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Maunsell Forts – Abandoned Sea Forts

Maunsell Forts were small fortified towers built in the Thames during Second World War to protect London and other Thames settlements. The forts had a very short but intense life during World War II when Great Britain faced serious attacks from the Luftwaffe. They were operated as army and navy forts and were named for their designer, Guy Maunsell. During the war, the forts shot down 22 aircraft and about 30 flying bombs. The forts were decommissioned in the late 1950s and later used for other activities including pirate radio broadcasting. The Maunsell Sea Forts were built in 1942 and decommissioned in the 1950’s. They were left abandoned in 1958 and several were destroyed after collisions with civilian ships, but the Shivering Sands (above), Red Sands, and Fort Roughs (below) remain to this day.

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Although collectively known as Maunsell forts, there are two distinct designs with different purposes. Closer to the mainland there were three-three army forts on the Thames estuary and on the Mersey. Further offshore there were another four naval forts in the Thames estuary. The army forts consisted of seven circularly shaped forts that were connected through a walkway. The naval forts have two cylindrical towers that are united by a gun platform above. Seven forts – four naval and three army – were built in the Thames estuary, and several can still be seen on the horizon today. Maunsell Forts towers are still considered among the most successful of the early ancestors of today’s off-shore structures.

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Maunsell Forts Pictures

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Image by: Neil Brown

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Image by: Neil Brown

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Image by: Neil Brown

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