Help bring Swale’s military history to life

Local residents and communities have the unique opportunity to help piece together the fascinating story of how Swale was defended in the 20th century thanks to a new project, managed and co-ordinated by Kent County Council and funded by London Array.

Swale played a key role in the defence of the nation in both world wars and was strategically important in the years before and after.  The remains of coastal defences, the naval dockyard at Sheerness, stop lines and pillboxes, gun positions, decoy sites and air-raid shelters are just a few of the numerous remains that survive in the area, many of which are currently unrecorded.

Barrie Englishby, Production Manager at London Array, said: “Swale was very much on the frontline during the 20th century – and we saw evidence of that during the construction of our onshore electricity substation at Graveney, near Faversham.  We are pleased to be able to support Kent County Council and the local community in uncovering this proud military heritage.”

Local community history groups, museums and researched gathered together on Saturday 16th February at the UK Paper Leisure Club in Sittingbourne to hear about the project and how they could get involved.  The response from the groups was overwhelming, but the project team is still looking for volunteers to help them map the crucial history and piece together the puzzle.

Anyone interested in helping out, whether it be helping with the research, taking part in activities or even sharing their stories, should contact Simon Mason on 01622 221539 or email simon.mason@kent.gov.uk.

As well as the research there should be plenty of opportunities to see the results of the work and participate in activities through the course of the project, which aims to be completed in 2014 to coincide with the Great War centenary.  Already research is uncovering fascinating detailed information about the defences of Sheppey at that time.  The final discoveries will be available for download from the web to help further local research, for schools to use in their curriculum activities, and for anyone who is interested in the district’s history.

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