Page 20 - IOW.dpd
P. 20

Victorian Forts                                         Portsmouth                     39

                                      Sandown Barrack Battery

               Commenced          April 1861                          Armament
               Completed          September 1863
               Cost                  £ 62,331                        5 x 64pdr RML
               Map Reference      SZ 594837                          1892 to 1901  2 x10-inch RML
               Position           Isle of Wight / South, Sandown                 & 2 x 64pdr RML
                                  Bay                                1901 to 1907 2 x 6-inch BL Mk VII
               Type               Sea Battery                                    2 x 12pdr QF
               Ditch              Dry                                1907 to 1910 2 x 6-inch BL Mk VII
               Guns               5 (later 4)                        1910 to 1916 2 x 6-inch BL Mk VII M.I.R.
               Barrack Accom. 3 in guard room (nearby barracks for   1916        Gun barrels removed
               Present use        men)                               1926        Mountings and shields removed
                                  Public garden and teashop
               History                                               Caponiers          2
                                  Coast defence
               Disposal                                              Counterscarp       None
               Condition          to Local Authority                 galleries
               Access             parts remain
                                  Public garden                      Haxo casemates None
               Sources            1891 Armament book: Material in PRO
                                  WO33, 78, 192, 199, 396 CAB 3, 13 & 18  Moncrieff Pits  None

               History and Description

                Sandown Barrack Battery was constructed as part of the Royal Commission defences of the Isle of Wight. It stands on the
                edge of a cliff, 140 feet above the sea and about 1,500 yards to the west of Sandown Fort. It was first armed with 5 x
                7-inch R.B.L. guns on a parapet close to the cliff and it was considered that the sea washing at the base of the cliff would
                soon cause the parapet to be endangered. These were replaced by five 64pr RMLs by 1880.
                In 1891 the main armament of the fort was 2 x 10-inch R.M.L. guns on long range mountings, fitted to barbette
                emplacements retired from the cliff edge, with 2 x 64pr. R.M.L.s as support.   The ditch of the fort extends around it on
                the landward side, with a Carnot wall and caponiers defending the two flanks, the seaward face being protected by the
                high cliff on which the battery stands. The landward face has a gateway with drawbridge in its centre, on the left of which
                was the guardroom, whilst on the right was the artillery general store. Shell stores were situated in right flank where it
                joins the gorge with a cartridge store underneath and halfway between the two 10-inch emplacements. Two DRF pedestals
                were situated within the fort with a Position Finding Cell outside and to the left of the fort.
                Between 1891 and 1892 the battery was partially reconstructed to take two 10-inch RML guns from Sandown Fort. These
                replaced three of the 64pdrs. Further work took place between 1901 and 1902 when the battery was completely
                remodelled to take two 12pdr QF and two 6-inch BL Mk VII guns. The 12pdrs were reduced to practice status after 1907
                and the 6-inch classed as in  reserve three years later. In September 1916 the barrels of all four guns were removed and the
                mountings and shields in 1926. By the end of the decade the battery had been handed over to local authority as surplus to
                The fort is now a flower garden.  It is rumoured that the two 10-inch guns are still buried close by.

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