Thames Forts from the Air
Flyover of Thames forts
Red Sands Radio 2008
Images of Redsands by Glyn Richards
We would all like to thank those of you who listened in and took the trouble to support us.
Red Sands Radio is essentially a local radio service aimed at Whitstable and the North Kent coast. Licenced by Ofcom, (the Broadcasting Regulator) as a Restricted Service for a maximum period of 28 days per year. RSR chose to operate for only 10 days for various reasons. Mainly cost and the availability of staff over the longer period of 28 days. Each contributor gives their time for free.
The aims of Red Sands Radio are to raise awareness of the Thames Estuary Sea Forts which defended Britain in WW2. It also promotes the work of PROJECT REDSAND geared to restore and maintain The Redsand Fort for future generations. RSR is also dedicated to promoting the music of local unsigned musicians, local community events and is now becoming very much a part of the Whitstable scene.
The small number of onboard staff are fully experienced at working in uncomfortable conditions with risks attached. Each person has to be prepared to act promptly in an emergency and accept an average of 4 hours sleep! Unlike our shore based counterparts, we can’t return to a cosy home at night- BUT we love it!
During the setting up and operating periods of June and July the weather was mostly VERY poor. These conditions required us to withdraw plans for live music from the Fort in the interests of health and safety. Most people appreciate that conditions at Redsands are considerably worse than during the 1960’s so that operating in stormy and wet weather makes life rather difficult resulting in the odd “hiccup” or two, much loved by fans of “offshore radio”!
We are now looking at August/September for our future broadcasts. There’s no guarantee of good weather but perhaps a later period would be more settled. This will also depend on other works being carried out at the Fort. If funding can be raised for 28 days and we have the staff, this will be implemented. This is of course subject to the required licences being granted.
The feedback from our target area of Whitstable & Herne Bay has so far been superb with listeners reporting excellent reception, good local content and high audience figures. In our second year of broadcasting we were supported by local sponsorship and small business advertising. We are happy to announce that all our sponsors have reported a good response and were delighted with their ads.
Please see our gallery pages for images of RSR 2008 which will be updated as new pictures come in. You can also see some fabulous images on Bob LeRoi’s own site:www.bobleroi.co.uk
So until next time,
Chairman, Project Redsand Trust.
The Sea Forts, By Tim Mitchard.
This month sees the launch of a book that has taken me 20 years to complete. The book, the Sea Forts feature’s many of the pictures I took of Red and Shivering Sands. The pictures have been taken from the air and sea, plus a number from inside one of the towers.
I first became aware of Red Sands during the 1970’s while off sick from school. That afternoon ITV re-ran the Danger Man episode “Not So Jolly Roger”. This had been filmed partly on Red Sands during the pirate radio days 1960’s. In those days I lived in London, but a few years later the family moved to the north Kent Coast and while standing on Herne Bay beach I saw Red and Shivering Sands for the first time.
During those days there wasn’t as much information about the forts as there is today. However I did manage to trace the forts history. But I wanted to get out there and see for myself. I also had a growing interest in photography and wanted to photograph the towers.
Over the years since my first trip to the forts I’ve taken many pictures and have seen the towers gradually change with time. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2007 that I finally boarded Red Sands. The thing that I noticed most from my 4 trips last summer was how much the towers have changed colour. Red Sands these days is red. Few of the windows remain intact and any sign of Red Sands cat walks have long gone. However you can still see the Radio City frequency painted on Shivering Sands and 390 writing on Red Sands.
The boarding of Red Sands is very easy since the platform and ladders were installed a couple of summers ago. At the top of the second set of ladders you find yourself on the first floor. There are still signs on the doors from the war and much of the paint is peeling. The wash rooms are still there along with the boiler room. But again the inside walls as you would expect are rusting. It was good to see DJ in a radio studio once again broadcasting from the fort.
During my few hours on the fort I most enjoyed the roof. The view on a summer’s afternoon is fantastic. You can clearly see the other towers, in the distance the new wind farm and Shivering Sands, plus Sheppey and the north Kent Coast.
The reason for my book has been the amount of interest in my pictures and requests for copies. All of my pictures are posted on line here, and copies of the book can be found here. Over the last year I’ve also found growing interest from people who didn’t know the forts were there. During last summer Sea Forts 23 became the most popular picture on the BBC web site: Britain’s Best Buildings. And was chosen from over 26000 entries to be displayed at Bradford’s National Media Museum.