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World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite (TS2), 300m east of Chetney Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Iwade, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3882 / 51°23'17"N

Longitude: 0.7295 / 0°43'46"E

OS Eastings: 590009.62779

OS Northings: 168995.735138

OS Grid: TQ900689

Mapcode National: GBR QR8.Z3B

Mapcode Global: VHKJD.LCHN

Entry Name: World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite (TS2), 300m east of Chetney Cottages

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020389

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34302

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Iwade

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Details

The monument includes a World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite, and its
domestic camp, situated on the western side of Old Ferry Road, about 1km north
of Iwade village, overlooking Chetney Marshes and the River Medway beyond.
The gunsite, known as TS2 (Thames South 2), formed part of a chain of
batteries, positioned to defend the industrial and military targets in the
Lower Thames and Medway areas from high flying strategic bombers approaching
from the south and east. Sources indicate that the gunsite was established by
February 1940, and was equipped with Gun Laying Mk 1A Radar and armed with
four 4.5 inch guns during 1942. It became one of 18 batteries to be upgraded
to accept the first allotment of 5.25 inch guns in 1944 and these were
emplaced, by the end of the year, in four new positions to the north. In
January 1946 the battery was selected to form part of the reduced, post-war
layout known as the `Nucleus Force', with its guns held in readiness off-site.
The earlier installation consists of a north east facing, semicircular
arrangement of four octagonal gunpits, and a central command post for the
4.5 inch guns. The command post, and three of the surrounding emplacements,
were infilled after the war but are expected to survive in buried form. Aerial
photographs, and the partial remains of the fourth gunpit, indicate that each
emplacement consisted of a central gun, anchored by a steel holdfast,
surrounded by six ammunition lockers, protected by an outer, externally
embanked concrete blast wall. These, and the later guns, were served by a
five-bay magazine, located a few metres to the north of the 4.5 inch gun
positions. This survives as a single storey, semi-sunken concrete structure,
set within a concrete walled enclosure. The flat-roofed structure is entered
from an open corridor to the rear, which is reached from ground level by a
ramp at each end. Other structures surviving within this area of the site
include the generator block and attached workshops, situated to the south of
the magazine.
The gun emplacements are reached from the main gate on Old Ferry Road, via a
concrete service road, which loops around the central command post with
offshoots leading to each of the gun positions. A further loop was added to
provide access to the four later gunpits, for the 5.25 inch calibre guns,
constructed some 60m to the north. These surface-built, circular installations
are of concrete block construction, and appear to conform to the design known
as `DFW 55487', issued in September 1944. Each position was originally
embanked externally, although the earth has been removed from all but one of
the emplacements. The deep, central pit within each position is surrounded by
an upper, ammunition gallery, which provided access to the 14 ammunition
lockers set into the encircling parapet. The gallery also served as the
working platform for the crew who manned the power-operated gun, which was
raised on a concrete drum at the centre of the gunpit. The gun was anchored by
a steel holdfast, elements of which survive sunk into the top of the drum. The
operating mechanism was housed in a pit beneath the weapon, and was powered
from a small rectangular engine room, located at the rear of the gunpit.
Around the drum is a spent cartridge trench, linked to the exterior by a
passageway for clearing the cartridges.
The detached command post for the 5.25 inch guns is situated on a long,
straight track, which links the gunsite to its south western entrance on
Raspberry Hill Lane. The single storey command post is a surface-built,
concrete structure consisting of an open element at the front, which held the
fire control instruments, and a covered area to the rear, which housed a
central plotting room, flanked by other rooms including the telephonist's
quarters, rest rooms and stores. Although the instruments and communications
equipment have been removed from the building some of the original fittings
survive. These include an external steel instrument pillar, wooden internal
doors and window frames, and some of the original notices labelling various
components of the command post.
Buildings located along the track, on either side of the command post, include
a gun store; the supporting pillars of a raised water tank and other
structures which belong to the later use of the site as part of the post-war
`Nucleus Force'.
The domestic site is situated about 100m south east of the gun emplacements,
and consists of accommodation huts and other associated structures, flanking
the entrance roadway from Old Ferry Road. The majority of the camp buildings
survive, and consist mainly of red brick, modular structures with pitched
corrugated asbestos sheet roofs, together with some Nissen and Curved Asbestos
hutting. A series of timber huts was constructed along the south western edge
of the camp. These were demolished during the 1950s, although elements of
their foundations are likely to survive in buried form.
Two speedway race tracks, constructed during the latter part of the 20th
century, are located beyond the area of protection, immediately north of the
5.25 inch gun emplacements and to the east of the gunsite.
The following features are excluded from the scheduling: an observation kiosk,
connected with the northern race track, constructed on the parapet of one of
the 5.25 inch gun positions; a third, small speedway track located behind the
guns; all modern surfaces, fences, gates and structures; materials used to
seal the doors and/or windows of some of the surviving buildings; all modern
materials, vehicles and equipment stored within and around the emplacements,
camp buildings and operational structures; all modern fixtures and fittings,
and all components of the modern plumbing and electrical systems. However,
the ground beneath all these features, and/or the structures to which they are
attached, are included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Although of comparatively recent date, 20th century military sites are
increasingly seen as historic survivals representing a defining episode in the
history of warfare and of the century in general; as such they merit careful
record and, in some cases, preservation. One of the more significant
developments in the evolution of warfare during this period was the emergence
of strategic bombing in World War II, and this significance was reflected by
the resources invested in defence, both in terms of personnel and the sites on
which they served. During the war, the number of people in Anti-aircraft
Command reached a peak of 274,900 men, additional to the women soldiers of the
ATS who served on gunsites from summer 1941, and the Home Guard who manned
many sites later in the war. A national survey of England's Anti-aircraft
provision, based on archive sources, has produced a detailed record of how
many sites there were, where they were and what they looked like. It is also
now known from a survey of aerial photographs how many of these survive.
Anti-aircraft gunsites divide into three main types: those for heavy guns
(HAA), light guns (LAA) and batteries for firing primitive unguided rockets
(so called ZAA sites). In addition to gunsites, decoy targets were employed to
deceive enemy bombers, while fighter command played a complementary and
significant role. Following the end of World War II, 192 HAA sites were
selected for post-war use as the Nucleus Force, which was finally closed in
1955.
The HAA sites contained big guns with the function of engaging high flying
strategic bombers, hence their location around the south and east coasts, and
close to large cities and industrial and military targets. Of all the
gunsites, these were the most substantially built. There were three main
types: those for static guns (mostly 4.5 and 3.7 inch); those for 3.7 inch
mobile guns; and sites accommodating 5.25 inch weapons. These were all
distinct in fabric, though they could all occupy the same position at
different dates, or simultaneously by accretion. As well as the four or eight
gun emplacements, with their holdfast mountings for the guns, components will
generally include operational buildings such as a command post, radar
structures including the radar platform, on-site magazines for storing reserve
ammunition, gun stores and generating huts, usually one of the standard Nissen
hut designs. Domestic sites were also a feature of HAA gunsites, with huts,
ablutions blocks, offices, stores and amenities drawn from a common pool of
approved structures. Sites were often also provided with structures for their
close defence; pillboxes are the most common survivals, though earthwork
emplacements were also present. The layout of HAA gunsites was distinctive,
but changed over time, for example to accommodate the introduction of radar
from December 1940, women soldiers from summer 1941, and eight gun layouts
from late 1942.
Nearly 1,000 gunsites were built during World War II, and less than 200 of
these have some remains surviving. However, at only around 60 sites are these
remains thought sufficient to provide an understanding of their original form
and function. This includes 30 of the 192 examples which continued in use
until 1955. Surviving examples are therefore sufficiently rare to suggest that
all 60 well preserved examples are of national importance.

Furthermore, the HAA gunsite at Iwade is one of only nine sites nationally to
survive with its layout, including its domestic site, substantially intact,
and is one of only two such sites in Kent. Its surviving elements represent at
least two stages in the development of the site, each with distinct building
types and layouts. This physical record of the site's development is
significant, and is rare nationally. Historically, the importance of the site
is further enhanced by the significant part it played in the defence of
Britain against aerial bombardment during World War II.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Lowry, B (ed), Twentieth Century defences in Britain. An introductory guide, (1995)
Dobinson, C, 'Anti-invasion Defences of WWII' in Twentieth Century Fortifications in England, (1996)
Other
RAF, Iwade HAA site, (1946)
Title: MoW site plan: Iwade HAA site TS2
Source Date: 1946
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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