Page 12 - Plymouth Defences
P. 12

Victorian Forts                                                 Plymouth                     5a

                             Whitesand Bay Practice Battery

          Commenced            1895                                 Armament
          Completed            1897
          Cost                  £                                   1895  4 x 64pr RMLs
                                                                         4 x 3pr QF

          Map Reference        Sx 406515                            1903 4 x 12pr QF
          Position             Whitesand Bay                        1903- 1909
                                                                    4 x 12pdr QF
          Type                 Coast Defence Practice Battery       2 x 5-inch BL on vavasseur mountings?
          Ditch                None                                 1912 12pdrs removed
          Guns                 8
          Barrack Accom. small shelter
          Present use          None

          History              Volunteer practice battery

          Condition            Fair. Cleared in 2010.
          Access               Yes

          Sources              Pye and Woodward "The Historic Defences of
                               Plymouth";  Plymouth Precis of correspondence.

          History and Description

           Whitesand Bay Practice Battery was constructed in advance of Whitesand Bay Battery to the
           southwest for the purpose of training volunteer artillerymen. It consists of two batteries of four guns
           and was first fitted with four 64pr R.M.L. guns in the eastern  battery. Two of these were later
           modified (circa 1904) for vavasseur mounts to take 4-inch  or 5-inch B.L. guns.  (One source states
           6-inch BL but this is rather large and very unlikely!)  The Director of Artillery authorised surplus
           naval 4-inch and 5-inch guns to be mounted for practice purposes in coast defence batteries in 1898.
           The Western battery, added between 1896 and 1897,  consists of positions  to mount four 3pr QF
           guns. These were were replaced by four 12pdr QF guns in 1903. This battery does not appear on any
           of the Plymouth armament returns for 1893-1903, emphasising its role as purely for practice
           purposes. The Naval slides were removed in 1909 and the QFs in 1912.

           Both batteries of four guns survive intact and the original access track from the military road can be
           traced. The QF battery has a low concrete parapet with the two sets of mountings spaced alternately.
           Each QF position has a freestanding recess to the rear of the type found in most 1904 practice
           batteries such as the one at East Wear, Portland.  To the rear of the battery is a small shelter/practice
           magazine which is in a poor state, but recognizable. The DRF pillars are still in place higher up on
           each flank.
           The battery is mostly complete with the racers and pivots for the RMLs and QFs intact. At the turn of
           the century one of the 64pr RML positions was converted to take a 4 or 5-inch BL on ex-naval
           vavasseur mountings. The battery is to the seaward of Whitesand Bay Holiday Park.

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