News: Gypsy tart originated from the Isle of Sheppey
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Sheerness Gun Wharf  (Read 13085 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 08:30:11 »
Thanks, that's just as I thought :) :)
It would have been in the summer with warmish water and, as far as I remember, smooth with unbroken ripples.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Ron Stilwell

  • Guest
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 22:59:19 »

Another thing I remember was a slight glow on the water on a dark night, due to something called phosphorescence – or am I imagining it?


This is usually due to dinoflagellates in the water that emit a sparking bluish light or bioluminescence, when the water is disturbed, especially seen at night.  These blooms come and go depending on the water conditions, especially temperature.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2013, 22:05:20 »
I don’t know what sort of safety railings are common round dockyard basins, but those round the camber here consisted of iron posts about 3 ft high with a ‘U’ socket at the top, spaced at about 6 ft intervals. Fitting into the ‘U’ sockets were wooden rails of about 4”x2” section that could be easily lifted out for unobstructed access to the dock edge. I remember being told never to lean on the rails because, being cut back so that 2 ends could fit into the uprights and not being particularly well protected with wood preservative, their strength was rather uncertain.

Access to the boats moored in the camber was by vertical iron ladders positioned at intervals along the camber wall. Not too bad when the tide was high, but a rather daunting climb for a 9-year old when the tide was low, especially as the lower rungs were covered in sea weed and still wet after a falling tide. There were steps in the outer wall of the camber that can just be seen in the first photo above.

Those small buildings that I said were not there in 1938 must have been, because I now remember dumping my bike on the ground at the dock edge and disappearing behind them to go to look at something across the Thames – my dad saw the bike and not me and thought I’d fallen in the water!

Another thing I remember was a slight glow on the water on a dark night, due to something called phosphorescence – or am I imagining it?

There was severe gale at one time and a couple of lighters broke away from the tug towing them, and were being carried out towards the Thames with a couple of men aboard. We watched in awe as ‘Uncle Joe’ took the pilot cutter out  to take them off – it was one occasion when he refused to take me with him!
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 12:54:20 »
This is related to the thread on Garrison Point Fort, but I think fits the topic better in this thread. For where I got it from see:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6013.msg144356#msg144356

I have taken the liberty of cropping and enlarging the relevant bits of Kyn’s and Conan’s photos from that topic.




Our bungalow is at the top end of the L-shaped building, and I’m now certain that the L-shaped building is the same one that was there when I lived there, and not one built since, as I first thought. There was a narrow passage between that and our bungalow, giving external front to rear access, and that can be seen in the first photo, as can the back yard where my grandmother was sitting to have her  photo taken (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4346.msg35353#msg35353).

Our front door was at the right of the bungalow, and we went in/out via a gate at the top right. The dockyard wall runs diagonally from the top right corner of the first photo. The building along the top of the first photo and at the left of the second is where the scorpions were. The pilot cutter, of which I have such happy memories, was kept where the boat in the second photo is, although that’s not it – it was about the same size but didn’t have a cabin like the one in the photo seems to have.

The buildings at the corner of the camber were not there in 1938 – we could stand there and see across the Thames Estuary to Southend, and the white building next to the L-shaped one in the second photo is a much later edition.

Apart from that I can imagine myself there now, thanks to Kyn’s and Conan’s original photos. :)

There's more about my time with the pilot cutter here, and in a couple of later posts (Reply#55 & 56):
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14859.msg143216#msg143216

Hoping my cross-referencing of three threads makes sense
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline conan

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1104
  • Appreciation 74
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2010, 17:22:23 »
A shot of the gun wharf from the seaward side

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline conan

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1104
  • Appreciation 74
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2010, 16:11:21 »
I believe these pictures are of the ordinance at Garrison Point



To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

seafordpete

  • Guest
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2009, 09:16:37 »

3. Recently (about 10 years ago!) I was on Sheerness sea front when there was a couple of big bangs and columns of smoke from Port Victoria area. Since there was nothing in the news about explosions etc, I assume it was some sort of routine army/navy activity.




Army explosives demolition range attached to EOD school at Lodge Hill. Pete

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2009, 16:51:17 »
To quote my opening entry:
"A War Department (WD) steam tug,........was also used as a ferry to Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain. I can't remember exactly what, but there was some sort of army activity around Yantlet Creek, so I assume the ferry was associated with that. I can recall a Spanish merchant ship laid up there - something to do with the civil war."

I've remembered a bit more.
1. Going to Yantlet Creek on the tug and watching something being unloaded at a little jetty. I think it was a gun barrel - could it have been taken there for storage?
2. The crew of the Spanish ship were confined on board. I remember one of them coming across on the tug, on a stretcher, presumably for medical treatment, and being brought ashore at the Camber.
3. Recently (about 10 years ago!) I was on Sheerness sea front when there was a couple of big bangs and columns of smoke from Port Victoria area. Since there was nothing in the news about explosions etc, I assume it was some sort of routine army/navy activity.

Can anyone enlighten me? I think some members are visiting Grain this Sunday - could you keep an eye out for any evidence of what went on there, please?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline sheppey_bottles

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
  • Appreciation 46
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 21:36:00 »
Thanks Peter it was just a slim chance that maybe you knew of it, I have asked people in the past but with no luck. A regiment at Chatham had its own embossed bottles and so did places like Darenth Asylum and also Bexley. Even small shops in Sheerness had bottles with their names on such as Harriet McDonald who rented deckchairs and bathing machines on the seafront from Windsor terrace in Royal Road.

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 19:51:35 »
Ref 'RA Institute'. Sorry I can't tell you anything definite, but I believe regimental institutes did sometimes have individual names. For example, take the Sergeants' Mess of the 'Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment'; I have vague recollections of my dad saying he was going to the 'Queen's Own' when we lived at Aldershot, so what you suggest is possible, although I do wonder if they would go so far as having specially made bottles.

My dad's "rank" as a civvy employee of the WD entitled him to use the Sergeants' Mess, and I do have memories of going there with him; it was just across the road about where "Officers' Quarters'" is shown on the map. While it seems to have been a navy barracks it could have been different by 1938, but I don't remember a specific building of that name. However, I am speaking of 71-year old memories.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline sheppey_bottles

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 936
  • Appreciation 46
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 12:57:06 »
I love your Post, pictures and recollections Peter..what nice things to have. Maybe if you think back you may be able to help me..I have an old Codd bottle (the one with a marble inside) which is embossed 'RA institute' Sheerness, which I take to read Royal Artillery. Do you ever remember a building in the docks called the 'RA institute' please.Thankyou.

Offline Paul

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1481
  • Appreciation 61
  • Batpigs'n'Boobies.. ;)
Re: Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 12:38:02 »
Fantastic Pics :)

Its nice to see people as well as places :)
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline peterchall

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3620
  • Appreciation 166
  • 25.06.1929 - 12.03.2016
Sheerness Gun Wharf
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2009, 12:27:05 »
There seems to be even less information about the army's involvement in Sheerness Gun Wharf than there is about the one at Chatham, and I am hoping to start some balls rolling with this topic.

My father was 'Resident Foreman' there in 1938. It was a Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) depot but, so far as I can remember, there was very little army activity; I can recall stores of trench duck-boards etc, presumably in readiness to re-fight WW1! However, there were many 'lodgers' there and dad did have an office, so I imagine his main job was to ensure that all the facilities for them were in order.

Map courtesy of Kyn


 

Garrison Point Fort is at the top and the road from Sheerness town (Garrison Road) comes in from bottom right and turns up to the fort entrance, and the Dockyard is below, off the map. The Gun Wharf is at the bottom left. The basin labelled 'Ordnance Camber' is an offshoot of the dockyard basin, with an outlet to the Medway. There is a line of small buildings alongside the road with the main site-entrance at the top, and a small personnel gate at the bottom end. The 'L-shaped' building was the main storage area and we lived in a bungalow that must have been built later in the space to the right of it, and my photos were taken from there.

 
The far end of the L-shaped building is behind my grandmother, and the near end is behind the flowerpot. In the background is Garrison Point Fort.

The Resident Mouser.

 

To the right is the line of buildings alongside the road. Some while ago there was a report on local TV about scorpions in the wall of Sheerness Docks. They were inside what looks like an open door beside the fence, although my dad had difficulty in convincing the Garrison MO of what they were when he reported them! Kept in the Camber were:
1.   A pilot cutter: an open motor-boat for taking pilots to/from ships using the Medway.
2.   A launch for carrying Customs Officers out to examine ships.
3.   A couple of RAF Range Safety launches. There was a firing/bombing range somewhere in the Thames Estuary, presumably associated with aircraft from Eastchurch RAF station, and their job was to keep shipping out of the danger area. Their crews were accommodated in part of the building that is in front of the fort in my pictures, and I think they came in by truck from Eastchurch each day.
4.   A War Department (WD) steam tug, used for towing targets for the guns on the fort. Since these were manned by the part-time soldiers of the TA it meant that Sunday afternoon peace was often shattered! The tug was also used as a ferry to Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain. I can't remember exactly what, but there was some sort of army activity around Yantlet Creek, so I assume the ferry was associated with that. I can recall a Spanish merchant ship laid up there - something to do with the civil war.

In late 1938 my father was moved to Chatham Gun Wharf (see that topic, by bromptonboy), and thereafter I have no knowledge of Sheerness Gun Wharf.

As a 9-year old boy I spent a very happy year there, with quite a lot of time out in the various boats, especially the pilot cutter.

If these notes go some way to making up for what I think is the lack of literature or TV reporting, compared to that about the Dockyard, I will be very satisfied.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines