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Google Earth Plug-in: Cliffe Fort

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Cliffe Fort is a Royal Commission fort built in the 1860s on the edge of the Cliffe marshes to protect against invasion via the Thames. It is opposite Coalhouse Fort in Essex. They are 2km apart. Construction was difficult due to the marshy ground and the malaria carrying mosquitos. It was armed with 12.5” and 11” RML’s, weighing around 35 tons. Protection of these guns was provided by granite faced casemates with shields for added defence. These shields, casemates and the rails on which the gun carriages stood are all still visible today.

A Brennan Torpedo station was added in 1890. This was a wire guided missile, experimentally being used for harbour defence, the rails of one is still visible at low water. This was replaced around 1910 with quick firing guns. The fort was armed in World War I and was used as an anti-aircraft battery in World War II. It is now inside a gravel extraction site and is inaccessible and very overgrown, and can only be viewed from the riverside path.

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