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ISLE OF GRAIN FORT

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A 19th century fort, comprising a free-standing D-shaped brick keep surrounded on the seaward side by a massive earthen bank with outer ditch. The heptagonal earthwork enclosed a large semi-circular brick keep. It was fronted by a ditch defended by four caponiers at the angles. Three caponiers and two demi-caponiers covered the inner ditch around the keep. The fort was built between 1861 and 1868 as part of the River Medway's coastal defences and remained in use until 1956. The keep was removed in the early 1960s but the massive earthworks remain. It was armed with 13 heavy rifle muzzle-loaders mounted in open emplacements (6 x 11-inch, 4 x 9-inch, and 3 x 64-pounders). In the closing decades of the 19th century, two heavy 9.2-inch breech-loaders and 2 x 4.7-inch guns were emplaced. The battery was active during the First World War and armed with two 9.2-inch breech-loading Mk. X guns. During the Second World War it mounted close defence guns. By 1975 the emplacements had been infilled but the concrete aprons and earthworks were still present. The earthen and structural remains of Grain Fort were mapped from 1942 RAF vertical aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: Hoo Peninsula Landscape Project. These show the site with the central keep and the entire fort surrounded by barbed wire obstructions forming part of the wartime anti-invasion defences of the Isle of Grain. This barbed wire could be seen extending around and between the 19th century forts at Grain.

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