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General News1st April 2023

Sea Serpent ‘Kraken’ spotted in the River Medway

Sightings of a sea serpent have been reported this week in Chatham in Kent, leaving many to wonder whether the fabled Monster of The Medway has returned to the river.

Estimated to be 30 feet long, with A COW-LIKE HEAD and bulging green eyes, the ‘Monster of the Medway’ was seen this week moving slowly through the water close to the dockyard.

Dockyard volunteer George Hornby said: “I was standing on the deck of HMS CAVALIER,  taking a few minutes for myself when I saw a long shadow moving across the river.  It seemed strange to me on a cloudy day to see a shadow – it clearly wasn’t a reflection! Then I saw what looked like a head rise from the water, bob and then snort and I knew that it wasn’t a shadow!”

This is not the first time that a sea serpent has been spotted in the Medway.

On the 4th October 1911 the Dublin Daily Express carried a story about a sea serpent who was trailed in the Medway by a naval boat, with a nine-pounder gun in the bow, sent in search of the monster who had been troubling the people of Chatham.  Back in October 1911, the naval boat reportedly fired shots at the monster but it got away due to having “a bullet-proof carcase” that the “shots have harmlessly rebounded from”.

Other monstrous sightings have been recorded over the years in Chatham.  Lynnette Crisp, Director of Communications and Public Engagement here at Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said: “We have records in our archives detailing the capture of a monster fish of eleven feet in length and girth of six feet’ back in October 1850.  There are also newspaper cuttings from 1911 detailing the thirty foot long serpent, headed like a cow, with green, bulging eyes, and a jointed ridge the thickness of a man’s arm running along its back.  The newspaper reported scores of eye-witnesses who gave account of this particular ‘Medway Monster’.”

The Medway has undergone some work over the last decade with The Maritime Trust aerating the basins, which has seen an increase in wildlife to the region.  Grant Leathwhite from Chatham Maritime Trust said: “I’ve had a hunch about the presence of monsters in the Medway for quite some time. 15 Aeration heads are based in Basin 2 and have been in place for about 5 years and this has resulted in significant life coming back to the Basin. We do have some fairly large jellyfish in there. Basin 1 is where the Seals, Rays, Eels come in through the lock gates from the Medway. Who knows if more mysterious life has also come back?”

Here at the dockyard, the team are unsure whether the recent sighting this week is the original Sea Serpent from 1911 or a descendent of the beast. Sadly, the eyewitnesses who saw the beast was too shocked to reach for his phone and take a photograph.

Lynnette Crisp, added: “we have alerted everyone in the Dockyard and asked all to keep a watching brief – we believe that we should find it easier to catalogue this particular monster now that everyone carries a camera phone with them these days – unlike in 1911!”

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