National and Local politics from a Liberal Democrat from Gillingham, Kent
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
World War Two monuments buried on Grain
A couple of years ago a development company hit a sticky wicket in Gillingham. Right in the middle of their proposed construction site was a set of Dragon's teeth, put in place to slow the advance of German armoured vehicles if the Wehrmacht had landed during World War Two. This really caught my attention at the time as my Grandfather, Corperal Alfred Pullen, had been working on the defences of Gillingham and Chatham in 1940 and had more than likely put them there with his team of Sappers. They had also put the large Concrete block outside what was the Town hall in Chatham.
The Dragon Teeth were built across much of Kent and have sadly been cleared following the war. Their design to hamper the enemy also hampered civil usage of roads, fields and beaches!
They do, however, survive in areas and have now been Listed as grade II as items of special interest. One surviving group is situated on the Isle of Grain and these have been defiled recently. The Grain Group stretch for some 570 meters along the north foreshore and have been listed because amongst all the usual models there is also exceptionally rare Caltrops as well as anti-tank pimples on Concrete sleeper grid. They are listed with number 1019955. According to local sources (and photographs that hit the web) they have been buried under a large amount of top soil that has been dumped on the beach.
Rumour has it that the soil was put there to cover up more older refuse and waste that has been there for as long as 40 years and may be leaching out into the river.
English Heritage have been contacted about the possible damage and the covering of the World War Two and they have asked Medway Council to look into it, I understand the Environmental officers have been tasked with this process. I have also heard that Peel Ports and the LRG, who own the land and are thus responsible for the upkeep of the beach and the monuments, have also been contacted by the Council.
As the history of this nation is slowly eroded by progress and time it is important to cling on to those monuments that do bear significance are properly maintained and restored. I trust that those responsible are held to account and this area restored to the way it was swiftly.
I also trust that there are no pollutants or waste under the soil, should there be then this makes a bad situation far, far worse.