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Sheppey: Action Plus Media make film about SS Richard Montgomery

It is the stuff of local legend – and now the doomed SS Richard Montgomery is being brought to the big screen.

The Montgomery was a Liberty ship, which helped transport military equipment, including ammunition, tanks and vehicles for troops fighting during the Second World War.

But the ship ran aground on its final voyage, just over a mile off Sheerness in August 1944, with more than 3,000 tons of American bombs and ammunition on board.

The SS Richard Montgomery
The SS Richard Montgomery

A month-long salvage operation managed to remove about half of the precarious cargo but the mission had to be abandoned when the ship’s hull cracked open before subsequently splitting in two.

Now, 73 years after it ran aground, the ship still has 1,400 tons of explosives on board.

This local legend has inspired a film produced by Swale company Action Plus Media.

Film and TV director Ken Rowles, from Sittingbourne, has filmed interviews with veterans on board the SS Jeremiah O’Brien at its dock in San Francisco – one of two ships which now serve as museums and still sail.

Mr Rowles and his team of producers, researchers, cameramen and editors have been working on the film for more than five years, interviewing political leaders including parliamentary candidate Gordon Henderson, historians, and the public.

Ian McShane recording with director Ken Rowles
Ian McShane recording with director Ken Rowles

The film is presented by broadcaster David Riley, with commentary by actor Ian McShane, who has appeared on the high seas before as Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

The company now needs help from the public to get the film on the big screen.

A 70-minute version has been produced for cinema with a 50-minute edit of the project for TV.

Producers have set up a crowdfunding page to raise the funds needed for marketing and finalising the production.

Mr Rowles said: “Funders will be given an opportunity to receive interesting rewards, including a Montgomery T-shirt, a co-producer credit on the film, an opportunity to attend the party sailing round the wreck with various VIPs, or a ticket to the London premiere in December.”

To donate to the crowdfunder, click here.

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