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Author Topic: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester  (Read 68965 times)

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Offline Roseann

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #125 on: November 22, 2017, 07:39:10 »
Fort Bridgewood in the 40s and now .
Hope x

Offline Derek harrison

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merc

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #123 on: February 26, 2016, 11:50:18 »
I think some of the 1907 Siege Works photos earlier in this thread "may be" at Fort Luton.

The photo's have either "B" or "L" followed by numbers (Bridgewoods/Luton). Also the date on "L1 and L2" matches articles on Fort Luton.

(During the Siege Operations two temporary blockhouses were built in the ditches, which is what may be seen in the photos).

Apologies if this was already known about.

STEVEG4HJE

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #122 on: August 30, 2014, 11:25:32 »
The first commanding officer of the wireless interception station that was established at Fort Bridgewoods in 1926 was Lt Lionel Attwell Beale MBE. Beale was born into a medical family, his father a consultant and his grandfather a medical professor. He was commissioned into the Hampshire Regiment at the outbreak of World War 1 and following following considerable front line service he transferred to the Royal Engineers as a signals officer and by 1917 was involved in wireless interception from Salonika where he received a mention in despatches. Following his demon he joined the Marconi Company as a wireless engineer but was retained on the Regular Army Reserve of Officers. Beale developed the first duplex radio transmission equipment which permitted two way telephone communication by wireless. This was demonstrated in 1924 to a reporter from The Times when tests were carried out between Holland and England. Beale took up the appointment as Officer in Charge of Fort Bridgewoods in March 1926 with the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Signals reserve. He developed a number of important interception techniques and built much of the equipment that was used by his small band of five Experimental Wireless Assistants. During his time as OiC he had a constant battle to keep the Government Code and Cypher School (later to become GCHQ) interested in their work as the code breakers much preferred the printed text of international cable interception to the hand written scripts from wireless interception. Money was always an issue and many of the early receiver components were made from metal recovered from the brass shutters in the magazine rooms!
Beale married locally and the wedding took place at Rochester Cathedral. The family home was on the Chatham Maidstone Road directly opposite to the entrance of Fort Horsted. Beale would have been able to walk along the pathway of the defunct narrow gauge railway to reach his place of work each day. The house was marked out by two large aerial masts and Beale kept a workshop into which the family were not allowed. Beale had taken out an Amateur Radio licence in 1912.
Sadly Beale died suddenly at a very young age in 1934. His funeral was conducted by the Rector of Chatham and attended by representatives of the 'Y' Committee and MI1b as well as fellow Freemasons. The bearer party was found from the operators at Fort Bridgewoods. He is buried in the Fort Pitt Military Burial Ground on City Way.
In 1933 he was honoured by the award of the MBE.(Military Division) for his pioneering secret wireless work. He was invested at Buckingham Palace by King George V.

STEVEG4HJE

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #121 on: August 29, 2014, 23:25:13 »
I wonder if anyone knows how I could contact Graham French who posted some wonderful photographs of Fort Bridgewoods on 28 February 2011. I have just completed writing a book about wireless interception carried out at the fort between 1926 and 1945 and would very much like to speak to Graham to seek his permission to use them. Photos of the Fort are so rare, and this is a good set. I have a number taken just prior to demolition but those taken by Graham are particularly good.
Any help would be most appreciated.

drunkenbaker

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #120 on: April 22, 2014, 15:22:00 »
One of the old signs
Has anyone got any pictures of the features in the ditch please? I used to go into Bridgewoods as a kid and have only sketchy memories of the place. I'm fairly sure we gained access as a result of mining damage or partial demolition as we scrambled down a bank into the ditch. I think there must have been a damaged or modified counterscarp gallery of some kind as we would go down a lot of stairs to get into the casemated area of the fort.

The photos I've seen are good, but they haven't helped me cement in my mind where we used to get in.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #119 on: April 22, 2014, 08:13:28 »
The fort was handed over to the Home Office in 1961, and until 1967 it was a Sub Regional Control Centre, known as S.R.C. 5.2, for the administration of South East London in case of a Nuclear attack.
Thanks :)

For some reason I assumed the Ops Room had moved from Fort Bridgewoods to Watling Street before I started work with the REs in January 1944, perhaps  because of the fort being unused when I went there.

However, the one at Watling Street was an adaptation of the TA Drill Hall and on the surface, whereas the photos show the one at  Bridgewoods was obviously purpose built and underground. So the movement must have been the other way, despite it being late in the war – I left the REs in early 1945.

Could that account for the change in name from the one I knew – ‘Gun Operations Room’ – to ‘Anti-Aircraft Operations Room’ (ie-not necessarily for guns)?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline Rochester-bred

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #118 on: April 22, 2014, 07:46:45 »
I live near Cookham Woods and wondered roughly where abouts the Bridgewood fort was as though I have heard of it I did not know where it was situated,thank you.
***I am still the child within***

merc

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #117 on: April 21, 2014, 21:30:02 »
The fort was handed over to the Home Office in 1961, and until 1967 it was a Sub Regional Control Centre, known as S.R.C. 5.2, for the administration of South East London in case of a Nuclear attack.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #116 on: April 21, 2014, 21:17:07 »
I’m intrigued by the reference to the AAOR.

As I’ve 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?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline kyn

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #115 on: April 21, 2014, 19:37:47 »
One of the old signs

merc

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #114 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

Offline cliveh

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #113 on: March 26, 2014, 18:32:13 »
The link is broken at the moment!! :(

Offline kyn

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #112 on: March 26, 2014, 17:21:05 »
Thank you JohnG!

Offline JohnG

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Re: Fort Bridgewoods, Rochester
« Reply #111 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



 

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