World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite (TS2), 300m east of Chetney Cottages


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020389

Date first listed: 11-Feb-2002


Ordnance survey map of World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite (TS2), 300m east of Chetney Cottages
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Swale (District Authority)

Parish: Iwade

National Grid Reference: TQ 90006 69024


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Although of comparatively recent date, 20th century military sites are increasingly seen as historic survivals representing a defining episode in the history of warfare and of the century in general; as such they merit careful record and, in some cases, preservation. One of the more significant developments in the evolution of warfare during this period was the emergence of strategic bombing in World War II, and this significance was reflected by the resources invested in defence, both in terms of personnel and the sites on which they served. During the war, the number of people in Anti-aircraft Command reached a peak of 274,900 men, additional to the women soldiers of the ATS who served on gunsites from summer 1941, and the Home Guard who manned many sites later in the war. A national survey of England's Anti-aircraft provision, based on archive sources, has produced a detailed record of how many sites there were, where they were and what they looked like. It is also now known from a survey of aerial photographs how many of these survive. Anti-aircraft gunsites divide into three main types: those for heavy guns (HAA), light guns (LAA) and batteries for firing primitive unguided rockets (so called ZAA sites). In addition to gunsites, decoy targets were employed to deceive enemy bombers, while fighter command played a complementary and significant role. Following the end of World War II, 192 HAA sites were selected for post-war use as the Nucleus Force, which was finally closed in 1955. The HAA sites contained big guns with the function of engaging high flying strategic bombers, hence their location around the south and east coasts, and close to large cities and industrial and military targets. Of all the gunsites, these were the most substantially built. There were three main types: those for static guns (mostly 4.5 and 3.7 inch); those for 3.7 inch mobile guns; and sites accommodating 5.25 inch weapons. These were all distinct in fabric, though they could all occupy the same position at different dates, or simultaneously by accretion. As well as the four or eight gun emplacements, with their holdfast mountings for the guns, components will generally include operational buildings such as a command post, radar structures including the radar platform, on-site magazines for storing reserve ammunition, gun stores and generating huts, usually one of the standard Nissen hut designs. Domestic sites were also a feature of HAA gunsites, with huts, ablutions blocks, offices, stores and amenities drawn from a common pool of approved structures. Sites were often also provided with structures for their close defence; pillboxes are the most common survivals, though earthwork emplacements were also present. The layout of HAA gunsites was distinctive, but changed over time, for example to accommodate the introduction of radar from December 1940, women soldiers from summer 1941, and eight gun layouts from late 1942. Nearly 1,000 gunsites were built during World War II, and less than 200 of these have some remains surviving. However, at only around 60 sites are these remains thought sufficient to provide an understanding of their original form and function. This includes 30 of the 192 examples which continued in use until 1955. Surviving examples are therefore sufficiently rare to suggest that all 60 well preserved examples are of national importance.

Furthermore, the HAA gunsite at Iwade is one of only nine sites nationally to survive with its layout, including its domestic site, substantially intact, and is one of only two such sites in Kent. Its surviving elements represent at least two stages in the development of the site, each with distinct building types and layouts. This physical record of the site's development is significant, and is rare nationally. Historically, the importance of the site is further enhanced by the significant part it played in the defence of Britain against aerial bombardment during World War II.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a World War II Heavy Anti-aircraft gunsite, and its domestic camp, situated on the western side of Old Ferry Road, about 1km north of Iwade village, overlooking Chetney Marshes and the River Medway beyond. The gunsite, known as TS2 (Thames South 2), formed part of a chain of batteries, positioned to defend the industrial and military targets in the Lower Thames and Medway areas from high flying strategic bombers approaching from the south and east. Sources indicate that the gunsite was established by February 1940, and was equipped with Gun Laying Mk 1A Radar and armed with four 4.5 inch guns during 1942. It became one of 18 batteries to be upgraded to accept the first allotment of 5.25 inch guns in 1944 and these were emplaced, by the end of the year, in four new positions to the north. In January 1946 the battery was selected to form part of the reduced, post-war layout known as the `Nucleus Force', with its guns held in readiness off-site. The earlier installation consists of a north east facing, semicircular arrangement of four octagonal gunpits, and a central command post for the 4.5 inch guns. The command post, and three of the surrounding emplacements, were infilled after the war but are expected to survive in buried form. Aerial photographs, and the partial remains of the fourth gunpit, indicate that each emplacement consisted of a central gun, anchored by a steel holdfast, surrounded by six ammunition lockers, protected by an outer, externally embanked concrete blast wall. These, and the later guns, were served by a five-bay magazine, located a few metres to the north of the 4.5 inch gun positions. This survives as a single storey, semi-sunken concrete structure, set within a concrete walled enclosure. The flat-roofed structure is entered from an open corridor to the rear, which is reached from ground level by a ramp at each end. Other structures surviving within this area of the site include the generator block and attached workshops, situated to the south of the magazine. The gun emplacements are reached from the main gate on Old Ferry Road, via a concrete service road, which loops around the central command post with offshoots leading to each of the gun positions. A further loop was added to provide access to the four later gunpits, for the 5.25 inch calibre guns, constructed some 60m to the north. These surface-built, circular installations are of concrete block construction, and appear to conform to the design known as `DFW 55487', issued in September 1944. Each position was originally embanked externally, although the earth has been removed from all but one of the emplacements. The deep, central pit within each position is surrounded by an upper, ammunition gallery, which provided access to the 14 ammunition lockers set into the encircling parapet. The gallery also served as the working platform for the crew who manned the power-operated gun, which was raised on a concrete drum at the centre of the gunpit. The gun was anchored by a steel holdfast, elements of which survive sunk into the top of the drum. The operating mechanism was housed in a pit beneath the weapon, and was powered from a small rectangular engine room, located at the rear of the gunpit. Around the drum is a spent cartridge trench, linked to the exterior by a passageway for clearing the cartridges. The detached command post for the 5.25 inch guns is situated on a long, straight track, which links the gunsite to its south western entrance on Raspberry Hill Lane. The single storey command post is a surface-built, concrete structure consisting of an open element at the front, which held the fire control instruments, and a covered area to the rear, which housed a central plotting room, flanked by other rooms including the telephonist's quarters, rest rooms and stores. Although the instruments and communications equipment have been removed from the building some of the original fittings survive. These include an external steel instrument pillar, wooden internal doors and window frames, and some of the original notices labelling various components of the command post. Buildings located along the track, on either side of the command post, include a gun store; the supporting pillars of a raised water tank and other structures which belong to the later use of the site as part of the post-war `Nucleus Force'. The domestic site is situated about 100m south east of the gun emplacements, and consists of accommodation huts and other associated structures, flanking the entrance roadway from Old Ferry Road. The majority of the camp buildings survive, and consist mainly of red brick, modular structures with pitched corrugated asbestos sheet roofs, together with some Nissen and Curved Asbestos hutting. A series of timber huts was constructed along the south western edge of the camp. These were demolished during the 1950s, although elements of their foundations are likely to survive in buried form. Two speedway race tracks, constructed during the latter part of the 20th century, are located beyond the area of protection, immediately north of the 5.25 inch gun emplacements and to the east of the gunsite. The following features are excluded from the scheduling: an observation kiosk, connected with the northern race track, constructed on the parapet of one of the 5.25 inch gun positions; a third, small speedway track located behind the guns; all modern surfaces, fences, gates and structures; materials used to seal the doors and/or windows of some of the surviving buildings; all modern materials, vehicles and equipment stored within and around the emplacements, camp buildings and operational structures; all modern fixtures and fittings, and all components of the modern plumbing and electrical systems. However, the ground beneath all these features, and/or the structures to which they are attached, are included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34302

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Lowry, B (ed), Twentieth Century defences in Britain. An introductory guide, (1995)
Dobinson, C, 'Anti-invasion Defences of WWII' in Twentieth Century Fortifications in England, (1996)
RAF, Iwade HAA site, (1946)
Title: MoW site plan: Iwade HAA site TS2 Source Date: 1946 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing