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Author Topic: South Foreland Battery  (Read 66603 times)

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Offline unfairytale

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #109 on: April 25, 2012, 16:51:48 »
Only one of those photos has the prefix S.F. before the date. The other have M.I. So I guess only the first one, obviously next to the light house, is associated with the South Foreland Battery. The others look like pics I have of Lydden Spout Battery. They're not taken three years apart, there's just a '1' missing from one of the pics.
When you've got your back to wall, there's only one thing to do and that's to turn around and fight. (John Major)
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Offline kyn

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #108 on: April 25, 2012, 16:41:06 »
Sorry Alastair I have no more information other than the pictures themselves.  If I come across anything I will be sure to post it.

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #107 on: April 25, 2012, 16:29:41 »
Kyn, those are interesting pictures of the SF Radar. There appear to be, according to the numbers on the photos, at least 3 diffetrent ones and taken at different dates. Two of them, taken 3 years apart and numbered differently, look suspiciously similar.
Any idea where they where situated? We know the one by the lighthouse - didn't know there were any more.

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #106 on: April 25, 2012, 16:20:02 »
Quite right, JohnG, the OP was indeed next to the Plotting Room, though I find it an odd place to put it. I was referring to the one mentioned in BenG's Reply 22 which is hanging precariously on the cliff edge. The one next to the Plotting Room, if memory serves, could not see the sea as there is a hill in the way but could, of course, see partially inland (as it was downhill from Summerhouse Hill) and upwards. Making the OP on the Rectifier House less likely, but I still think the roof there was used for something.

Interesting about the sack barrows used for transporting shells and feasible, too. Could I ask where you came by this information?

Looking forward to your book coming out. Any intended date, or is it too early to tell yet?

Offline JohnG

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #105 on: April 24, 2012, 20:15:30 »
The observation post for South Foreland Battery was not on the cliff edge, it was within the battery area next to the plotting room.

Offline JohnG

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #104 on: April 24, 2012, 20:12:52 »
The shells for the 9.2-inch were too heavy for a man to lift, they were moved on special sack barrows.  There is a picture of the LAA position with a spigot mortar in it in this subject.  My book is well under way now.

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #103 on: April 24, 2012, 16:36:03 »
Thank you , LenP. Here goes for part 2.

The construction of the gun pits was an enormous operation by today's standards. Each pit was, I estimate, about sixty feet wide and around twenty deep. This was to allow for the thickness of the concrete needed to withstand the vibration of firing. From this led trenches leading to the pits for the magazines in the cases of Nos 1 & 4 guns. The magazines for these two were built in rectangular, brick-lined pits with their rooves just above ground level and with space round three sides for access and exit. The connecting tunnel was covered with a concrete roof, backfilled and turfed over, the only sign that it was there being a line of cowl-like vents along its route. The tunnel was not straight - it had a kink to deflect blast thus protecting the magazines. Everything was then covered over leaving only the circular gun pit and the magazine rooves visible.

Movement of ammunition from these two magazines I have not yet clarified. There is no sign in the tunnel of an overhead rail for hanging shells on, though this method is used in the mag itself. There must have been some form of wheeled transport, certainly for the shells. The Army is exceedingly unlikely to have entrusted the physical carrying of each shell to the soldiers - there had to be either a prefabriated railway with hand-pushed wagons or trolleys of some sort.

Opposite the magazines of No 4 gun, across the road on the landward side, was a small AA emplacement, still there and large enough for only a Pom-Pom or possibly an Oerlikon. This was replaced with a Spigot Mortar, the ammunition for each being stored under the surrounding concrete shelf on wooden slats. The concrete shelf itself was covered with sandbags for extra protection and, oddly enough, the emplacement was separated from the road with barbed wire.

Along the road was a line of telephone poles connecting the Guardroom, gun pit and Engine House to the operational buildings farther down the road. Next along this road, on the seaward side, was the workshop, set back from the road and probably an existing brick building with a pitched roof adapted for this purpose. Next was the Rectifier House, which changed the DC output of the two Engine Houses to AC current where needed, though the guns themselves worked off DC current. This was a concrete building from the top of which some of the phoptographs of the site have been taken. Up the front of it was a steel ladder, implying that access was needed to the top of it. Given that it was the tallest, albeit only one storey, flat-roofed building other than No 1 Engine House, I suggest that it was used as an Observation Post. Possibly with an Air Raid siren. It was roughly in the centre of the site and had view both seawards and landwards as well as skywards, whereas the OP on the cliffs for the guns could only see what it was meant to see - the sea.

Alastair

   

Offline LenP

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #102 on: April 23, 2012, 23:39:59 »
Yes please! :)

Offline Alastair

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #101 on: April 22, 2012, 16:15:16 »
I posted this on another site and thought maybe it might be of help to those visting the battery. In my capacity as an amateur archaeologist, I have great fun in examining the site in detail to find out how it worked.

Starting from the St Margaret's end approaching from Lighthouse Road, then called Summerhouse Hill, the Guardhouse stands on the left, now a private house, and on the right in a depression is Engine House No 2. By the Guardhouse was a barrier, presumably manned by soldiers, just before which is a path down to the right. This leads past the Engine House depression to an open field.

The depression in which said Engine House stands was once a chalk pit and was accessed during WW2 by a flight of concrete steps, now barely visible, leading down into it. In front of the EH stood a brick building, possibly once a dwelling, and in front of that again, with their backs to the open field were three Nissen huts. Along the field, parallel with the Battery, ran one arm of the Martin Mill Military Railway which ended at Bruce the other side of St Margaret's. Opposite the path mentioned there was a wooden platform for unloading ammunition and stores. These were brought up the path, rather wider than it is now, and the ammunition taken to the magazines of No 4 Gun, behind and to the right of the Guardhouse.

There was a fence between the Battery and the field which turned up the path and right along to the barrier by the Guardhouse. There was another fence on the other side of the path up as far as the road.

Just past the Guardhouse, before the modern gate that's there now, the road forked off at 45 degrees towards No 4 Gun. To the left of this short road was the underground shelter for OR's (now turfed over) then the pump chamber for the gun's hydraulics then the gun pit itself, now filled in to stop cows falling into it. And also, I suspect, to lose a lot of the spoil from demolition. This side of the gun pit and opposte the pump chamber was the Officers' Shelter at the entrance to the tunnel that led to the two magaznes.

The magazines are at the end of this tunnel with their rooves clearly visible. One mag was for shells, the other for cordite. Near the join of the two rooves there is an unassumiong patch of concrete. This was a shaft with two wooden doors opening upwards for lowering ammo down to the magazines. A small crane stood by the shaft - a simple affair, not much more than a bit of bent pipe. At each side of the magazines were two concrete pillars for supporting camoufalge nets. At the top of each pillar was a steel band which clamped on to the pillar and held the net. When the net was released the band fell down and they are still there.

More to come if you find this interesting.

Alastair

Offline kyn

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #100 on: April 22, 2012, 13:27:59 »
Some pics of the radar

Offline kyn

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #99 on: April 21, 2012, 18:29:36 »
Battery Plotting Room

theartist

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #98 on: January 24, 2012, 21:18:30 »
ive seen too, i wondered if it was plain old junk tipped on site.

Offline cliveh

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #97 on: January 24, 2012, 17:42:54 »
Clive, Can you tell us where this feature is at South Foreland.  JohnG

I think it was around the site of No.2 Gun Emplacement JohnG

cliveh

Offline JohnG

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #96 on: January 24, 2012, 17:28:06 »
Clive, Can you tell us where this feature is at South Foreland.  JohnG

Offline cliveh

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Re: South Foreland Battery
« Reply #95 on: January 24, 2012, 16:35:35 »
Does anyone please have any idea what this is that I photographed on my tour around South Foreland on Friday?:





cliveh

 

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