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Author Topic: West Malling/Kings Hill Bofors AA tower?  (Read 11921 times)

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Offline grandarog

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2016, 11:52:19 »
Apparently the trees around the Bofors Towers at Kings Hill have been cleared and they are now visible from the bypass.

Offline cliveh

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 17:13:49 »
A few photos from a visit today. It's desperately sad how this iconic structure, one of only 10 left in the country, is being allowed to decay. They'll probably wait until it's nearly falling down then turn it into a Starbucks!

cliveh

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 21:06:53 »
I grew up in West Malling  & played on & around this tower during the 60's, many years before the bypass. The tower had a dual purpose & your right in thinking  it housed a Bofors gun, the reason for the  2" gap through the middle is that the other half housed delicate radio equipment, the gap was so that the recoil of the gun didn`t interfere with the radios.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 08:36:13 »
Go over the lift bridge onto the island and then you come to a roundabout.That is roughly where the AA tower was.

Solarp

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2010, 19:33:06 »
Thank you for the additional info guys and seafordpete for that little insight for why its actually there! Great stuff!  :)

Was the Chatham tower located heading towards St. Marys or away towards the dockyard at the roundabout?

seafordpete

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2010, 10:37:28 »
The Tower at Malling was built because the airfield is on the brow of a hill and the sight line from the North to South meant that from the ground very little could be seen and a low flying aircraft on a strafing run would be gone before being spotted and the guns could be brought into action. I seem to think there was a posting on here a few years back about one in Thurrock/Dagenham area possibly by the Coalhouse Fort guy.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2010, 16:47:43 »
There was an identical tower in Chatham Dockyard just north of the bascule bridge between one and two basins. Keith the 'Amherst Anorak' and I climbed it in the early 1980's. It mounted a bofers gun during the war and in the room below the gun platform was a 360 degree diorama of the surrounding area painted on the walls with focal points highlighted. I suppose that as Observer Corps info on incoming enemy aircraft were transmitted to the gun tower the lads below could shout up to the gun platform that the enemy aircraft were "coming in over Hoo Church Tower" or "Frindsbury Church" both of which featured in the 360 degree diorama.

Solarp

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Re: West Malling/Kings Hill bofors AA tower?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 02:26:14 »
Quote
On the outskirts of the former airfield is this 100' observation/bofors platform.This was built towards the end of the war and acted as a lookout position that was connected by phone to the control tower to warn of approaching enemy aircraft. There are in fact two towers separated by an inch so that the guns mounted on the top wouldn?t interfere with the sensitive locating device mounted adjacent on the 'other' tower top. The RAF regiment and the Home Guard manned the tower. This tower is unique to RAF West Malling and is preserved as an item of historical interest.

I should look a bit harder next time! (included bofors in my search!) Anyone able to confirm this? I have noticed there is not a lot about West Malling Airfield on here, there are only a few remaining buildings of the site today.

Solarp

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West Malling/Kings Hill Bofors AA tower?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 02:04:22 »
I have been trying to find out a bit about this building in particular for a while now, some say its a 40mm Bofors tower and others an observation tower? I'm thinking it may have been the former as on the roof of the tower there are concrete containers which would have been used to store ammunition and a hole in the concrete overhang for perhaps an ammunition hoist (seen in picture 2 below) but I don`t recall any mounting supports.

The tower or should I say towers, are essentially 2, separated by around 2 inches. Surrounded by thick woodland you can just see the top on the approach to the Kings Hill roundabout. Can anyone confirm or point me in a direction where to look? Is there an archive centre in the West Malling area or Maidstone?  :)

A 1985 shot can be found on www.southeast-defencephotos.com

Ariel View:

http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=51.280823&lon=0.401857&z=19.5&r=0&src=msa

My photos from a few years back, camera phone quality again!:










Thanks

 

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