Backstory – The Fact behind the Fiction

The Martians have landed!

The Maunsell Sea Forts of World War 2

Looking like the martian fighting machines from HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, Red Sands is one of two remaining Maunsell sea forts built by the army in the Thames estuary, and during World War II it housed six anti-aircraft guns. (The other is Shivering Sands, soon to be demolished in the foreseeable because as it remains a hazard to shipping.) After being abandoned since the 1950s, they’ve been standing empty, although a few pirate radio stations used them briefly in the 1960s, The forts are slowly rusting and falling into the Thames Estuary. These amazing structures feature in the latest Alex Swan mystery, Tracks of Betrayal.


Deep Down in Dover

Deep beneath Dover Castle lies a hidden secret complex. Known by its codename 'DUMPY' (DEEP UNDERGROUND MILITARY PROJECT YELLOW)this establishment was set up at the height of the Cold War in 1962, to house members of Regional Government in the event of a nuclear strike by the Soviet Union. The complex operated for the next 22 years finally closing in 1984 due to upgrades costing too much. Regional Government positions were re-accommodated in the National bunker at Kelvedon Hatch. In the next Alex Swan Mystery novel, the SID men will be descending down to the bunker to question a high-ranking suspect in their investigation into the murder of an RAF officer.

DUMPY appears in Island of Fear