The curious history of the Maunsell Forts and the smallest 'state' in the world

The rusty remains of the Maunsell Army Sea Forts  in the Thames estuary serve as a constant reminder of the Second World War. You should be able to recognise them as soon as you see the photo because they appear to have been taken from a science fiction movie and you understand immediately what it is as soon as you see the photo.

Reginald Calvert, the manager of the Radio City pirate station, was killed in a fight with Oliver Smedley, the owner of rival Radio station Caroline. Over the years, these forts became famous in addition to their military function for hosting private radios such as Radio Caroline. The British government has passed legislation that makes broadcasting from offshore areas illegal, which has resulted in the eviction of pirates and the abandonment of forts.

Forts in both the army and the navy, they were given their names after the architect who designed them, Guy Maunsell.

Anti-aircraft towers were constructed in 1942 as a part of the defence network of the Thames estuary in order to deter air raids by the German military. Each of the three original forts was composed of a cluster of seven buildings on stilts that were arranged in a circle around a command tower in the centre.

The more insignificant nation in comparison to others
Now, the only two forts that are still standing are Red Sands Fort and Shivering Sands Fort. In theory, the region known as Sealand or Rough Tower can function as its own state. You may have heard of this tiny country called the Principality of Sealand, which is located just off the coast of Suffolk. HM Fort Roughs lays claim to a platform in the ocean as part of its territory. Since 1967, members of Paddy Roy Bate’s family and other associates have been living in the abandoned Roughs Tower and claiming it as their own sovereign nation.

The family that currently rules Sealand takes a great deal of pride in being a part of their community and makes a concerted effort to ensure that everyone is content and that things run smoothly. Both Roy Bates and his wife, Joan, referred to themselves as “Prince” and “Princess” respectively. Between the years 1999 and 2012, when Roy Bates passed away, his family referred to his son as the “Prince Regent.” Roy Bates died in 2012. It is abundantly clear that this state has never been acknowledged.



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