Page 18 - IOW.dpd
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Victorian Forts                                         Portsmouth                     36

                                          Warden Point Battery

               Commenced          1862                                Armament
               Completed          1863
               Cost                  £ 12,899 (£6,000 for drainage)  1862/3  4 x 7-inch R.M.L.s  4 x 9-inch R.M.L.s
               Map Reference      SZ 325876                          1873
               Position           Isle of Wight - West - Warden      1892/93  8 x 9-inch R.M.L.s
                                  Point                                   4 x 9-inch R.M.L.
               Type               Coast Defence barbette battery          1 x 9-inch H.A. experimental
                                                                          1 x 9-inch L.R. experimental
               Ditch              dry - three sides only             1901-02
               Guns               8 (modified for 6 then 2)               4 x 6-inch B.L. Mk.VII with 3 x 9.2-inch B.L.
                                                                          added outside.
               Barrack Accom. 4 NCOs & men                           1907   2 x 3 pounder QF guns added
               Present use        Holiday camp (closed down 1995)    1936   d  i  s  a  r  m  e  d
                                                                     Caponiers          3
               History            Coast Defence. 9 inch RML High
                                  Angle Gun test site 1885 to 1888
               Disposal           Sold 1957                          Counterscarp       None
               Condition          Walls remain, magazines buried      galleries
               Access             Permission of owner
                                  Solent Papers No 2  ‘The Needles Defences’ A.  Haxo casemates None
                                  Cantwell Portsmouth & Solent Armament Book
               Sources            1891
                                                                     Moncrieff Pits     None

               History and Description

                In 1794 an eight-gun earthwork was proposed for the site, but was never constructed. A two gun battery occupied the
                cliff-top in 1803 and the Royal Commission proposed a six-gun battery to replace it in 1860. The battery that was finally
                constructed had positions for eight guns, in two groups of four, firing en-barbette. The armament was four 7-inch of 7 tons
                with four 9-inch of 12 tons. In 1873 the 7-inch guns were replaced with the intended armament, another four 9-inch
                RMLs. At the centre rear of the gun positions was a large magazine. The landward side of the fort was protected by a
                loopholed wall with caponiers at the the northeast and southeast corners. Another projected out from the east wall to
                protect the entrance and flank the gorge wall. This, according to 1891 plans, served as a shell filling room and laboratory.
                A ditch ran around the landward sides of the fort. Barrack accommodation was not provided as the soldiers to man the fort
                were to be quartered in nearby Golden Hill fort. Between 1880 and 1895 several proposals were made to rearm the fort
                with heavier guns but nothing was done until 1892-3 when the left-hand RML emplacements were demolished in order to
                built two experimental emplacements for long-range and high-angle mountings, together with a magazine sited between
                the two emplacements. The trials proved to be a success and the gun emplacements at Warden Point were demolished in
                1898 as the site was not suitable for a high angle battery. In 1898-99 four 6-inch BL Mark VII gun emplacements were
                fitted to the fort in two groups of two. At the same time two 9.2-inch gun emplacements were constructed to the south of
                the battery. A third one was added in 1900. The armament was in place by 1902. The four 6-inch guns were put in reserve
                by the Owen Committee recommendations in 1907. In World War One the fort saw a new lease of life with the 6-inch
                guns reactivated, but two were removed in 1914. Two 3-pounder QF guns had been fitted between the right and centre
                9.2-inch BL guns in 1907 and were used until 1918. After the war the guns were used by the Territorials for Summer
                camps. The 6-inch emplacements had to be rebuilt in 1923-24 because of subsidence. One 9.2-inch BL was removed in
                1929 and the others in 1936. Light AA weapons and searchlights were installed in World War Two, the fort serving
                throughout the War as HQ 530 Coast regiment. It was retained for storage after the war and was sold off in 1957. Until
                1995 it was part of a holiday camp. The site has now been developed for housing; only the enclosing walls are now visible
                but the magazines remain under the site.

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