A Loyal Spy

pre-order

A Loyal Spy

Why I wrote A Loyal Spy

Facts behind the fiction

Sources

Miranda's clues

 

The Montgomery

A Loyal Spy

Facts behind the fiction

The SS Montgomery - a bomb waiting to explode?

‘Only the British would keep thirteen thousand unexploded aircraft bombs on board an unstable wreck smack bang in one of the country’s busiest shipping lanes at the entry point to your administrative and financial heartland. What did you think it was … a museum? Yet one more memorial to a war that ended more than half a century ago? Is everything in this damn city a museum or a mausoleum? As far as I can see, up to now the only thing that has stood between London and total annihilation is a failure of imagination on the part of the terrorists.’ A Loyal Spy
The SS Richard Montgomery was an American Liberty ship built to carry cargo during World War II. The Montgomery was wrecked off the Thames Estuary in August 1944 with around 6,000 tons of ammunition on board. A month-long salvage operation removed roughly half the munitions before the ship was abandoned and it broke into two separate parts. She currently lies in seven meters of water on a sand bank about a mile north of the town of Sheerness in Kent. At low tide, her rusted masts are visible above the water.
Due to the presence of more than three thousand tons of ammunition, the ship is monitored by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. In 1973 it became the first wreck designated as dangerous under section 2 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 and there is an exclusion zone around it monitored visually and by radar. The wreck site is regularly surveyed by dive teams to assess the stability of the structure.
In March 2004, The Sunday Times Magazine reported that 'Some
say the ship has been made safe by time and tide. Others disagree. They say that if the ship did go up, she would create a tidal wave across the flat expanses of the Kent coast — and one of the largest non-nuclear explosions the world has ever seen.'
The Montgomery wouldn't be the first Liberty ship to blow up. In 1947, the SS Grandcamp was docked in Texas City when her cargo of ammonium nitrate blew up. The explosion, heard 150 miles away, killed almost 600 people. It sent up a 4,000ft-high fireball and knocked two light aircraft out of the sky. It even created a tidal wave, which lifted a barge 200ft inland. It still ranks as the United States' worst industrial accident.
Read the 2005 survey report of the SS Richard Montgomery