Ever since 1944, the Isle of Sheppey has been threatened with disaster by the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, which sank carrying 7,000 tonnes of munitions just off the coast of Sheerness.
Its masts, which still project from the shallow water, have become something of a tourist attraction, although there are now – after almost 80 years – plans to remove them.
The SS Richard Montgomery was a "Liberty Ship", one of 2,710 vessels of identical design mass-produced in America to replace the transport shipping that Britain had lost to U-boats during the Second World War.
Considering the ship's role in coming to Britain's rescue, the choice of its name was rather ironic. Richard Montgomery had been one of the best commanders fighting on the colonial side against the British during the American War of Independence (1775 to 1783), though he had started his career in the British Army.
An Irishman, Montgomery (1738 -1775) was born in County Dublin. He enrolled at Trinity College, Dublin, but did not complete his degree, instead he joined the British Army in its Seven Years War against the French.
His father purchased an ensign's commission for him in the 17th Regiment of Foot and Montgomery saw active service against the French in Canada and in the West Indies, against their ally, Spain, in Cuba and against rebellious Native American tribes in the Pontiac wars of the Great Lakes.
But during a spell of leave in England, Montgomery became interested in politics and spent much time in the company of prominent Whig MPs, among them Isaac Barre, Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox. This led him to question Britain's colonial policies and ultimately to resign his commission.
He returned to America and bought a farm at King's Bridge, 13 miles north of New York City. In 1773, he married Janet Livingston, the daughter of a prominent colonial family.
Now heavily tied to the Colonial cause, he began to see himself as an American rather than a British subject.
In May 1775, and somewhat against his wishes – he had just started building a new family home, Grasmere, at Rhinebeck – he was elected as one of 10 deputies to represent Dutchess County in the New York Provincial Congress, the first revolutionary provisional government formed by the colonists.
In 1775, George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed Continental Army and Montgomery made a Brigadier General.
Montgomery said at the time: "The Congress having done me the honor of electing me brigadier-general in their service, is an event which must put an end, for awhile, perhaps for ever, to the quiet scheme of life I had prescribed for myself; for, though entirely unexpected and undesired by me, the will of an oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed."
Like the British before them, the Colonists decided to attack Canada.
Montgomery led a series of offensives that succeeded in taking Montreal. But when he moved on to attack Quebec on December 31 that year, disaster followed.
Montgomery personally led the attacking party, but approaching a British blockhouse they were subjected to "withering grapeshot fire". Montgomery was hit in the head and both thighs and died at the scene. He was 37.
Washington later wrote: "In the death of this gentleman, America has sustained a heavy loss, as he had approved himself a steady friend to her rights and of ability to render her the most essential services."
Montgomery quickly became a hero to the Revolutionary cause.
There are statues to him across America. Fort Montgomery was constructed on the border between Canada and the United States and there are countless counties and cities named after him including the capital of Alabama.
In 1881, his remains were removed from Quebec and reburied in New York next to St Paul's Chapel in Manhattan.
Grasmere, his home in Rhinebeck which he never lived in although his widow did, has been turned into a museum in his honour and is run by the Daughters of the Revolution movement.