Military => Camps & Barracks => Topic started by: kyn on August 10, 2008, 11:54:00

Title: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on August 10, 2008, 11:54:00
20 Apl. , 1777 , Navy Board letter. The Hill House field having been approved as a proper place to build Marine Barracks, we have purchased the remaining lease.

02 Sept , 1779 , First occupation of their new Barracks by Royal Marines, Chatham Division.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: merc on May 22, 2009, 21:32:50
Hill House was on the corner of Red Cat Lane and Dock Lane/Road with Hill house field where some of the Royal Marine Parade ground and part of the Barracks were.
 
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on December 24, 2009, 12:31:20
A bit of scrap paper reveals this information, no idea of its origin.

In 1862 it had become apparent that the present accommodation for the Marines was insufficient for the increased number of officers and men stationed here, meaning 400 men have had to be placed in the Lines Barracks at the garrison.  With this in mind and also the inevitable return of the Royal Marines in Mexico it has been decided to enlarge the barracks according to plans submitted to parliament 4 years previously.  The land to be used has already been purchased and a hotel, tavern and around 20 private houses have been demolished to make way for the extension.  The site now stretches to the boundary wall of St Mary's Church.  Initial proposals also included the use of a portion of the neighbouring dockyard however this did not happen.  To allow communication with the other buildings on the opposite side of the road an arch or underground passage was proposed, it is unclear if either was constructed.  With the new barracks it will be possible to house 1,500 men, 700 more than presently capable.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on December 27, 2009, 13:37:55
The tunnel/bridge referred to was to be under or over the lane that led down to the New Stairs landing place, and was to allow communication between the main barracks and the new single officers quarters that once stood where the new build Commisioner's Hayfield now stands.

In a document titled "Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" is to be found an Act dated 10th August 1857 which was:
"An Act for enabling the Commissioners' of the Admiralty to purchase certain lands in the Parish of Chatham in the county of Kent, and to stop up, divert, or alter certain ways in the said parish; and for other purposes relating thereto."

This Act was commonly referred to as "The Chatham Lands Purchase Act 1857."

A schedule attached to the Act lists every property to be purchased; who owned it, who was the lessee of it, and who actually lived in it. The Act and the Schedule can be found in Google Books under a search of 'The Chatham Lands Purchase Act 1857'. The same search also brings up a separate act enabling the Admiralty to purchase the lands for the St Mary's Island dockyard extension.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on December 27, 2009, 13:50:05
From the Building News and Architectural Review. Vol 19 - July 11 1862.

"Barracks at Chatham - On Monday, Mssrs Ford and Sons, the contractors, commenced the erection of additional barracks at Chatham for the officers and men of the Royal Marines of that division. The new barrack buildings are to be erected on the vacant piece of ground on which Navy and Army Hotel and numerous other houses formerly stood, all of which were purchased by the Admiralty and taken down. It is intended to erect twenty-one large and commodious barrack rooms, each of 46 feet in length, and the whole capable of accommodating 600 men in addition to the number at present quartered at the barracks. There will also be quarters for the staff, and quartermasters, and other stores are to be erected. The new buildings, to be erected from the plans prepared by Col. Greene, Director of Admiralty Works, will be about 18 months in progress".

I think the 'quarters' alluded to for the Staff and Quartermasters might have been the Officers Quarters that were built on the Commissioners' Garden. Also, regarding the contractors named as 'Ford and Sons, I recall an old Rochester based building company of this name as recently as the 1970's.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on February 18, 2010, 15:46:58
 :)

Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on February 22, 2010, 17:43:52
 :)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on July 16, 2010, 18:09:34
Just found some lovely old images of the barracks in the Couchman collection:

Postcard photograph entitled Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham comprising view of Anchor Wharf and HM Gun Wharf looking north-east from Sun Pier, Chatham, showing in foreground bawley boats, in middle-ground Medway Rowing Club raft (left), HM Customs raft (right) and bawley boats, in middle distance right to left, HM Gun Wharf, St. Mary?s Church, Royal Marines Barracks, Anchor Wharf, long store, rigging and store house and steam tugs. c.1898  Tinted and monochrome versions.
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_14.html/DE402_14_11L.jpg)
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_14.html/DE402_14_11U.jpg)

Tinted postcard photograph entitled St. Mary?s Church and River Medway, Chatham comprising view of Anchor Wharf and HM Gun Wharf looking north-east from Sun Pier, Chatham, showing in foreground bawley boat and sailing barge, in middle-ground left to right, Medway Rowing Club raft (left), HM Customs raft (right), bawley boat, rowing boats and steam tug moored alongside Gun Wharf, in middle-distance right to left, HM Gun Wharf, Chatham Infantry (later Kitchener Royal Engineers?) Barracks and St. Mary?s Church and in distance and Royal Marines Barracks, long store and rigging house and store house. Postmarked Chatham 10 July 1906
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_14.html/DE402_14_12L.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Chatham, Gun Wharf and Dockyard comprising view of Anchor Wharf and HM Gun Wharf looking north-east from Sun Pier, Chatham, showing in foreground rowing boats, in middle-ground left to right, Medway Rowing Club raft (left), HM Customs raft (right), bawley boats and mud flats, in middle distance right to left, HM Gun Wharf, St. Mary?s Church, Royal Marines Barracks, Anchor Wharf, long store and rigging and store house and in distance covered building slips and steam tugs. Published by Raphael Tuck and Sons, Chatham, Silverette Series. c.1900
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_14.html/DE402_14_12U.jpg)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on July 16, 2010, 18:56:20
Some more from Couchman:

Postcard photograph entitled Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI) Main Entrance to Barracks comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking west from embankment on opposite side of Dock Road, showing in foreground carriageway, part of guard room, cannon bollards, sentry, civilian bystander, gates, trees, wrought iron canopy and lantern, overhead railings and gate posts, in middle ground parade ground and fatigue party of marines in duck jackets being drilled and in distance other ranks? accommodation block. Couchman?s accompanying notes pertain to building of barracks 1780-1784. Gale and Polden's Wellington Series. c.1910
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_06L.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Main Gate and Barracks, Chatham comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking north from point near top of Church Hill, showing in left middle ground gateway and adjutant's office and in middle distance commandant's quarters and officers' quarters. Street scene shows carriageway, tram lines, trees, pavement, cyclist and tram car. Couchman's accompanying notes pertain to Hill House on same site 1569-1805 and vacation and demolition of barracks 1950 and 1959. Postmarked Rochester 25 May 1909
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_06U.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Entrance, Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking west from embankment opposite, showing in foreground cobbled entrance way, cannon bollards, sentry in No.1 Dress, boy bystander, gates, trees, wrought iron canopy and lantern, overhead railings and gate posts, in middle ground parade ground and fatigue party of marines in duck jackets, universal dress caps and blue trousers being drilled and in distance other ranks? accommodation block. Chatham Borough Council coat of arms superimposed. Published by Woolstone Brothers, London EC, Milton Glazette Series and printed in Germany. c.1910
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_07L.jpg)

Tinted postcard photograph entitled Chatham, Main Entrance, Royal Marine Barracks comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking south-west from position in carriageway slightly to north, showing in foreground part of guard room (left-hand side), part of adjutant's office (right-hand side), carriageway, cannon bollards, sentry in greatcoat, civilian bystander, gates, trees, wrought iron canopy and lantern, overhead railings and gate posts, in middle ground parade ground and in distance other ranks' accommodation block.  Published by Thornton Brothers, New Brompton. Postmarked Chatham-Rochester 6 September 1922
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_07U.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI), Men's Quarters comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking north-west across parade ground from point in parade ground, showing in foreground parade ground, in middle ground and distance other ranks' accommodation block, marines in duck jackets, blue trousers and fore-and-aft forage caps, other marines in No.1 Dress, benches, railings and trees and in right distance western end of officers' quarters. Gale and Polden's Wellington Series. c.1910
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_08L.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Marine Barracks, Chatham comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking north-north-west across parade ground from south-eastern corner of parade ground towards officers' quarters, showing in fore and middle grounds parade ground and tree, in left middle ground and distance other ranks' accommodation block sergeants' mess, non-commissioned officers? library, officers' library and trees and in right distance officers' quarters and shrubs. Excel Series. c.1920
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_08U.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Main Gate, Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking west from embankment on opposite side of Dock Road, showing in foreground carriageway and divisional band in No.1 Dress (Home Service Dress) executing left turn into Dock Road through main gate, in middle ground part of guard room, trees, gate pillars, wrought iron canopy and civilian spectators including schoolboy in trencher, in middle distance visible through left hand gate and main gate marching platoons of marines also in No.1 Dress (Home Service Dress) and in distance other ranks' accommodation block. On rear, message from James (Jim) [-] N. Munn, Torpedo Boat 35, Portland, Dorset, c/o General Post Office (GPO), London, to his cousin Emma [-] explaining his part in manoeuvres, burden of looking after 4 officers and complaining of being fed up with this kind of life, dated 31 July 1910.
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_09L.jpg)

Tinted postcard photograph entitled Chatham Royal Marine Barracks comprising view of Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking north-north-west from south-eastern corner of parade ground across parade ground towards Officers' Quarters, showing in foreground parade ground, in middle ground two platoons of marines in Home Service uniform, in left middle distance other ranks? accommodation block, sergeants' mess, non-commissioned officers' library, Officers' Library and trees, in right middle distance divisional band and in distance, Officers' Quarters and trees. Published by Photocrom Co. Ltd., London. c.1910
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_09U.jpg)

Postcard photograph entitled Officers? Quarters, Chatham comprising oval view of northern range of buildings at Royal Marines Barracks, Dock Road, Chatham, looking north along Dock Road from point on east side of road and slightly to south, towards Dockyard Main gate (not in view), showing in foreground carriageway, in left middle ground range of buildings comprising Commandant's Quarters and Officers' Quarters beyond and in distance wall near Dockyard Main Gate. Street scene shows tram lines, tram car heading towards camera, tram power line columns, cannon bollards, trees, street lamp, horse and cart and pedestrians. Valentine?s Series. Postmarked Chatham 3 August 1912.
(http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_10.jpg)


Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: busyglen on July 17, 2010, 11:52:27
Thanks for showing these photos.  My father joined the RM in Chatham around 1912 and was in the RMLI, so it is really interesting to see what the area was like back then. 
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: jaj on July 17, 2010, 23:36:19
Thanks for the photo's 'Leofwine'.  Particularly enjoyed the 2nd photo of the RMLI set; did anyone else notice the old boy on his pushbike holding the handrail of the tram as it proceeds up Dock Road? :-)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on October 11, 2010, 16:28:58
A plan of the lots on sale in 1958.
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/IMG_6164Medium.jpg)

This plan shows the tunnels marked
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/IMG_6166Medium.jpg)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Blongb on December 10, 2010, 17:09:09
Thank-you to all above, for your informative posts about the former Royal Marine Barracks, at Chatham. I found your site after my Father J F H Bowns, now aged 90, asked me to find out if the Barracks were still there. He joined the Royal Marines in 1937 and was posted directly to Chatham at the age of 17. ( CHX1916 (T) ) Normally Marines did their Basic Training at Deal, but because of the increasing numbers passing through the system in the build up to the coming war, three extra intakes were trained at Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth respectively. After his initial 18 weeks of Basic he was went off to Plymouth to complete his Gunnery and Infantry Training. On completion he was sent back to Chatham to await his posting to a ship. Luckily for him this was to the 8 inch Heavy Cruiser HMS Kent. He completed 2 commissions on her. The first was up to her being torpedoed in the Mediterranean in 1941 and the second was after her repairs were completed in Plymouth in 1942. My father served his full 22 years in the Royal Marines and reached the rank of R.S.M. To this day he still considers himself to be a Chatham Marine.    
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on December 10, 2010, 17:22:17
These photos may be of interest to your father Blongb, they were taken in the early 20th century (c.1900-10) and were (I believe) taken either in the Chatham Marine Barracks or the nearby Melville Barracks.

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4120/4753423198_7384bf140c_z.jpg)

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4140/4752680298_bdd0604dd3_b.jpg)

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4118/4754908695_d012865146_b.jpg)

Larger versions (and more RMLI pictures) here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N03/sets/72157624283300565/
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 20, 2011, 18:22:19
Kyn,
ref. your picture of the main gate of the Royal Marines barracks. My mother often told the story of a drum major who when marching through the gates  in front of the R.M.Band would toss his mace over the entrance arch.My father was a chatham marine 1923 to 1946 so if true would probably be from the 1930's/40's.
Myth or fact?
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on January 20, 2011, 21:55:13
Welcome to the forum ubique, thank you for sharing your memories  :)  I can imagine someone doing something like that, although the entrance arch does look rather high!
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 20, 2011, 22:25:18
Kyn,
ref. your picture of the main gate of the Royal Marines barracks. My mother often told the story of a drum major who when marching through the gates  in front of the R.M.Band would toss his mace over the entrance arch.My father was a chatham marine 1923 to 1946 so if true would probably be from the 1930's/40's.
Myth or fact?

I've heard that story too, but likewise have no idea if it's true, but is sounds likely as military bands do like their feats of one-upmanship, and with the RE band being based so close by, I bet there was rivalry for ways to show off!
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Mike S on January 20, 2011, 22:34:37
I remember my father telling me this story, a distantl relation (surname Bacon) was Mace bearer of RM Band and reputedly did this on a number of occassions.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 20, 2011, 23:21:37
My father and older locals in Brompton told me of the mace over the gateway.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: patmore on January 21, 2011, 05:43:10
Very interesting articles on the RM barracks,thanks to all who have contributed. My grandfather joined the Royal Marines Light Infantry in 1886, did his basic training at Deal and in 1888 his gunnery training at Gibraltar on board HMS Northumberland which at the time was an 'ironclad' vessel.
Together with his reserve service he spent 35 years in uniform, 33 years of which were spent at Chatham, finally retiring from service in 1921. He spent the rest of his life as a cobbler at the Cottage Homes in Pattens Lane, living in the very first house to be built in Pattens Gardens. His eldest son, my uncle,  served  in the RMLI Chatham at the same time in the latter years of my grandfathers service .
                                                                                                                                                    James
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 21, 2011, 14:09:30
The Chatham Division is reputed to trace its origins back to the 17th century and is thought to have been given the title of the First, Grand Division of Mareens as it was the first one formed. In 1693 a Royal warrant authorised the impressment of two Drums and two Hautboys for the 1st Mareen Regiment at Rochester. In 1708 Lt Col Webb of the Marines at Rochester was ordered to place guards to intercept deserting seamen in East Kent. In 1713 Will's Regiment of Marines was in revolt at Rochester against an order to disband them with troops being sent to suppress them.

A quote from the programme notes for the 'Final Parade of the Colours of the Old Chatham Divison, Royal Marines'.
'There came a day, the 11th May 1940, when at 7 p.m. the "General Assembly" was sounded in Barracks. An hour later about 200 men, ranging from King's Squad to clerks, and from 18 to 54 years of age, embarked for the Hook of Holland, where they fought the successful rearguard action which facilitated the escape of Queen Wilhelmina to England.'

The First, Grand Division was a distinguished unit that deserves more recognition.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: busyglen on January 21, 2011, 15:33:05
My father actually enlisted at Chatham, although he also spent time at Deal training and also inbetween during his tours abroad.  I was sent a copy of this photo of the Barracks at Chatham.

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i209/busyglen/RMChatham.jpg)

Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 22, 2011, 17:31:14
Thanks for all the posts ref the R.M. Drum major tossing his mace especially the name 'Bacon'.I am hoping to visit the museum at southsea early feb. so this is something I may be able to check against the band rolls.
It may just be the case that R.M. division Chatham is short changed at the museum because they were asigned to various ships for a tour of duty and on returning to Chatham Their expliots would have been recorded against that ship's history.Not as Chatham Marines.
My father served on Vindictive, Cumberland,Ramilles and Valient. So by linking his service record to the ship I am very slowly starting to get a better idea of his service career and where he served.It is a bit of a long way round.
Question...........Was there a barracks that was situated on Brompton Hill and were there Royal Marines based there during the 1950's?
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 22, 2011, 18:46:51
There was a RM Barracks on Brompton Hill from 1905 when the Melville Hospital was given to the Marines as Barracks, and it remained until the late 1950s when it was sold off for development. It was known as Melville Barracks and there is a thread about it here: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=335.0
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 22, 2011, 20:47:59
Many thanks for the info.I was digging into the depths of my memory and could not be certain that I saw the R.M. guard on the gate as a child.
Do you know if the R.M.'s stationed in this barracks had a different function to those in the Dock road barracks? To the best of my knowledge the only barracks my father was associated with was dock road and he was gunnery for most of his service.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: patmore on January 22, 2011, 21:50:33
Depends how old you are. The Royal Marines left Chatham in 1950 so if you are old enough you may well remember. The only military guard I can remember was on the gate to HMS Pembroke at the bottom of Dock Road, plus of course Brompton Barracks.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 23, 2011, 08:33:08
probaly too young. My sister has now told me that we moved from  brompton high st. in early 1953, so this would have been a daytime memory.When i was stationed at kitchener for R.E. trade course can only remember a foot patrol type guard that checked various points throughout the area.In 1965 the area was still very open though the verhicle access to brompton hill was closed at night.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 23, 2011, 13:27:04
Ubique, you may well have seen an RM Guard on the gate to Melville Barracks. Although the main body of RM's left Chatham in 1950, Melville Barracks was retained as the RM Pay and Records Office until the early 60's when it was closed as part of the cut-backs that saw Nore Command wound up and Sheerness Dockyard closed.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 23, 2011, 14:21:10
Thank you Bromptonboy.I am slowly getting to grips with the wealth of information on this site.Although born into Brompton Iwas a short term resident then a regular visitor to Royal Engineer related barracks etc.I am hoping that my sister will join the forum as she has a lot of memories pre war up to early 50,s especially RM related.By the way she has told me my Grandparents did live in Brompton High street at one time so it is possible that the Mrs. Nye  you knew was the old matriarch herself.She chain smoked Turf Cigarettes and was a demon card player.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 24, 2011, 20:07:08
Have received the following via e mail from my sister who will be joining the forum.

High Street our side  shops I can remember but some gaps.as so many shops closed during the war and had not opened properly afterwards

 

Hunnisett Military Tailors,    Greengrocer. –     Coppers Fish Merchant. Alleyway to back of 53 High Street.     Bookshop.    53 Off licence (NYE)   55 Tailors Shop (NYE) and where we lived until 1952 .

Grocers  (Jell)    Bookshp,  Fish & Chips (Baker)   Cosey Café.  Chemist (Farrow)   Alley   ?  Hairdresser   ?  Grocers Shop (Friend)  ??  Wine Shop.   Greengrocer (I think they were called Green, kids always in trouble)  ??   Bakers Shop (Mr Hasemore)    ??   Army & Navy Stores. ??  Two Sawyers Pub   Alley which went through to Manor Street some houses in the Alley, really slums. – Garage?   Conservative Club

Then it gets vague, but there was another Café then a wool shop/Post Office .  Hotel on corner.

 

Opposite side going down – Newsagent  ??  Sweetshop  Son RM killed in the War.   ??   Pub on the corner Westcourt Street   Pub other corner (White Lion)   Shoe repairs (John Unexpected Smith) I think someone opened a sort of Junk Shop in this area.  Fish & Chips (Williams)   Barbers Sho   Newsagent corner of Middle Street. Opp – Grocers Shop, China shop, Butcherr, gap  Sweetshop (Edna’s Mum –Fares)  Barber, Factory, Cliffe’s Café. Corner of Westcourt Street.

 

 

I remember the RM Guard at the Gate of The Gun Battery –we lived in RM married qtrs in The Gun Battery  until the outbreak of War.    I used to play all over the area in and around the guns and don’t ever remember  being warned off.     The qtrs overlooked what you call Brompton Hill but what I knew as Melville Hill .    I remember going across to Melville to the Officers Qtrs.   Dad was friend with a chap called Charles Wildie  don’t know what rank he was but he seemed to be able to pull a lot of strings.

 

I remember the childrens Christmas Parties in the Sgts Mess, with the Magician and the film show as well as the presents.  Also remember Christmas Parties in the WO’s Mess which was small and not half as nice as the Sgts.

 

I used to go to the Sgts Mess with Dad after Church Parade on Sundays – the Parade fell out and then the band  stay and would play on the square

 

On one occasion a friend and I were about to have a’ tea party’ on a corner of the main Square – which caused quite an uproar, I remember Dad removing me but I think secretly he was amused.

 

During the war we used to go to film shows in The Globe Theatre – Main Barracks     RM Sports Field was on The Lines, Nr War Memorial  and was used for Bugle Practise     Where are Chatham Division Silver Bugles I wonder, I remember being shown them.  Also wonder where the huge model ships that were in the Sgts Mess went to?

 

Sgts mess was far end of the main block =dockyard end.  WO’s mess near the small gate, building to the right facing the parade ground.

 

You could walk through a tunnel from the main barracks up to the Gun Battery – but I cannot remember the entry and exit points.I am pretty sure they were used as Deep shelters during the blitz     There were tunnels all over the area, I was lead to believe all the Forts were connected.  I used to go into the ones at the end of Sally Port – they went up to the old fort on the lines – scared the lights out of me  all dark and damp  so I didn’t go far. My imagination of finding the bones of French Prisoners of War got the better of me – no doubt the tunnels were collapsed in places – no Health and Safety then.

 

Dad, as you know moved from Chatham  during the later part of the war to Latymers House Penshurst which was the Pay Office
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 24, 2011, 21:25:47
It's great hearing these memories of how Brompton was, thanks for posting them ubique. I can fill in a couple of details there:

High Street our side  shops I can remember but some gaps.as so many shops closed during the war and had not opened properly afterwards
Hunnisett Military Tailors,    Greengrocer. –     Coppers Fish Merchant. Alleyway to back of 53 High Street.     Bookshop.    53 Off licence (NYE)   55 Tailors Shop (NYE) and where we lived until 1952 .
Grocers  (Jell)    Bookshp,  Fish & Chips (Baker)   Cosey Café.  Chemist (Farrow)   Alley   ?  Hairdresser   ?  Grocers Shop (Friend)  ??  Wine Shop.   Greengrocer (I think they were called Green, kids always in trouble)  ??   Bakers Shop (Mr Hasemore)    ??   Army & Navy Stores. ??  Two Sawyers Pub   Alley which went through to Manor Street some houses in the Alley, really slums. – Garage?   Conservative Club
Then it gets vague, but there was another Café then a wool shop/Post Office .  Hotel on corner.

The first alley was probably Flaxman's Alley (although I hadn't realised it was still there that late!), the second alley would be Sawyer's Alley. The hotel on the corner was the Queen's Head Hotel, and one local says he remembers that by the 40s/50s (maybe before) it was almost exclusively used by the 'luvvies' from the various rep companies that were forever passing through, putting on shows at Chatham's various theatres.
 
Opposite side going down – Newsagent  ??  Sweetshop  Son RM killed in the War.   ??   Pub on the corner Westcourt Street   Pub other corner (White Lion)   Shoe repairs (John Unexpected Smith) I think someone opened a sort of Junk Shop in this area.  Fish & Chips (Williams)   Barbers Sho   Newsagent corner of Middle Street. Opp – Grocers Shop, China shop, Butcherr, gap  Sweetshop (Edna’s Mum –Fares)  Barber, Factory, Cliffe’s Café. Corner of Westcourt Street.

The pubs on the corners of Westcourt Street were The British Legion Club (had been the Navy Arms until about 1918) and the Golden Lion (one of the oldest Brompton Pubs, known locally as the Beast, it closed around 2000). And I think Cliffe's Cafe was by the corner of Wood Street, not Westcourt Street, but I may be wrong.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: DMC on January 24, 2011, 21:44:55
Found these pictures of, what i think, is the entrance to the RM barracks in dock road during some parade or other. Looks like they were taken early/mid 70’s (judging by how old i look in some of the other pics from the same batch)


(http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c315/dezz27/post%20piccies/Untitled65.jpg)

(http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c315/dezz27/post%20piccies/Untitled10.jpg)


DMC
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 24, 2011, 21:54:57
Thanks for posting those DMC, you have now confirmed that I am not suffering from false memories!  When I came across some old photos of the entrance to the RM Barracks I was convinced they looked familiar and that I had seen them as a child, but on digging around I found out the barracks had closed before I was born!  The fact that they were still there, but presumably derelict, in the 70s means I probably did see them as a youngster!

The dating I have found for the barracks so far is: Building approved 1777, first occupied 1779, in use to 1959. The barracks were gradually vacated from 1950-59.  Lloyds of London was relocated to a new office across the former four-acre site of the Royal Marine barracks, from London in 1980.

I guess this means that parts of the barracks may have survived into the mid to late 70s before being demolished to make way for Lloyds.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 25, 2011, 16:14:51
That looks like a SITE ENTRANCE board on the side of the gates.I wonder who the agents were or was Crown land dealt with differently?
I was stationed at kitchener 1968/69 and fairly sure that the dock road wall was insitu but cannot vouch for the barrack buildings.
 Ford cortina in pic.is mk1 version launched in 1962 so this could be late 60's early 70's. Royal marine contigent are carrying colours of some sort and as the weather looks like summer or spring time could this have been something like a Queen's birthday parade?  
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 25, 2011, 17:10:54
Re: The Parade. St George's Day 1968. It was the 50th anniversary of the Zeebrugge raid that the Chatham Battalion RM played a major part in as well as ships prepared in Chatham Dockyard.

The 'site boards' were up for the site to be sold, again! It was originally sold out of Admiralty ownership in the early 1950's to Palfreys the paper sack manufacturers. This was after a plan to centralise the Royal Dockyard Technical Schools there fell through.

The barrack block that can be seen was the last remaining building of the old barracks. The extreme right hand portion was the original quarters for the Commandant of the Chatham Division until he moved into the newly acquired Melville Barracks occupying the former house of the Surgeon Superintendent. can you imagine a Major General these days having a front door onto a public highway!

The tunnel Ubique's sister mentions was the RM Deep Refuge. There were two entrances just inside the Dock Road wall of the barracks, an exit into Melville Barracks and an exit into the Gun Drill Battery. It was (still is) on two levels. The lower level was all accommodation with triple level bunks. The upper level was admin offices, plant rooms and a casualty clearing station. The main air intake for the tunnels was via a huge galvanised metal chimney next to the Gun Drill Battery entrance.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: DMC on January 25, 2011, 20:39:46
A few more here for possible “car dating” evidence

(http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c315/dezz27/post%20piccies/Untitled103.jpg)


(http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c315/dezz27/post%20piccies/Untitled109.jpg)

DMC
 :)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 26, 2011, 04:10:59
I'd never actually noticed that stone down there!  Looks as though it could use a little TLC though. Might be worth mentioning at the World Heritage meeting next week.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 26, 2011, 07:41:28
It is good to see something reminding us the the Royal Marines were in Chatham Just a pity it is not on the site of the RM barracks but on the Navy Gun Wharf!
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on January 26, 2011, 21:56:47
Ref the parade. Zeebrugge--- hms vindictive of course . a ship that 'returned' to chatham and embarked chatham division royal marines.
strangly the reason i stumbled onto this site was my search for information on the vindindicive in relation to her cruises 1925 to 1928 and the actions the ship's royal marines were involved in. If anyone can help with information it would be appreciated.
p.s. i think the band may be regulars but the contigent marching is most certainly cadets.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 26, 2011, 23:42:17
20 Apl. , 1777 , Navy Board letter. The Hill House field having been approved as a proper place to build Marine Barracks, we have purchased the remaining lease.

02 Sept , 1779 , First occupation of their new Barracks by Royal Marines, Chatham Division.

Hill House was on the corner of Red Cat Lane and Dock Lane/Road with Hill house field where some of the Royal Marine Parade ground and part of the Barracks were.

Going back to the start of this thread, does anyone have any more information and/or pictures of Hill House? The only picture I have been able to find so far is on an engraving showing Chatham and the Dockyard in 1738, but it doesn't give much detail. However, on the key it does say "Hill House or Pay Office."   Does anyone know who or what it would have peen the pay office for? (Gun wharf maybe?)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Wardy on January 27, 2011, 03:32:46
My father and older locals in Brompton told me of the mace over the gateway.
  I remember this well, only a kid at the time but the the feat is still vivid in my mind, the gate had to be 30ft high.  I have seen bands around the world and feat or no feat none compare to The Marines..... in my oppinion that is but there again I'm a Chatham boy
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 27, 2011, 07:33:21
The parade most mostly regular RM with added contingents from the Chatham RMR and the Chatham Cadet Units. The cadets brought up the rear of the parade.
Ref the parade. Zeebrugge--- hms vindictive of course . a ship that 'returned' to chatham and embarked chatham division royal marines.
strangly the reason i stumbled onto this site was my search for information on the vindindicive in relation to her cruises 1925 to 1928 and the actions the ship's royal marines were involved in. If anyone can help with information it would be appreciated.
p.s. i think the band may be regulars but the contigent marching is most certainly cadets.

Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Charles on January 27, 2011, 07:45:37
With reference to Hill House this was an existing property rented by the navy for the use of its senior officers (Pepys included) when visiting the dockyard which was then located at Gunwharf. When the "new" dockyard was built at the present site Hill House remained in use as the pay office for the dockyard and it is included in Dumner's great survey of the late 17th century with images available from the British Library (perhaps on line). The Brit Lib also has an early 18th century engraving that appears in some published works that shows Hill House as a grand residence. When no longer required by the Navy the house found a new use as a public house including no doubt serving the troops in the infantry barracks across the road. It was lost only when the marines barracks were built.

Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Lyn L on January 27, 2011, 09:32:24
Have to agree with you Wardy, The Marine Band ARE the best in the world, biased as my brother was a bandsman from a boy ( 14yrs) at Deal  and went all over the world, including being on HMS Britannia. Our greatest memory is of seeing ALL the combined bands at the Royal Tournament ( one of the last ones ) when they all streamed into the arena it was a marvellous sight and brought lumps to our throats, not many left now sadly.Can't remember what year that was now.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 27, 2011, 14:01:21
With reference to Hill House this was an existing property rented by the navy for the use of its senior officers (Pepys included) when visiting the dockyard which was then located at Gunwharf. When the "new" dockyard was built at the present site Hill House remained in use as the pay office for the dockyard and it is included in Dumner's great survey of the late 17th century with images available from the British Library (perhaps on line). The Brit Lib also has an early 18th century engraving that appears in some published works that shows Hill House as a grand residence. When no longer required by the Navy the house found a new use as a public house including no doubt serving the troops in the infantry barracks across the road. It was lost only when the marines barracks were built.

Thanks for that info Charles. Do you happen to know when it was built and when the Navy acquired it?

I'm also interested in your reference to it being used as a public house. I know that later there were three pubs (Army & Navy, Queen's Head and Red Lion) close by in the little area between the church and Red Cat Lane (I wonder if this got its name from the fact it led from Dock Road/Lane to the Red Lion pub?), and I wonder if any of those were there at the same time.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Charles on January 27, 2011, 20:54:29
I do not know when Hill House was built but the first record of a rental by the Navy is in 1620 from Sir Richard Slingsby who held it on a lease from the Rochester Dean and Chapter. His interest in the lease was bought out for £100 in 1623. The assumption is that the Navy acquired the freehold in 1661 and that the house stood until 1777 which is the year when in readiness for the construction of the marines barracks the lease on the remaining surrounding land was also acquired from the Dean and Chapter.

I cannot say whether the other public houses you mention were in use at the same time that Hill House became a pub but a map of 1763 suggests that this may be so. The troops in the infantry barracks could have provided plenty of customers. Whilst Hill House was demolished to make way for the marines barracks c 1777 the other pubs stood until 1862 and the Act to authorise compulsory purchase of the land on which they stood in order to enlarge the marines barracks.

There is a reference to Pay House Lane as a local name perhaps for the lane that went to Hill House as the Navy pay office and if so this would be separate to Red Cat Lane which was the route adjacent to the church yard.

Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 27, 2011, 23:55:56
Thanks for that info Charles, very interesting. I'll have to see if I can find any of the British Library images.

I know the dockyard moved from Gun Wharf to it's current location in 1622, but Pepys was staying there in the 1660s. Any idea whether it served as the pay office and accommodation at the same time? Or when it became the pay office?

Also, you mention that it became a pub 'when no longer required by the Navy' do you happen to have a date (even an approximate one) for this?

Re Pay House Lane, are you sure it would be seperate to Red Cat Lane? I've seen various examples of situations where a street was known by more than one name at the same time, I suppose because there were no street name signs (eg Barrack Hill/Brompton Hill/Melville Hill, or sometimes simpler, such as directory entries that list the same location as Road or Row in different addresses).
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on January 31, 2011, 14:46:15
Is this Hill House marked as the Pay Office?

1876
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/1867MPHH1_356PayHouse.jpg)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 31, 2011, 18:13:12
Hill House would have been gone for almost a century by 1876, and was on the other side of the road. I am guessing that might have been the army pay office associated with Chatham (Kitchener) Barracks, and it looks to be about where the statue is now. 

I picked up a map from 1719 today that shows Hill house plus Hill House Garden and Field and there is a note on it saying 'repaired and added to in 1703'.  I'll be scanning it soon and will add it here when I do.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: patmore on February 07, 2011, 20:28:54
http://http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/query/results/?Mode=ShowImg&Img=/cityark/Scans/Unofficial_or_Privately_Originated_Collections/DE0402_Couchman_ephemera_and_MSS_/DE0402_20.html/DE402_20_11L.jpg
 There are some lovely old Royal Marine photos in the Couchman Collection, here's one
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on February 07, 2011, 22:58:52
 Drum major tossing his mace.Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but according to an ex-drum major at the RM museum tossing the the mace over the entrance to chatham barracks is a myth.A story told in every town that has a military band
The RM's still produce the best military bands in the world.
(But to march with massed pipes and drums puts a swagger in your step)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Wardy on February 08, 2011, 14:13:38
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Ubique but I've actually seen the Drum Major perform this feat and even at a very young age I was still amazed, sorry again but perhaps the guy you spoke to had it hit him on the head when he tried it
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on February 08, 2011, 17:50:51
Wardy is correct. My dad came to Chatham in 1946 and saw the feat performed and told me about it when I was old enough.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: ubique on February 09, 2011, 23:42:53
Oh dear Oh dear I seem to have openned a can of worms with this one.On one hand I have the R.M.'s museum laughing at the claim and on the other hand I have people who have actually seen the feat.In addition to this I have copied below are some postings made on the Military Forum back in 2003 with more tales about the truly heroic feats of D.M.'s at Eastney Barracks.
Has anyone got a picture?   
Can I suggest that if this quest is to be pursued we move it to a new thread and clear the way for leofwines research

Please note the weight of a military ceremonial mace and remember that it had to be tossed to approx 25ft. and would be travelling at a devilish rate of knots when being retrieved

Posting from Military Forum cica 2003

Sticky

I seem to remember an old Corps tale of a Drum Major who, when marching through the main gate at Eastney, would throw his mace (?) over the arch, and catch it on the other side! 

True or false?

TRUE!
The Drum Majors, that I know who could do it, from memory were all DLs and these were the only ones who did it for real on an official parade! Others had done it on their own but never on parade in front of a band.
Colin and Charles Bowden (Brothers)
Jack Daycome

The practice of 'throwing' the staff was stopped in the early 60's by decree of CGRM because too many staffs were being broken. The staff is a solid silver and Mallace Bamboo cane and weighs about 6-8 pounds. When I was in Deal I had one of the heaviest because I was the sprog... not much fun on a long parade I can assure you!
Jack Daycome said, words to the effect of, "I used to practice the arch in the early hours of the morning with a staff I had made for the purpose then one day I did it on parade with the real staff. I lobbed it up and took very big steps as I went under the arch to make sure I was waiting the other side. I looked up and caught it, more by luck than skill. Needless to say, I never had to buy a pint in the mess for weeks!"
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on May 29, 2011, 15:10:14
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/RMBarracks.jpg)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: 101sean on December 02, 2011, 23:51:27
Only just signed up here but been wondering about this for years -

Quote
The tunnel Ubique's sister mentions was the RM Deep Refuge. There were two entrances just inside the Dock Road wall of the barracks, an exit into Melville Barracks and an exit into the Gun Drill Battery. It was (still is) on two levels. The lower level was all accommodation with triple level bunks. The upper level was admin offices, plant rooms and a casualty clearing station. The main air intake for the tunnels was via a huge galvanised metal chimney next to the Gun Drill Battery entrance

When I had a crew checking drains on Dock Road around 1998ish we lifted a manhole cover close to the garage and it was over a steel flight of stairs down in to this. I didn't go in but one of the crew did, said it was an immense space and full of bunk beds. Last time I looked a couple of years ago the cover was gone, presumably sealed off when the garage was rebuilt.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on February 20, 2012, 23:25:10
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 26 February 1861

CHATHAM.
The distribution of the prizes awarded to the non-commissioned officers and men of the Chatham Division of Royal Marines Light Infantry for excellence in rifle firing, on the completion of their annual course of musketry instruction, took place on Tuesday on the parade-ground of the barracks, at a full parade of the officers and men of the battalion. The number of prizes taken by the non-commissioned officers and men of the Chatham division is 68, but only portion of that number were decorated on Tuesday, the remainder being absent from headquarters, either serving afloat or on duty. The presentation of the prizes was made by Lieut.-Col. R. J. McKillop, six men being awarded a gold badge with crossed muskets, to be worn for one year, the wearer being granted 2d. per day additional pay during that period; and 22 men receiving a less expensive kind of badge, which carries with it 1d. per day extra pay. The remaining 40 men will be decorated on their return to head quarters, a few them who proved themselves to be first-class shots receiving an addition of 3d. per day to their pay.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on February 27, 2012, 11:31:11
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 19 August 1856

CHATHAM.
INTERESTING CEREMONY. — An interesting ceremony was witnessed at the Marine Barracks on Wednesday, that of presentation of the cross of the Legion of Honour, which had been awarded by the Emperor of the French to Major G. B. Rodney and Captain D. Blyth, of the Chatham division, for distinguished conduct during the late war. Major Rodney and Captain Blyth are the only officers of Chatham division of Royal Marines who have been decorated with this honor.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on May 16, 2012, 21:17:05
9th March 1954

Mr. A.G. Bottomley (Chatham & Rochester)

As the First Lord knows, the Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham, are unoccupied for the first time in 200 years. Had these buildings been used, there would have been no waste, but they have been neglected and are rapidly deteriorating. That famous parade ground has weeds on it for the first time. I know that it has now been given to the Army, but surely the First Lord should have considered more fully the proposition that I made to him earlier, when the Chamber of Trade wanted to inspect the site in order that it could be considered for industrial purposes. We did not have a very good reply from the First Lord, who was not at all sympathetic. All I can say is that the ratepayers of the town are losing about £3,000 a year. I should like to know what will now be the cost of putting these barracks into a reasonable condition. I imagine that it would be very high. Not only are the citizens of the borough suffering locally, therefore, through higher rates, but they have to pay more taxes nationally because of this kind of neglect.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: cliveh on June 21, 2012, 09:48:52
A plan of the Barracks from 1911:

(http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/gg182/cliveinkent/Chatham%20Plans/ADM140-14847ChathamRoyalMarineBarracks1911.jpg)


cliveh
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on February 04, 2014, 18:50:03
Chatham Naval Establishment

Plan showing cell accommodation.

Called for by D.W. Minute No. 2286 of 24th July 1883.

Cells at Marine Barracks.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: The Sheppey Kingmaker on February 26, 2014, 15:28:22
Looking at the first photo on '#Reply 15', the photo looks more likely to have been taken at HMS Wildfire in Sheerness Dockyard as the Glass window and the stairway look like the ones on the Small Basin side of HMS Wildfire.   
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on February 27, 2014, 09:07:47
Hi Sheppey Kingmaker, I think you probably mean the pictures on Reply 14 as there are none with Reply 15?
The pictures Leofwine has posted are almost certainly taken at the Royal Marines Gun Drill Battery in Chatham. This was located on the east side of the hill behind Melville Barracks.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Davecee on July 15, 2015, 19:45:08
A few more here for possible “car dating” evidence

(http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c315/dezz27/post%20piccies/Untitled103.jpg)


(http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c315/dezz27/post%20piccies/Untitled109.jpg)

DMC
 :)

OK, that photo was taken in 1972, I was one of the cadets in the photo, having just read the lesson at a service at the Church inside the main gate.

As for the question about the drum major tossing his mace over the arch, it was true and if you visit the RM museum in Portsmouth where the mace is on display you can see the result of one drum major "dropping the catch" resulting in a large dent.

Incidentally, my uncle was in the RM band at the time, in the photo mentioned before all the other cadets had standard gilt cap badges whereas I had an original brass badge given to me by my uncle - the globe had been polished so much that the details on the globe had been completely polished off
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: conan on July 16, 2015, 14:13:59
There's a Pathe news reel about the barracks filmed in 1940 here..

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/king-at-chatham-aka-king-at-chathah/query/royal+marines+chatham
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: grandarog on November 12, 2016, 17:31:48
 Does anybody know if the Royal Marines Deepshelters at Dock Road Barracks that were/are still accessible?
 I understand that when the council offices were built in the 1960`s the top 2 levels were still intact.with 4 entrances
 I wonder if they are used by the council to store archives or just sealed off.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on November 12, 2016, 17:33:25
As far as I know they are still there but sealed off.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Riding With The Angels on January 22, 2017, 16:47:10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP__-QaWJSs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP__-QaWJSs)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmvlmC2KAhA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmvlmC2KAhA)

A recent couple of videos.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 23, 2017, 10:57:30
Many happy and sometime frightening hours spent down the Deep Refuge. In the 1960's the power was still on for a short while just after the RMPRO departed Melville Barracks. They were in pristine condition then! These tunnel were built just before WW2 and were first used on Sunday 3rd September 1939 when the false alarm was sounded for an air raid. (Info from BBC Peoples War website)
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: conan on July 02, 2017, 19:17:55
Does anybody know if the Royal Marines Deepshelters at Dock Road Barracks that were/are still accessible?
 I understand that when the council offices were built in the 1960`s the top 2 levels were still intact.with 4 entrances
 I wonder if they are used by the council to store archives or just sealed off.

They are still there grandarog

https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/underground-sites/35152-royal-marines-deep-refuge-chatham-kent-july-2017-a.html
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: HenryB on July 04, 2017, 10:50:44
I went down this morning / last night 03/07/17 - 04/07/17 and it has been welded shut around the edges. I literally missed it by hours as I looked in the day and it was fine. I could completely wrong but I spoke to a person who's been down before and he said it's the correct one.

Just to confirm - WELDED SHUT as of 04/07/17
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on July 04, 2017, 12:33:34
Looking at the IKS videos it looks like it was a really dangerous place to visit unless you were an experienced explorer.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Melville on July 21, 2018, 23:51:22
I remember as an eight year old in 1948, on Sunday mornings, standing outside the main gate of the Royal Marines Barracks in Dock Road with some pals hoping that the Drum Major would toss the mace over the main gate arch.  He would hold us all in suspense.  Sometimes he would just march through the arch, but every now and then he would toss the mace over the arch to the cheers and delight of the gathered crowd.

I was that impressed that ten years later I joined the Royal Marines.

A few years ago I was at my local Royal Marines Association in Lancashire (I've lived there for the last fifty years) when a new member joined the branch, his name was Pete Skinner and he was about ten years older than myself, and during the evening he mentioned that he was a bandsman in the Chatham Division band in the late 1940's.  I mentioned that it was that band and the Drum Major that convinced me to join the Corps.  Of course I mentioned the tossing of the mace over the arch and he remembered it well and even told me the Drum Major's name.  I have forgotton the name and Pete Skinner has since 'crossed the bar'.  Another interesting thing he told me was that when the Barracks was closed all the Marines were transferred to Eastney Barracks but the band was disbanded and many of them, including Pete Skinner, crossed the road and joined the Royal Engineers Band Service.


After I had finished training in 1959 I, like everyone else in my squad, hoped to be joining one of the commando units, all of which were serving abroad.  Malta, Aden and Singapore. 


My first draft chit?  Melville Barracks!   I joined to see the world, and ended up back in my home town of Chatham.  I was there when the barracks finally closed in 1960 and we all moved down to Eastney.  We moved from the superb stone built barracks into wooden huts at what was called Hutment Camp.  They changed the name to Melville Camp but they were still wooden huts.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on July 22, 2018, 12:55:38
Aerial view from 1936:
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on July 25, 2018, 16:21:43
A nice view across the parade ground. If nothing else, imagine what a beautiful and exclusive apartment complex these buildings could have provided.
Title: Re: Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Lyn L on July 25, 2018, 18:35:50
A great shame the Barracks were demolished. The Royal Marine Barracks at Deal have been made into lovely homes from what I've seen. I know my brother, who was in the RM band, was in Dock road at some point . No idea for how  long though.