitstable.
The six survivors, three living in Sheppey, are: Mr. Norman Lamb, of Park Road, Sheerness; Mr. Michael Kavanagh and Mr. Wiliam Luckhurst both of Barton's Hill Drive, Minster; Mr. Reginald Cornfieldread of Oxford Road, Canterbury; Mr, William Osborne of Hernhill near Faversham and Mr. David Taylor of Sea Street, Herne Bay.
They were rescued by lifeboats from Southend and Ramsgate, or by service launches.
The vessel owned by Borg and Granger Rolf of Oslo, was on her way from London to Valencia when she ran into the fort.  The scene of the collision was within a mile from where the submarine Truculent sank in january 1950.
An electric generating plant was contained in the sunken tower, and thus all lights were extinguished,.
The men in the fort were unable to raise the alarm, as the collision cut their telephone line to the mainland. First warning sent ashore was from Ballbek herself.  Her radio message was sent just after 4.30m, said:  "In collision with the Nore Towers Thames Estuary and foul of the same.  Towers collapsed".  Army authorities responsible for the fort were notified.
A lifeboat from the Baalbek searched for the missing men.
The call for assistance by the Baalbek was answered by three tugs.
"some text missing" saw the motor vessel heading straight for the fort.
By this time she was crunching her way through the Bofors tower "there were four of us in our tower and we rushed to the catwalk.  The ship seemed to slow up a little in the tide, struck another tower and this collapsed across its bows".
The Great Nore Fort, about five miles out to sea from Sheerness, was built during the war to guard the estuary agaist German mine laying planes, and later it's guns helped to reduce the approaches of a number of flying bombs.

Forgot I had posted this on another forum, will have to do a write up for the website soon!
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on November 28, 2008, 16:03:44
The Nore Forts (U5) were the first of three sea forts built for the Army primarily to give warning of enemy attack by using new radar equipment, a No. 3 Mk 2 subsequently updated and modernised to Radar No. 3 Mk 7, and also to break up enemy air formations, prevent mine laying within the route to London and generally protect the coast and London from an attack.  The Forts were designed by Mr G. A. Maunsell and built by Halloway Brothers from Gravesend, the seven 300 tonne towers at the Nore Sands, situated 2.5 nautical miles from Sheerness, were pre-constructed and towed on a barge by three tugs before being sunk in place between 20th May and 3rd July 1943
.  The forts consisted of five gun towers, holding a 3.7" MK 2c with automatic loaders by Mollins of Deptfordeach, surrounding a central command tower, that was also armed, and a tower set behind for Sperry Predictors No. 11 searchlight and a No. 2 Mk 2 searchlight.  The towers were connected by walkways, they were self-contained with fuel and food stores and accommodation areas to house the 120 men who were manning them.  The crew on board would be there fr four weeks before being taken ashore and staying at the drill hall and HMS Pembroke in Gillingham for ten days, the unit was named the First A.A. Fort Regiment R.A. Thames.  Stores were shipped out to the forts by the R.A.S.C. Water Transport Company from Sheerness using small-armed trawlers.

The Royal artillery left the forts in September 1945, four months after hostilities ceased and the Anti-Aircraft Fort Maintenance Detachment took over, these remained on site until 1956.  In 1948 the Ministry of Defence visite
d the fort, they were looking into a new design of a heavy anti-aircraft fort comprising of nine towers, this proved too expensive and the design was scrapped in 1953.  On 1st March the same year the Baalbeck, a Swedish pulp carrier, collided with the Bofors 64 Gun Tower, knocking it over, four civilians were killed and six caretakers were taken ashore for treatment.

Another accident occurred in 1954 when the Mairoula collided with the fort, this prompted the War Office to order the removal of the forts as they stood so close to the shipping lanes.  A floating crane barge removed the searchlights and radar in 1956 and taken to Chatham Dockyard, the foghorn and remaining lighting were removed the following year.  The fort were finally dismantled between 1959 and 1960, some of the top house was bought as scrap by Matthew Lynch and Son Ltd on the River Medway, the reinforced concrete legs were removed with the bases being towed ashore and left at Alpha Wharf near Cliffe Fort where they can be seen at low tide.  The rest of the debris was left spread around the Nore Sands.

Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: Paul on November 28, 2008, 18:18:03
This is where Nore fort is now ???

And here`s some pics of the remains.
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on January 21, 2010, 10:18:52
Another accident occurred in 1954 when the Mairoula collided with the fort, this prompted the War Office to order the removal of the forts as they stood so close to the shipping lanes. 

A couple of pictures showing the damage to the searchlight tower after Mairoula-M crashed into it.
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on January 21, 2010, 18:03:33
Some photo's showing the damage being repaired

Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on January 28, 2010, 21:02:08
The repairs.
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on February 03, 2010, 09:38:52
Last few pictures, saved till last as you can see the towers themselves instead of sections of them  :)
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: afsrochester on February 03, 2010, 15:04:35
Didn't Shivering Sands Fort lose one of its towers in a similar incident? That would have been in the early 60's.
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on March 10, 2010, 12:44:56
It did. 1968 I think.
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on December 10, 2010, 11:28:51
Henri Louis Chaffard is listed as being buried at Halfway Cemetery, Sheppey on 27th July 1954 aged 63.
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: stewyrey on December 12, 2010, 01:06:39
Not sure this film is of Nore fort, but a Maunsall fort all the same, (

Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: stewyrey on December 12, 2010, 01:13:56
The forts were constructed at the Red Lion wharf (site of the now
demolished Northfleet power station) on the Thames.

Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: chefpogo on September 19, 2012, 10:14:44
Attached are some clippings from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten about the collision between the Norwegian vessel Baalbek and the Nore-forts in early March 1953 & a picture of the Baalbek with remnants of the gang walk between the towers it hit. If anyone is interested I can translate the text. It does mention that "a large cannon [from the fort] is squeezed into one of the cargo hulls [of the boat]".

On another, related note. Many sources claim that the Maunsell sea forts were credited with downing 22 enemy aircraft and 30 V-1 rockets...and possibly 1 E-boat. Has anyone here tried locating first hand sources on these claims? Reports to higher command or eye witness stories? Searching through the National Archives database I find many folders that appear interesting, but I'm currently unable to visit Kew to see if there might be first hand reports etc in these folders.

I'm writing a story for a magazine about these towers and would love to have some first hand description of action against enemies...anyone?

Best regards,
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: kyn on October 11, 2017, 18:52:41
Images restored
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: Twyfordbridge on July 06, 2018, 18:02:42
Location of Nore Army Fort.

Can you help please? I am trying to to find the exact location of the Nore Fort prior to its removal. The only mention I can find was mentioned in the website Thames Tugs UK which gave its sited position as 512545N - 05000E.
That position (unless I have made a mistake) seems to be the foreshore just off Minster, Sheppey at the Kent side of the Defence Boom, Royal Oak Point. Written descriptions say it was halfway between the Kent and Essex coastline, slightly closer to the Essex side.

Thanks, Richard
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: redge on July 06, 2018, 18:30:45
Seven such towers were placed at the mouth of River Thames in a position approximately mid-way between number one and two Sea reach bouys. (Now cleared)
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on July 06, 2018, 18:45:50
The link below has a chart showing its location, scroll down a bit. (
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: conan on July 06, 2018, 23:20:10
There's a rough map of the forts position plus some interesting photos on this link
Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: conan on July 06, 2018, 23:25:22
Just been going through the rest of the link and on page 2, about halfway down, is a copy of the admiralty chart showing its precise position  :)

Title: Re: Nore Fort
Post by: conan on July 06, 2018, 23:37:00
Oh well just spotted HERB COLLECTORS link,I guess I was late on parade again  :)