Page 20 - Bristol Defences
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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