History Podcasts

Richard Montgomery - History

Richard Montgomery - History

Montgomery, Richard (1738-1775) General: Born and raised in Ireland, Montgomery joined the British Army in 1756, and fought in the Americas, at such places as Ticonderoga, Montreal, Martinique, and Havana. He resigned after he reached the rank of captain, since the peacetime army held few opportunities for him. Montgomery migrated to New York, where he got married and became a popular gentleman farmer. In 1775, Congress appointed him a brigadier general in the Continental Army and second in command for the invasion of Canada. When Philip Schuyler, the commander of the expedition, became ill, Montgomery took over and led the troops into Canada. They seized the posts at Chambly, St. Johns, and Montreal, then joined with Benedict Arnold's troops outside Quebec. The American soldiers created havoc by wildly attacking the city on December 31. Montgomery was killed in the confusion, and his remains were transferred from Quebec to New York.


The effort to recover the onboard munitions began on August 23, 1944. It had grounded amidships, resulting in its weak spot, the back, breaking. During the attempt, the ship’s hull cracked open, causing several cargo holds toward the bow end to flood.

Richard Montgomery, after whom the ship was named (Photo Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons)

Using the SS Richard Montgomery‘s own cargo handling equipment, crews were able to remove approximately half of the munitions. While reports vary as to what was emptied, it’s said the two stern holds were likely cleared. An investigation by the Southend Chamber of Trade concluded all of the fused bombs had been cleared, but this finding is considered inconclusive.

Efforts to unload the ship ended on September 25, 1944, after the wreck flooded.


MONTGOMERY, RICHARD

(b. December 2, 1738 d. December 31, 1775) Revolutionary War hero.

Richard Montgomery was born in County Dublin, Ireland, in 1738 to a wealthy gentry family. Richard's father, a member of the Irish parliament, and his older brother, an army captain, encouraged him to seek a position in the British Army, and in 1756 he enlisted. He rose fairly quickly through the ranks to become a captain by 1762, due in part to his good service in North America during the Seven Year's War and in part to the army's typical promotion of sons of privilege.

During his stay in North America, Richard Montgomery formed a favorable impression of the British colonists there, unlike most of his fellow British officers. Upon his return to England in 1765, he was outspoken on behalf of the colonists as conflicts over taxes and other imperial matters worsened. Montgomery resigned his army commission in 1772 and migrated to New York State, where he hoped to become a prosperous farmer.

Montgomery became a successful landowner, and he greatly enhanced his status the following year, when he married Janet Livingston, the wealthy daughter of New York scion Robert Livingston. Janet's wealth and family connections would influence not only the course of Montgomery's life, but also his fame after death.

As the imperial crisis between the American colonies and Great Britain heated up, Montgomery found a new chance to become an important public man in his adopted country. In 1775 he was elected to the Provincial Congress of New York, and when the Revolutionary War broke out that same year, the Continental Congress appointed Montgomery a brigadier-general of the Continental Army. Montgomery was appointed second-in-command of a planned invasion of Canada, but when his commander, Major General Philip Schuyler, became ill, most of the planning and everyday command of the operation fell to Montgomery.

Montgomery's Canadian expedition set out in September 1775, and, although his underprepared band of mostly New England troops faced a hard winter march through rough terrain, Montgomery's force was quite successful at first, capturing several forts and then the city of Montreal on December 13. Montgomery connected with another group of American troops commanded by Benedict Arnold outside of Quebec, and together the two forces laid siege to that city, hoping to capture it before the end of the year, when the first Continental Army enlistments formally expired. The American forces were weak and undersupplied, and with their siege failing, they attempted an attack on the city on the last day of the year. Montgomery was killed during the attack on Quebec, which ultimately also failed.

Immediately after his death, Montgomery's even more important career as an American martyr began. Montgomery, the well-born British army officer, who had chosen to cast his lot with the Americans during their revolution, became a symbol of the elite brand of heroism that expressed the sacrifice of the Revolutionary War to the American public and helped to inspire allegiance to the new American nation. Even the British instantly recognized Montgomery as a heroic figure. After the battle at Quebec, the British forces buried his body with honors outside the city's gates.

The Continental Congress learned of Montgomery's death on January 17, 1776, and the representatives, hoping to boost public support for the war and for the cause of American freedom, took immediate steps to commemorate him. A congressional committee commissioned a marble monument to Montgomery's memory, and the entire Congress convened in Philadelphia for a public funeral for Montgomery on February 19, 1776. Montgomery, along with Joseph Warren, a martyred hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, became the subject of laudatory poems, pamphlets, and other popular printed materials. Praise for his bravery and sacrifice helped to cement support for American independence in July 1776, and he remained a potent figure of patriotic inspiration throughout the Revolutionary War.

Montgomery's memory lived on in the postwar years. In 1787 the monument to Montgomery commissioned by Congress was erected in Trinity Church in New York City. It became a popular tourist destination and the inspiration for further writings lauding Montgomery. Janet Livingston Montgomery did much to preserve the memory of her husband in the public mind. In 1818 she spearheaded a drive to have his remains reinterred in New York City at the site of his monument. This second burial was again accompanied by great public ceremony and praise, and the occasion provided an opportunity for Americans to rededicate their allegiance to the memory of the American Revolution, a primary basis of early American nationalism.

Although Richard Montgomery's symbolic importance receded somewhat by the end of the nineteenth century, he retained his reputation as a semi-aristocratic hero who served to inspire allegiance to the American revolutionary cause during the early republican period. Montgomery, as a heroic figure much praised by the public, embodied the values of the Revolutionary War and the American nationalism that grew out of it.


SS Richard Montgomery Contains Enough Munitions to Create a Tsunami

In August 1944, the US Navy ship SS Richard Montgomery was delivering over 6,000 metric tons of explosive ordnance for use in the Allied press into France after the D-Day invasions.

When the ship arrived in Britain, the King’s harbor master in Southend in the Thames estuary instructed the captain of the Montgomery to moor at Sheerness middle sands.

On August 20, 1944, a force 8 gale ripped through the estuary and caused the Montgomery to drag her anchor and run aground. When the tide ebbed, the plates buckled. The captain and crew were forced to abandon ship.

On August 24, 1944, one of the holds breached and the ship’s back was broken two weeks later.

The ship was wrecked off the Nore sandbank in the Thames Estuary, near Sheerness, England in August 1944

The cargo of the ship included 2,000 cases of cluster bombs, dozens of Blockbuster bombs and hundreds of more standard bombs weighing up to 1,000 pounds each.

Half of that cargo was removed before the ship developed a crack and split in two. The ship was allowed to sink and has lain on the bottom of the Thames for 75 years.

There are still 1,400 metric tons of ordnance on the ship. Authorities have placed signs on the masts which still remain above the water’s surface. They have also created an exclusion zone around the wreck which requires everyone remain 500 meters away from it.

Map of the Thames Estuary with the exclusion zone around the wreck of SS Richard Montgomery, and locations of proposed airports: 1. Cliffe 2. Grain (Thames Hub) 3. Foulness 4. Off the Isle of Sheppey 5. Shivering Sands (“Boris Island”). Ordnance Survey – CC BY 3.0

The Montgomery is the most surveyed and closely watched wreck in British waters. Recent surveys have demonstrated that the structure of the ship is eroding. Experts worry that weight of the masts could cause them to fall through the weakened deck of the ship into the explosives below.

SS Richard Montgomery. Credit: British Government.

Such an event would lead to an explosion that would send a 3,000 meter column of water into the air and a five meter tidal wave up the Thames. The tsunami would flood Sheerness and the 11,000 residents there.

Ken Rowles made a documentary about the wreck. He said that major work on the wreckage such as removing the masts carries an extreme risk on its own as the work to remove the masts may trigger the explosion it is meant to avoid.

Kelly Tolhurst MP, the aviation, maritime and security minister, said in a letter that they were aware of the risks inherent in the work but that it was necessary to minimize the risk of the masthead collapsing. Residents on the nearby Isle of Sheppey and in Southend have lived for decades in fear of an explosion at the wreck site.

The ship is owned by the US government. It is designated a dangerous wreck according to Section 2 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. This means that the UK government is required to carry out regular inspections of the wreck site.

Recently, red buoys that mark the perimeter of the exclusion zone were removed for cleaning. Those buoys will be even more important once the masts are no longer there to serve as a landmark. The Ministry of Defense is providing experts to be present to guide the removal of the masts.


The Richard Montgomery

Tucked away in the south east corner of England is the seaside town of Sheerness. On the surface you would think that Sheerness was just another pleasant holiday town, and you would be right, because you would have to go underneath the surface to a spot some three thousand yards off the seafront to find the dangerous secret that Sheer- ness has harboured for over forty years. A secret that although buried In sand and silt sixty feet down within the rusting hull of a World War 2 Liberty ship, Is so potentially hazardous that nothing is allowed nearer than five hundred feet.

When that Liberty ship , the Richard Montgomery, sank all those years ago it contained over seven thousand tons of explosives, enough to blow Sheerness and all its neighbours sky high, and In credibly its still all there like some giant time bomb ticking relentlessly away. The trouble is that nobody can seem to agree whether the clock has stopped, or is just about ready to strike. With today’s attitudes on all things ‘green’ it seems absurd that the Montgomery’s cargo was not made safe years ago, but absurdity and incompetence often go hand in hand, and incompetence certainly seems to have been the hallmark of this story right from the start.

The Richard Montgomery started life as the seventh ship in a production line of eighty two Liberty ships built by the St John’s River Shipbuilding Company in Jacksonville, Florida, and was launched in July 1943. She was named after an Irish soldier, who after getting himself elected to the American Congress fought in the war against the British in Canada and was killed in the final assault on Quebec In 1775. Only a year after her launch In August 1944, the Richard Montgomery, on what was to be her final voyage loaded up with over seven thousand tons of bombs and munitions at Hog Island, Philadelphia and slipped quietly from the Delaware River and crossed the Atlantic to the Thames Estuary where she was to await a convoy for Cherbourg. At Southend she came under the orders of the Thames Naval Control and the Kings Harbour Master ordered her to anchor in a berth just off the north edge of the Sheerness Middle Sand. Considering the fact at low water there was only about thirty foot of water atthisanchorage and the Richard Montgomery drew just over thirty one feet, it was fairly obvious that the Kings Harbour Master had made a grave error of judgement. So obvious was this that the Assistant Harbour Master refused to carry out the order unless it was put in writing.

A noisy argument ensued which attracted their superior officer who sided with the . Kings Harbour Master and told him to confirm the order. The Assistant stormed out and was posted to another position two days later. Significantly his evidence was not heard at the resulting board of enquiry which did not even mention the difference of opinion. Early on Sunday morning, August 20, lookouts on the ships anchored near the Richard Montgomery saw her swinging towards the shoal as the tide flowed in and frantically sounded their sirens in warning. The Chief Officer who was on watch did nothing to save his ship, not even bothering to wake his Captain who was peacefully asleep in his cabin. Soon the tide pushed the Liberty ship right onto the top of the Sheerness Middle Sand where she became completely I stranded. As the tide ebbed the ship settled down more firmly on her silty bed and buckled some of her plates, causing them to emit cracking noises that sounded like loud gunshots. The crew. not unnaturally apprehensive about their cargo suddenly decided that they all wanted to be landlubbers and deserted the ship in a flurry of lifeboats and rafts. Since the Montgomery had stranded on a neap tide she could not be refloated for about two weeks, and even then only if most of her cargo was removed.

Immediately an emergency operation was put together and the next morning unloading started using the ships own cargo handling equipment which was still intact. At this stage there was liffie damage to the ship and all the cargo hatches were still securely in place. Twenty four hours later however. disaster finally struck when the strain on the hull became too much and it cracked like an eggshell at the front end of No 3 hold. Flooding quickly swept though No 1 and No 2 holds. and early the next day the Richard Montgomery completely broke her back. Salvage continued until all of No 4 and No 5 holds. which were still above water. were emptied. The unloading was aban- doned when it became obvious that the ship was now a total loss. Decaying, unstable explosives With the war reaching its final crescendo there were plenty of other ships that needed attention and the Richard Montgomery was deserted In the fond hope that ‘somebody’ would do something later on after the war was over. But nobody ever did, and the remaining cargo, some three and a half thousand tons of decaying unstable explosive Is still there today buried in her hull.

So what are the risks? Well most people agree that If the Richard Montgomery blew up, it would be the largest non-nuclear explosion in history. Would Sheerness and the nearby oil refinery on the Isle of Grain be swamped by a huge tidal wave, or engulfed by an awesome fireball as some experts have predicted? Would terrorists use the terrifying potential of the ship to hold the Government to ransom by threatening to eradicate the population of a small town as some journalists have suggested? Or has the vessel’s cargo now decayed to a point where it has become a minimal risk as various Government surveys have suggested? Curiously the answer lies in a mix of all these. Of the three and a half thousand tons of explosives left, most contain TNT and are impervious to seawater. It is highly probable that their fuses have long since deteriorated and would therefore need something else to set them off. Unfortunately on the deck above these are approximately one hundred and seventy five tons of fragmentation cluster bombs fully armed and ready to go. These are considered to be the main danger, because if the decking collapses these bombs could fall on top of the others and set the whole thing off.

This is not as far fetched as It might seem, Already the ship is broken into three pieces and In 1980, after an underwater survey Norman Tebbitt, then Minister of State for Trade said that the ” risks of removing bombs from the stricken wreck were unacceptable.” This statement supports the view taken way back in 1948, and later in 1967 when the American Government, still nominally the owners of the vessel, offered to make the Montgomery’s cargo safe, The Government of the day refused point blank on the grounds that it was too dangerous and that the bombs would get ‘safer’ the longer they were left alone.

In August 1981 a thorough under- water survey was carried out by Navy divers, including going right into the holds containing the bombs After nearly a month their verdict was that although the bombs were still potentially dangerous, it would be safe to remove them from the ship. Said Des Bloy, Moorings and Salvage Officer at Chatham, “it would take one hell of a detonation to make that ship blow up”.Apart from malicious or terrorist action, one of the most likely causes of detonation are the huge amount of ships that pass daily close to the wreck.

Over the years twenty four near misses have been recorded, and once a cargo vessel actually hit the wreck knocking down one of her guns and demolishing a ventilator. What the consequences of a large passenger ferry hitting the wreck would be God only knows, but repeated appeals to the Authorities for a solution have come up against a stone wall of indifference and worries about the cost of a safety operation. So there the Richard Montgomery lies, gently rusting away, probably safe, but still a huge potential threat to the communities that surround her. As one Sheerness councillor bitterly said, “If this boat had gone down outside the Houses of Parliament, something would have been done long ago. How far down the river do you have to go before a dangerous wreck becomes acceptable?”

Comments

How could people think that it should be destroyed..this is the islands only historic fetaure that no one has touched or messed around with yet..it ios facinating to know that years ago..there was people on this ship and it was floating across our waters.. If i was able to go and see this ship i would 100% because i think the site of it is absaloutley beautiful. im on 14 and i think more about this thn anything else.. people think what yhur doing before yhu go n do them..this is our history no one elses … this is what makes sheerness, sheerness .. dont destroy that … thankyou for listening x

My childhood annual holidays were spent at Sheerness (1950’s) where my nan lived at 1 Unity Street. We always took a trip round the old Wreck and heard many scary stories, like it could easily explode. This article made very interesting reading.

Having spent many years doing commodores cruises around the SS Montgomery it would be a shame for it to be removed, touched or disarmed.. Some of its beauty and intrigue is it’s danger. i have been lucky enough to have been able to be closer than most to this ship and would emplore anybody that goes close to leave it well alone.. you will ruin something that does not need to be touched..

hi i live in gravesend in kent in the summer when the tide is out some times you can see the deck she dose look good why should people muck a round with ships like this like you say its our history and no one elses so leave it a lone i often go and sit there on the beach just to see her

My Grandad was working there that night and he took the message.
I go there and think wow thats some nice history,She was a lovely ship tho,You can tell when the tide is out.

As a child i use to go to sheerness in the summer to visit my gran she use to live at 51 clyde street sheerness as a boy i use to walk to the sea front and watch the ships go by the old wreck as we called it was the thing that even as a small boy got your sight my dad use to take me on the boat that use to do trips round the wreck,, earler this year i went back after close to 40 years to look around sheerness to see what i could remember and was glad to see the wreck was still there. there is now not as much above the water as when i was a boy and it has a lot of markers around it ,, some things change like a large tesco but others like the wreck are much the same,,…
regards
henry

im doing a school project on this, i think it really is fascinating to think at any time it could just blow up the hole island and it’s so historical that it is still after all this time!

wow i remember this site….sitting on the Olau ferry in the 80’s…..cool!

I enjoy going the Sheerness to view the wreck of the Richard Montgomery. I find this historical memory amazing. Ellie aged 8.

On balance, I think it should be either encased or left alone. Things only tend to explode once – obviously – but each solution is equally bad. The act of encasing the vessel, could bring about the total collapse of the remaining structure. And if the cluster bombs detonate………. Leaving it alone could bring about the same result.
When anther

Anyone for a deepwater harbour. ammunition ship was being salvaged, it blew up!

I agree that it is a good bit of history for Sheppey, but because the ship is under the water no one can actulli tell when this thing is going to blow up, or if it will ever. But I live about 200 yards away from Sheerness beach. It scares me to thing about it, thousands of people will die on Sheppey alone.

I done a school report of this when I was at Danley, and we had to watch a video about this, the video stated that if this ship was to blow then it will take most of Swale (Sheppey, Sittingbourne & Faversham) with it and will also affect Grain and Medway, and some even said that will travel up the River Thames and cause flooding on the outskirts of London’s Gateway.

I think that the Government should do annual checks on the ship, because they are playing with lives here, from new borns to the old.

this is probably the reason the Thames barrier was built

I used to go to queenborough ant stay with my brother in chalk road for the school summer holidays.I took many trips around it from the beach in sheerness.My brother was a diver in Sheerness and Chatham dockyards and he dived on it inspecting the hull a couple of times.

it would be a brilliant idea to build a strong retaining wall around the wreck as ships these days are getting bigger and bigger and some guided by computers. one day one of these computers could go wrong and that ship could being going in the wrong direction then before you know it it would be too late. If money can be wasted on building things like the millenium dome and even the new port at shell haven in essex, why cant money be spent making our water way a lot safer.

All those who say keep the ship cause it is apart of Sheppy’s heritage or that it would be a fantastic explosion to see are mental. If those bombs exploded and thousands died would you still be saying it then? I think if anything could be done to safely remove or disarm those bombs then it should be done. And when nothing is done and it does explode I reakon all the government would have to say about it is that it was a tremendous tradegy that they will not allow to happen again lol. Even though they are allowing it to happen by not keeping anual checks and thinking up ways to get rid of it. If we all die because the ship explodes I hope everyone blaims the government cause it is there job to keep this country safe and by keeping this ship full of bombs they are not doing there job properly.

I think the Americans should come and take there problem back to the states. its not a part of sheerness history. its an American shipwreck which only happened because a bloke decided to park it on a sand bank. And this only happened because they had to hide from Germans.

The other interesting thing about Sheppey is Minster cliffs. Have they crumbled into the sea yet?

Since the wreck has been untouched for years, we can safely assume that there are no high-ranking polititians, etc, living at Sheerness??

If a WW2 bomb is found homes are evacuated for blocks around.

The Richard Montgomery is located only 1.5 miles from Sheerness and 5 miles from Southend and a time bomb, on deck are fused and ready to go cluster bombs if some were to fall though the corroding deck detonating the 3,173 tons of munitions stowed inside her holds the death toll could be in the thousands.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency convened with local and port authorities to discuss the report and in 2001 concluded that “doing nothing was not an option for much longer.”

The government says its safe but there’s have been a number of near misses with at least one vessel actually striking The Montgomery knocking down one of her guns and causing further damage to the ship.

Technology now exists to construct a temporary ‘dry harbour ‘ structure around The Montgomery (she only in 35 ft low water) and remove the explosives without the impediment of performing an underwater operation. The wreck is only monitored visually and by radar, considering the modern political climate, recent terrorist activity and the current threat level there is nothing to physically prevent a speedboat dropping explosive charges onto the wreck with perhaps time delay triggering the lot.

Why are we leaving people at risk if this had happened further up the river nearer the Houses of Parliament I’m sure funds would have been found long ago?

thinking on this,,not that its been added to for a year.
an underwater silt covered expolsion of the small amount of bombs left would not be as bad as people make out. some seafront homes may get a bit wet and a large amont of broken windows and almost certainly no loss of life . unless a hart attack from the noise. would happen .
in no way will it be the largest non nuk explosion. see google for “raf fauld” now that was big and still could be.

i agree it needs to be delt with before its to late but you know what politics are like in the uk.
Helen..

hi mark i live in gravesend in kent i go down to the isle of grain to the end by the river and walk to wards the ship it will get clearer it is nice to look at when the tide is out you can just see the deak

hi helen yes i know that but the old girl is at rest now like every one say,s yes a time bomb wait,in to go off they say it is safe but i don,t think so i am going down there some time next mouth to see the old girl i try to get some pics

i hope the wreck is being monoterd the whole sea bed of the thames is changing and many sand banks are eroding fast due to dredging for the new port

hi matthew i was down the isle off grain to day every time i see this cargo boat i just think to my self if if it just went up what it could do to every think. the masks are about 5 feet out of the water when the tide is in that is just a guss

I have spent many a Summer in Sheerness, staying with an Aunt, infact I still visit now. As a child I went out on a boat trip to the wreck. It was facinating and still is. I’ve heard so many stories about the wreak exploding and blowing up the whole of the Isle.
The SS Richard Montgomery is history and testiment in some way to the brave souls who fought and died in the war and of course any that perished as she sank.

they are going to build a museum on it

Believe me or not but my uncle was the one that kept this boat from exploding at the time he removed a lot of explosives single handedly his name is in the official book honouring him

Hi, great to read all your comments, I live in Southend and have always been fascinated by the Montgomery, just those eerie 3 masts sticking up out of the water, you can see them very clearly from here! I was recently in Sheerness and had to have a look from that side. To be honest I was actually quite alarmed to see for myself how close the wreck is to the Sheerness shoreline!! When the tide is out how close can you actually get to the wreck?, can I take my dog out there?! In the summer I regularly take my dog out to the Mulberry Harbour my side of the Thames, would love to walk out as far as possible to the Montgomery wreck, any info. gratefully received. Cheers

Please sign e-petition to HM Government “Render safe, or remove wreck of liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery of the coast sheerness Kent England”

Please have a look at & sign my e-petition
Only the government can see details of signers.
Render safe, or remove wreck of liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery of the coast sheerness Kent England. The ship sunk 67 years ago 20 august 1944 containing 1400 tons of high explosive some still in primed condition and libel to explode without warning. The wreck also may contain mustard gas or other chemical agents the existence of which cannot be confirmed or denied under a freedom of information enquiry.

I sail past the wreck frequently.

If Boris wants his airport, they’ll have to remove the wreck first. They’ll probably fail to budget for that…

Interesting comments.As a youngster I went very near to the wreck while out fishing, before CCTV. I found it quite eerie, gurgling sounds and all. It has always held some interest for me, so much so that when I wrote a terrorist novel a couple of years back the ‘Montgomery’ is a special feature of the story.
The 600 page book, ‘Tide of Terror’ is completely fictional but readers obviously found the ‘Montgomery’ and terrorist action a thought provoking aspect, some readers contacting me by e-mail to state ‘Thank God it’s only fiction’.
Could my story happen? I hope not.
Terry Smith

Interesting comments.As a youngster I went very near to the wreck while out fishing, before CCTV. I found it quite eerie, gurgling sounds and all. It has always held some interest for me, so much so that when I wrote a terrorist novel a couple of years back the ‘Montgomery’ is a special feature of the story.
The 600 page book, ‘Tide of Terror’ is completely fictional but readers obviously found the ‘Montgomery’ and terrorist action a thought provoking aspect, some readers contacting me by e-mail to state ‘Thank God it’s only fiction’.

WE LIVE IN SITTINGBOURNE IF IT BLOWS UP WE HAVE BEACH FORNT HOUSE FOR SALE.

At the time of her sinking it was estimated there was 6000 approx tons of munitions on board. Shortly after her sinking salvage work commenced,sadly no records where made as to how much of her cargo was removed.Some of the figures expressed are between 1,200 and 3,000 tons remaining on and with in the wreck.The suggestion made in an earlier post as to building a wall around her and pumping out the surrounding water would in my opinion be fool hardy unless the hull was supported accordingly, this in its self not guaranteeing the hull would not collapse once dried out. In my opinion it is infact the supporting surrounding water that is preventing the collapse of the hull.
Sadly i feel the disposition of the RM is a bit of a no win situation,underwater clearance of the cargo would be to risky as would the building of a drying out area.Perhaps there is no answer apart from leave it and hope disaster never strikes. Sometimes situations are just out of our control.
Paul.

Its all very interesting but I have to wonder if the advisers to The Mayor of London have taken this into consideration in respect to the siting of Boris Island.

Hi all, great to hear your opinions on the topic. Throughout March and April 2012 I will be working with the residents of Sheerness to produce a collaborative photographic project. If you are interested in expressing your view on the shipwreck, please get in touch, i would love to hear your perspective.
All the best,
The Sheppey Project
http://www.sheppeyproject.co.uk
[email protected]

The area should be temporarily exacuated so a forced detonation can take place. If the cargo of the RM is a safe as the government are saying then the evacuation will just be an inconvenience. However if, as the article suggests, the biggest non-nuclear explosion occurs, at least the damage will only be to property. It would be a lot cheaper than any salvage attempt.

i live on the island with my family and this is a big worry for me. they keep saying about building this airport but no mention about making the rm safe. i read that boris said that the new airport would have no affect on the rm . he must be mad ,get him down to the island so he can have a good look at how close it is to the land.surly movement from building the airport or vibration from air craft would be dangerious ,causing movement in the rm. its lives that they are playing with .how do we get our voices heard ,do they want to listen.iam not against the airport just sort out the rm first please

Mike Barker MBE ( bomb disposal) Has put his proposals
To the relevant Government Departments but has not had
any useful response, putting Thousands of lives at risk.
And billions in property damage.
See link:
http://www.national-security.co.uk

L.H.J. Wilson ([email protected]) wrote:
I was born in Southend in 1937 and brought-up there. Our family business was running excursion boats and smacks and bawleys from beach pitches and mooring off the Golden Mile. By 1945 the River off Southend had a number of halftide wreck of which the Montgomery was the most obvious. When our poleasure baots used to take daytripper to Navy days in the Sheerens and Chatham Dockyards, the Montgomery was one of the “sights” en-route – and I can tell you that – at the time, the fact that she was an partially-loaded ammunition ship was an Official Secret. There was a widespread local rumour to that effect – but there was an Official Wall of Silence – so as not to alarm the populace – because the Government had not been able to completely censor the news of several other wartime ammunition-ship explosions – one of them in the London Docks, another one in Bombay, and many older folk would then have been able to recall the Halifax explosion during the Great War. In 1946,’47, and ’48 – local yachtsmen [unaware] actually used to moor up to the Montgomery, and picnic aboard her – her main decks being then still above water – I innocently picinicked aboard her myself and fished from the main deck on a number of occasions, – before the Maritime Total Exclusion Zone was put in place and rigidly enforced.
And as for the force of an explosion including all of the sunken munitions aboard being the largest non-nuclear explosion ever – that’s nonsense, – and does your researchers no credit whatsoever. In 1944, the SS Fort Stikine carrying just 1,400 tons of munitions exploded in Bombay Docks, and did as much damage to Bombay as the Halifax Nova Scotia as the “SS Mont Blanc” ammunition ship explosion on 6 December 1917 did to that town in. In 1947 the British Navy destroyed the Heligoland Island Fortifications by detonating 6,800 tons of surplus wartime munitions shipped out from occupied Germany. And in one of the US Atomic Programme’s early Tests, the Americans detonated 10,000 tons of munitions to simulate the effects of an atomic blast.
Because of missing Salvage Crew records, no-one in authority is absolutely certain just how many tons of Munitions are still entombed in those flooded hold. And because there have been so few ammunition ship explosions in modern times, there is no “expert knowledge” about the scale of the resulting damage – the wider-spread part of which which is more likely to come from a tidal wave rolling out from the wrecksite and humping up like a Tsunami as the pressure-driven water reaches the shoals, and then the beaches – than it is from the blast wave, which – going by the effects of the four WW2 ammunition ships explosions in dock ares – would totally destroy Sheerness, and the Isle Of Grain refinery – since both lie within the radius of “total destruction”. RAF Faulds Bomb Store explosion caused a “zone of total destruction” of over 25 square miles lesser effects extended out to over 75 square miles before tapering off. So all of you thoughtless people who think it would be “cool” for the Montgomery’s remaining cargo to explode – just get a Map of Sheppey and Grain and the Estuary, take some compasses – and draw a 25sq.mile circle centred on the wrecksite to check whether YOU or your friends or family live inside that “probable zone of total destruction”.

If Boris Johnsons dream of ‘Boris Island’ airport in the Thames estuary, the runways would have to built near to, or around the SS Richard Montgomery. Else, if this plan goes ahead, the ship will have to be detonated to make safe. the munitions are in too a dangerous condition to attempt to salvage and dispose of elsewhere.

Oh for goodness sake! Sheerness has already seen (and robustly survived) the explosion of TWO munitions ships HMS Bulwark 26th November 1914 and HMS Princess Irene 26th November 1915.
Still, if it keeps property prices low for islanders and stops Boris building an airport on top of us, then maybe The Montgomery is still useful.

Who the hell cares about an airport that isn’t built yet?? Only government officials for money in the pockets. What about the thousands of lives put in danger of this, this needs to be number 1 priority. As mentioned before what if this had breached outside parliament? It is going to blow some day so why not protect our lives our children’s children’s life’s? BTW I stay in scotland but have family in sheerness and as a kid visited there very often but many years later the vessel remains and causes an even bigger hazard. It is if the government think Uck well its an next generations problem. Get it sorted.

For up to date information on the dangers the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery presents to the people of Kent see:
http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com The Richard Montgomery Matter and follow links from the website.
It is only a matter of time…..

I Think it should be left well alone

I Really can’t understand why nothing has been done about RM… shortly in the 60’s some cargo could have been removed. A little at a time. Letting RM rest. Then a little more. By now we would be looking at a safe wreck. For pleasure cruises to amble by. Divers to explore. A secure place to pay homage to those lost on the British and our comrades and on the Germans and their comrades sides. It maybe. RM can’t be left for too much longer. So many stories about RM. Have the munitions decayed so much? They pose No danger? Without knowing Exactly what is Aboard. How can We say what Should be done? Santa Rasta Southend-on-Sea


Battle of Quebec: December 31, 1775

Facing the year-end expiration of their troops’ enlistment, the American forces advanced on Quebec under the cover of snowfall in the early morning hours of December 31. The British defenders were ready, however, and when Montgomery’s forces approached the fortified city, the British opened fire with a barrage of artillery and musket fire. Montgomery was killed in the first assault, and after several more attempts at penetrating Quebec’s defenses, his men were forced to retreat.

Meanwhile, Arnold’s division suffered a similar fate during their attack on the northern wall of the city. A two-gun battery opened fire on the advancing Americans, killing a number of troops and wounding Arnold in the leg. Patriot Daniel Morgan (1736-1802) assumed command and made progress against the defenders, but halted at the second wall of fortifications to wait for reinforcements. By the time the rest of Arnold’s army finally arrived, the British had reorganized, forcing the Patriots to call off their attack. Of the approximately 1,200 Americans who participated in the battle, more than 400 were captured, wounded or killed. British casualties were minor.

After the defeat at Quebec, the battered and ailing Patriots remained outside the city with the help of additional supplies and reinforcements, carrying out an ineffectual siege. However, with the arrival of a British fleet at Quebec in May 1776, the Americans retreated from the area.


First Half of Twentieth Century Brings Industrial Growth

The years between 1900 and 1940 saw steady industrial progress and a local population growth from more than 30,000 to about 78,000 residents. Montgomery remained a focal point for cotton farmers, and livestock and dairy production became vital industries. In 1910, flight pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright built an airfield in the city and opened a school of aviation. Later, during mid-century, Montgomery became a center for packing plants, furniture, construction, and chemical and food production.

During the 1940s, Southern African American citizens began to show their dissatisfaction with the restrictive "Jim Crow" laws allowing discrimination, including the restriction of their voting rights. By the mid-1950s, the call for African American voter registration had greatly increased.


Gordy Coleman Baseball Field

Gordon Coleman graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in 1952, and starred in football, basketball, baseball, and track. In football, he was All County, All Metropolitan, All State, and All Southern. He received a football scholarship to Duke University, and played baseball for Duke as well. He signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians in 1953. Gordy played in the Minor Leagues from 1953-1959, receiving the Minor League Achievement Award in 1959. His Minor League batting average was .353, with 30 home runs and 110 RBI. In September 1959, he was called to the Major Leagues by Cleveland. In 1960, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he played through 1967. In 1961, he had 26 home runs, helping the Reds win the National League Pennant. Gordy hit a home run in the 1961 World Series. In 1962, he had 28 home runs. In 1965, he maintained a.302 batting average. He is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. He was the Red’s color analyst at the time of his death in 1994.

On April 20, 2009, the RM baseball field was named for Gordon Coleman as part of the dedication ceremonies for the new RM building. As a collaboration between RM alumni, RM families, and community partners, new scoreboards were purchased for the baseball and softball fields the scoreboards were installed for the 2011 season.


SS Richard Montgomery Matter

T he Liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery wreck. Follow links from this page to more on and off site information about the dangers wreck presents.

20th August 2020 For 76 Years you have been resting peacefully on the seabed, but for how much longer.

The Liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery is a time-bomb waiting for a terrorist to give Britain its first real tsunami and worse. This shows what could happen when a government conceals something very dangerous from its own people.

Fact : The US explosives carrier SS Richard Montgomery sank in the Thames Estuary in August 1944. It was loaded with 1500 tons of explosive munitions. The Admiralty decided to leave the wreck and its dangerous cargo undisturbed. The wreck lies just a few hundred yards offshore between an oil refinery and Gas storage facility near the Kingsnorth power station and the Sheppey coast. Southend on Sea is just a couple of miles away on the other side of the Thames estuary. Rumours about the ship and its cargo have circulated in these towns ever since. Denials have been issued by ministers in the House of Commons in response to MPs questions about the presence on board of biological, chemical and Mus tard Gas warheads. Freedom of information act requests have not been fully answered or complied with. Nevertheless, rumours persist that the real reason the wreck was not made safe was because of the existence of dirty weapons on board.

A new serious risk interesting problem has arisen, as the National Grid LNG storage on the nearby isle of Grain, has the largest one million cu metre storage capacity of Liquid Natural Gas in Europe with the largest surface silos in the world, each bigger than the Albert Hall, that would be instantly demolished by the Montgomery blast and vaporize the gas to mix with four times its weight of oxygen in the air and produce an explosive blast equivalent of 160 Hiroshima bombs, without the radiation. Destroying everything for many miles around in the UK and Europe. with the resulting loss of many millions of lives, According to Explosives expert Mike Barker M.B.E. (Bomb disposal).

The ship is huge not just 3 masts sticking out of the water which is misleadingly all people see. To remove the estimated 10,353 bombs still on board after the first clearance in 1944, 175 skips would be required, each carrying 20 tonnes of bombs!

If a little old lady finds one small hand grenade size WWII bomb in her back garden the police evacuate most of the street! Yet the government ignore this national disaster waiting to happen in the hope it will go away (It will with a big bang) instead of killing 1000&rsquos of people destroying Sheppey at the very least! They will not even tell people a safe distance to be for when it happens which will be totally without warning at any time of day or night! Security services keeping the dangers out of the main stream press in case it gives a terrorist the idea of blowing it up which In the light of current events of Britain I am (not condoning or suggesting) but am surprised it has not already happened, as from my website logs can see that the site has been viewed from many countries for years that have a grievance against the UK due to their illegal wars in their countries.

How the government in power when it happens through this or collision from an off course ship or just of its own accord thinks will put a spin on the matter at the international enquiry which will follow without the leaders or at least the member of the DFT being put in prison or maybe worse by the relatives of the 1000s people killed wanting justice for their dead families. How many of the unchecked illegal immigrants pouring into our country everyday which the government it appears is doing nothing to halt are trained terrorists just waiting for orders to be carried out?

Sea mines - Naval mines

Sea mines are another problem for the SS Richard Montgomery wreck, coming up (literally) soon.

There are two types which 100s if not 1000s British WWI-WWII are still tethered on the seabed around the estuary in full working order because of their design. These are magnetic and acoustic mines. Without going into the technical details of these mines basically they are held by an anchor firmly to the seabed by a cable and electrical release mechanism on the seabed independent of the mine itself. When a ship passes over it is detected by sound or ships magnetic field and the release operates allowing the mine which like a buoy has positive buoyancy and goes straight to the surface where it floats partially submerged. Carried by the tide and currents, when it comes in contact with anything explodes.

The good news is that the batteries which power these mechanisms on the seabed have gone dead many years ago so passing ships will not trigger them. But the bad news is that after 70-100 years since WWI-WWII the steel CABLE between the mine and its release device which was only designed to last a short time will have become frayed and rusty and in a storm or just on its own with the pull of the mine on it, as many do over the past years at random BREAK releasing the mine to the surface floating into the Montgomery wreck or other shipping without warning. This will become more and more frequent as time goes on. These mines cannot be cleared without divers or mini subs as normal sweeping techniques no longer can be used due to the dead batteries so cannot be remotely released.
Second (first?) worst case scenario hits full gas tanker as it passes near wreck or gas terminal.

The normalcy bias, or normality bias

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations.
&ldquoThe assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation. which for some strange reason appears to be happening in this case, which suddenly will become too little too late.
Which brings me to, although being carried out this appears to be a case of too little too late with public not being informed of progress if any on the matter. With the clock ticking as they say, time is running out.


General Richard Montgomery

Montgomery, Richard, a distinguished general in the American War of Independence, was born near Raphoe, County of Donegal, 2nd December 1736. His father was member of Parliament for Lifford. Entering the army at eighteen years of age, his courage and capacity at the siege of Louisburg won the approval of Wolfe, under whom he served at the taking of Quebec from the French in 1759, and his regiment formed part of the force sent with Amherst to reduce the French forts on Lake Champlain.

Montgomery became adjutant of his regiment, 15th May 1760 and was in the army that marched upon Montreal under Colonel Haviland. Two years afterwards he was appointed captain, and served in the expedition against the Spanish West Indies. Having returned home, he, in 1772, sold his commission, went back to America, purchased a small estate at Rhinebeck, on the Hudson, married, and settled down to cultivate those arts of peace which he was naturally best qualified to enjoy.

In April 1775 he was selected as a delegate to the first Provincial Convention in New York, where he distinguished himself by promptness of decision and soundness of judgment. In the autumn of the same year he reluctantly accepted from Congress the appointment of Brigadier-General, reconciling himself to the abandonment of his scheme of a quiet life by the consideration that "the will of an oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed." Ordered by Washington to take part in an expedition against Canada, he was attended as far as Saratoga by his beloved wife, whose fears he soothed by his cheerfulness and good humour.

Owing to the illness and incompetency of General Schuyler, Mongomery was obliged to take supreme command of the expedition. He had great difficulties to contend with, from the insubordination and want of patriotism of his troops yet, on 3rd November 1775 he took Fort St. John, after a siege of fifty days, on the 12th entered Montreal, and on the 5th December effected a junction with Arnold under the walls of Quebec. The town, defended by a garrison of 2,500 men, with batteries of 200 cannon, was immediately besieged by Montgomery's small force of 1,200 men. Many of his troops, disheartened by severe cold and protracted marches, were on the point of mutiny, and their guns were few in number and insufficient in size. At a council of officers it was determined to attempt to capture Quebec by a coup-de-main.

The assault took place early on the morning of 31st December, in the midst of a snow storm, and would probably have been successful, but for the fall of the gallant leader, who, with two of his aides, was killed by the first discharge of a battery against which they advanced up a steep ascent. His troops, disheartened by his death, retreated, and a desultory blockade of the town (extending over some months) was eventually raised. Montgomery was aged 39 when he fell. His funeral was attended, with every mark of respect, by the Governor and officers of the garrison. The small wooden house in Quebec where his remains were laid out is still shown, and an inscription on the cliff marks where he fell. His loss was deeply mourned all over the States, and his memory was eulogized in the British Parliament by Lord Chatham, Burke, and Barre. Lord North having spoken of him as "only a brave, able, humane, and generous rebel," Fox retorted: "The name of rebel is no certain mark of disgrace all the great assertors of liberty, the saviours of their country, the benefactors of mankind in all ages, have been called rebels."

Bancroft, the American historian, says of Montgomery: "He was tall and slender, well-limbed, of graceful address, and a strong and active frame. He could endure fatigue and all changes and severities of climate. His judgment was cool, though he kindled in action, imparting confidence and sympathetic courage. Never himself negligent of duty, never avoiding danger, discriminating and energetic, he had the power of conducting freemen by their voluntary love and esteem. An experienced soldier, he was also well versed in letters, particularly in natural science. In private life he was a good husband, brother, and son, an amiable and faithful friend."

His body was ultimately exhumed and buried in Washington, and Congress voted money to erect the monument to him which stands in front of St. Paul's Church, New York. Montgomery's widow survived him for more than half a century. His brother, Alexander, commonly called "Black Montgomery," sat in the Irish Parliament for many years as member for the County of Donegal.

Montgomery, Richard &mdash His remains were buried within the walls of Quebec, and were in 1818, at the request of his widow, disinterred and entombed in New York.[233]

18a. Bancroft, George, History of the United States. 10 vols. Boston, 1862-'74.

37a. Biographical Dictionary&mdashAmerican Biography: Francis S. Drake. Boston, 1876.

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.

349. Worthies of Ireland, Biographical Dictionary of the: Richard Ryan. 2 vols. London, 1821. Wyse, Thomas, see No. 73.

List of site sources >>>


Watch the video: Wrecks Around Britain - SS Richard Montgomery (January 2022).