Page 6 - Demo
P. 6


                                    Portsmouth
31
New Needles Battery
Commenced
Completed
Cost                  £
Map Reference
Position
Type
Ditch
Guns
Barrack Accom.
Present use
History
Disposal
Condition
Access
Sources
1893 
1895
  
SZ 300848  
Isle of Wight / West /Needles
passage   
Coast Defence Battery            
None
3       
23   
National Trust (Coast guard use
one pit)   
Saunders Roe Rocket Test site
1956-71  
Moth-balled 1945.  N.Trust 1975 
Pits, magazines and BC post remain    
Open access - magazines sealed
Solent Papers No 2
The New Needles battery was proposed as a replacement for the Old battery, which is close by, to take three of the new
9.2-inch BL guns en-barbette which would give greater range and accuracy. This new battery was constructed on higher
ground overlooking the old battery 390ft. above sea level facing north-west. Administrative buildings were sited behind
the battery and underground magazines were fitted between the gun emplacements. Two 9.2-inch BL Mark IX were fitted
in 1900 and the third was considered unnecessary. It was in place by 1904.  Two 3pr. QF guns were fitted between the
centre and northern emplacements for practice use but were removed in 1907. In 1900-02 a battery Command post was
was built on the down above the battery. A cookhouse and shelter for 23 men were built behind the southern
emplacement. A Port War Signal Station was built east of the battery, together with coastguard cottages. In 1911-14 the
gun emplacements were adapted for Mark VB mountings and the new guns were in place in 1914 although one was
dismounted leaving two in use.  A 6pr. QF was fitted south of the left emplacement for ‘examination service’. 
The battery was placed in care and maintenance in 1918 and was reactivated in 1926 for Territorial use. The battery was
used again in 1939 for counter bombardment against blockships attempting to close the Needles passage. In 1941 a Radar
was installed. In 1942 two 40mm bofors were added but one was soon removed. In 1945 the battery was moth-balled
again and was put up for disposal in 1952. The guns were scrapped in 1954 and from 1956 to 1971 the site was used by
Saunders Roe for testing Black Knight and Black Arrow space rockets with two test gantries constructed on the cliffs to
the south of the battery.  The National Trust bought the site in 1975 and demolished most of the buildings. The gun
emplacements and associated magazines remain. The right emplacement now has a coast guard station built into it. In
Summer 2005 the magazines were opening for visitors with displays on the history of the  Black Night missile site.
Armament
History and Description
www.victorianforts.co.uk
Victorian Forts
Approved 1898
 3 x 9.2-inch B.L.
Proposed 1898
  2 x 9.2-inch B.L.
Mounted 1900
 2 x 9.2-inch B.L. ‘C’  IX on
barbette III
Mounted 1903
 3 x 9.2-inch B.L. IX 
1904-1907 
2 x 3pr. QF for practice
1915
 3 x 9.2-inch B.L. IX 1 x 6pr. QF
1928
 2 x 9.2-inch B.L. 
1942
 2 x 40mm bofors (one soon removed)
1954
 guns scrapped

                                
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