An Incident at Canvey Fort on Deadmans Point
told to me by my Father
The fort at Deadmans Point by Thorney Bay was built during the 1st World War. After the war, the Fort was mothballed until 1938 when it was recommissioned. Various pieces of equipment were added, including two 6 inch guns facing out across the river for protection from enemy ships sailing up the Thames.
The Fort was manned by the Royal Artillery (Coastal) Battery, my Father William (Bill) Bishop being one of them. He went on a number of naval gunnery courses as a Non Commissioned Officer, and on one occasion after returning to the Fort, was given the task of firing test rounds at a moving target being towed up the river. The 6 inch guns were lined up on target, with test shells in the breach, then the order to fire was given. The only trouble was the height of the tide at that time and the resulting trajectory caused one of the shells to ricochet off the surface off the water. Luckily there was nobody living where it landed – a church yard at St.Mary’s Hoo in Kent – where a van was sent to retrieve the shell.