Things in Kent

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Devils Own, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Devils Own

    Devils Own Junior Member

    Hi Everybody

    I was down below the White Cliffs of Dover at Samphire Hoe today looking up at the gun emplacements and felt that I must start looking into the various installations. I have lived in Kent for about 6 years now and after having a great interest in the Great War have turned some attention to WWII as it is obviously a great place to be. I know there must be heaps of things to see in Kent but would appreciate any advice on the best and most interesting things to get started.


  2. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Hi Steve. Try some of the old Battle of Britain airfields, like Biggin Hill and Hawkinge, haven't been myself but they are supposed to be well worth a look. Hope this helps.
  3. adrian roberts

    adrian roberts Senior Member


    Not far from Dover, is Manston Airfield, now known as Kent International. It was a bit too close to the enemy to be suitable as a front line airfield - Luftwaffe crews were often sent to bomb for practice as their first mission - but various units were based there, including a Blenheim 1F night-fighter unit (600 sqdn RAuxAF I think) in the BofB.
    Eugene Esmonde VC and his flight of Swordfish took off from Manston to attack the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau in March 42; the Station CO G/C Tom Gleave stood at the end of the runway and saluted them as he knew they wouldn't be back.

    Nearby, The Spitfire Museum at Ramsgate is said to be good albeit small, but I haven't got there myself yet.

    Alternatively, come to SE London/NW Kent, find any residential area of pre-war houses. I guarantee you won't need to drive more than a few streets to find a gap with some newer houses, then the old houses start again; sometimes an old house will have the chimney flues external to the side of the house as though an adjacent house is missing. These gaps will be the site of a V1 or V2 explosion.

    (Like you, I'm also a WW1 person, active on the GWF [])
  4. Devils Own

    Devils Own Junior Member


    I might check out Hawkinge. I think my dad may have been there during WWII but I am still trying to find out for sure.

    We have done Manston and the museum already. The Museum is actually really very good. Lots of stuff crammed into a small space.

    I am really looking for pill boxes, tunnels etc. to have a good snoop around. Dover castle is great.

    I am really a WWI enthusiast but WWII is also starting to grow on me. I fire SMLE's and even bought a No.4 last week. I am very impressed with it.

  5. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    There's also Chatham, and believe me, it's not often I advise someone to go to Chatham, all well within a single day out are the Historic Naval Dockyards, the Royal Engineer Museum and Fort Amhurst, all of which cover a lot more than just WW2, (Napoleonic to the present) but all do have plenty see and experience from WW2 as well.

    One tip: The Weather isn't too important at the RE Museum, but a nice day would be a bonus at the other two.
  6. Devils Own

    Devils Own Junior Member

    Hi Plant-Pilot

    I agree, the Dockyards are worth going to Chatham for. They are good value too. If you but a day ticket now you can use it as many times as you like throughout the year at no extra cost. I think you need more than a day to see everything.

    We need to check out Amhurst next.


  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    We had a week camping in Kent last summer.
    Went to RAF Hawkinge. Really liked that.

    Also Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.
    They had the world's smallest Armoured train in WW2.(see photo)

    Dover Castle was fantastic, the tunnels are amazing.

    The Battle of Britain Memorial was thought provoking too.

    Just a few ideas.

    Attached Files:

  8. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    As several of you know I'm usually far from Blighty's shores, but yesterday I found myself poking around the Dymchurch-Dungeness area. The Observer Corps evidently used the various Martello towers that line the coast and The Pilot (fantastic fish & chips) has a few artefacts that have been dredged up locally. The beach shot is the closest I could get of the view from the tower (it is open to visitors at times, but not while I was there).

    SmartSelect_20180804-122948_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-125011_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-125221_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-122835_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-130102_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-125712_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-125423_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-125524_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-125547_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-130157_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180804-130449_Gallery.jpg

    Apologies about the quality. I couldn't see anything on the screen because it was so sunny and I'm editing the size on my phone--which is sub-optimal.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
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  9. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Worth the climb onto the cliffs to the west of Dover are the impressive coastal gun emplacement at Western Heights, and the anti aircraft battery at Farthingloe. Whilst the usual spray painters have been there, there is still some original detail to be seen, and quite an atmosphere when France is visible.




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  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Active Member

    There is a local historian, Victor Smith, whose focus is fortification and this may be a useful place to start, even if it is a few years old I think:

    For a long time he was heavily involved in this restoration project @ Gravesend: New Tavern Fort

    Victor has written on the defences of the Medway / Thanet in the last few years in detail for the Fortress Study Group's magazine 'Casemate'. Try: Thanet Defences Project – Kent Historic Defences Committee

    SubBrit has a listing of sites in Kent, not all of them underground: Kent - Subterranea Britannica
  11. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

  12. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    There is also the Shorncliffe Redoubt.
  13. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    When we rocked up at Fort Amherst last November, I went straight up to the guide and said;

    "We have come to look at a gun"
    "What, just one gun?"
    "Yep, the QF 3.7"
    "Oh... well is over there..."

    Attached Files:

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  14. ChrisR

    ChrisR Senior Member

    Also over Chatham way is a 'new' museum that just opened up for the first time this year. -
    Check its open before making the trip.
  15. 2 Black Bands

    2 Black Bands Member

    Aren’t there a number of huge experimental concrete listening constructions somewhere near Dymchurch?? I think they’re now in a wild life sanctuary.....and sadly I don’t think you can simply walk up to them......... I can’t recal where but they’re big......a huge curved concrete construction......

    Someone please tell me I’m not going mad :)
  16. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The Listening Ears is the most pleasingly mysterious of their names:

    Sound Mirrors - Romney Marsh, The Fifth Continent

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