For 2 days starting on May 14th you could hear quite a lot of firing and explosions in Shoebury from Southend, nothing unusual about that but you don’t always get the firing and close weather which seems to trap the sound, at the same time. A quick look at the Qinetiq website showed much the same for the rest of the week, they used to just go ahead and do it but people complain so they have to make a show of being good neighbours.
So come Thursday, a trip out to East Beach at around 2 o’clock to try and record it from there was made, it didn’t really work from Southend. The tide was in and it was windy on the North Sea coast, a lot of that noise would get in the way of any explosions or gunfire more properly I reckoned, so ended up in the bus shelter, after I’d missed a loud explosion walking there, I’d read the timetable wrongly so had more time than anticipated, the firing wasn’t frequent but it was regular so, just had to sit and wait.
The recording is in 3 parts, first of all you can hear voices as a man gives instructions to a couple of motorcyclists, who pass on full dress Harley Davidsons, once you get out to Shoebury all you can do really is go back. Second part is the firing which is a bit quiet, the motorbikes were so loud it had skewed the recording rather so the third part is the firing in isolation and louder, this is more like what was heard with the reverberation and tearing noise. You hear this firing all over the place along the coast, it’s in the Winters Farm, Stambridge, aeroplanes A recording for instance.