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Saturday May 3rd at 9.00am - Kent's First World War forgotten fortifications, a guided tour by coach and on foot
Kent Archaeological Society and Maidstone Museum host a guided tour of secret invasion defences built after Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914. Tour leaders are defence historians Alan Anstee and Victor Smith.
They said : ‘Everyone familiar with the county’s history knows about the coast’s Tudor castles; the early 19th century forts, Martello towers and Royal Military Canal built to deter an invasion by Napoleon; and the pillboxes and tank traps hurriedly erected in the summer of 1940, when Hitler was expected to launch an invasion across the English Channel.
‘But few know that at the end of 1914 work began on the creation of epic lines of anti-invasion field defences, ready for action in the event of an invasion by the Kaiser’s army and navy.
‘The defences extended mainly along the north coast of Sheppey; south of the Swale to Detling and Boxley; and along the North Downs. There is also evidence of them on the Hoo Peninsula; at Chatham, Wrotham and Dover; and even as far inland as Tonbridge. They were elaborated upon from 1915 and the lines then began to resemble the Western Front, with miles of barbed wire, trenches, redoubts, pillboxes, blockhouses and gun positions.
‘They were to be manned and fought from by a home defence army similar to World War II’s Home Guard. They were removed and filled-in by German prisoners of war in 1919 and then gradually faded from memory, leaving remnants that are only now being rediscovered’.
The tour of ‘the battlefields that never were’ is an event not to be missed, say Alan and Victor. It will be made by coach and include walks that will require ‘a level of physical fitness – so bring stout walking boots and a packed lunch’.
The event will begin with coffee and a briefing at Newington Village Hall at 9am and end with tea at Minster Gatehouse Museum, Sheppey, from whose roof there is an overall view of defended areas of Sheppey. Newington is on the A2, two miles west of Sittingbourne. There is free parking at the village hall.
Tickets £40; seniors and members of Maidstone Museum Foundation, £35. More details from Amy Adams, Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, St Faith's Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1LH, tel 01622 602845, email AmyAdams@maidstone.gov.uk
Contact details: Alan Anstee ‑ firstname.lastname@example.org , tel 01634 230981; Victor Smith ‑ email@example.com , tel 01474 323415.
Major Publishing Event dedicated to the memory of Peter Drewett:
Archaeology and Landscape of South-East England to 1066 (eds Michael J Allen & David Rudling)
This is a new peer-reviewed book on archaeology of SE England, written by the recognised leading authorities in their field. It provides an overview and review of south-east England, allowing comparison with Sussex, Surrey and Kent (and the east Thames basin) which has rarely been achieved or attempted. It will also allow comparison within and between both the three counties, and the main topographic zones of Downs, Weald, Coastal Plain, River Valley and Thames Estuary.
The book will provide an informed narrative of an interpretation of the history of the south east and re-addresses, renews and re-evaluates the work and interpretations presented previously. It will be the new textbook for the South-East. As such we it hope provides a fitting tribute to the late Peter Drewett who inspired many in the current generation of archaeologists (professional and amateur) working in south-east England. Peter published a series of major excavations in Sussex and southern England 1974-82, and this book will be dedicated to Peter Drewett with great thanks, admiration and affection.