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Martello towers

Martello towers. On 8 February 1794 the English, with great difficulty, took a small fort at Cape Mortella on Corsica. It was little more than a pill-box but the British government was greatly impressed with its defensive potential and in 1804, when facing an invasion threat from Napoleon, began a building programme of similar forts on the south coast. They were designed to mount one gun and to have a garrison of 1 officer and 24 men. Seventy-four were erected in Kent and Sussex. Since, like the pill-boxes hastily erected in 1940, they were never put to the test, we shall never know how effective they would have proved. Surviving examples are at Folkestone, Sandgate, and Dymchurch in Kent.

J. A. Cannon

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