Haile Sand & Bull Sand Forts
Standing on Cleethorpes beach you can look across the Humber Estuary and spot the two Humber forts. The outbreak of the First World War led to a review of coastal defences along the east coast. The Humber Estuary was assigned as a ‘safe muster area’ for convoys and as such, a number of defences were built to control the entrance.
It took more than four years to build the circular Bull Sand Fort, the larger of the two forts, which was constructed on top of a submerged sandbank. It was quite a complex construction that by the time it was finished, the war had ended. The forts had sufficient accommodation to house 200 men with fresh water pumped in from a natural stream below the seabed. The fort was mothballed until 1939 when it was manned by the East Riding Heavy Artillery Regiment and the fort’s armament was modified to include two quick firing guns.
Haile Sand Fort was built on a hexagonal concrete foundation on a sandbank and was operational by 1917. The four storey, circular concrete fort was covered in a light steel armour. It has a two-storey central battery observation tower and was originally armed with two quick firing guns. It was also garrisoned by the East Riding Heavy Artillery Regiment from 1939 onwards.
Both forts were decommissioned in 1956 and are both abandoned.
More information about the forts can be found at www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk