Page 12 - Plymouth Datasheets
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 6-inch BL on vavasseur mountings?
               Ditch              None                               1912 12pdrs removed
               Guns               8
               Barrack Accom. small shelter
               Present use        None

               History            Volunteer practice battery         Caponiers          None

               Disposal                                              Counterscarp       None
               Condition          Fair. Cleared in 2010.             galleries
               Access             Yes
                                                                     Haxo casemates None
               Sources            Pye and Woodward "The Historic Defences of
                                  Plymouth";  Plymouth Precis of correspondence.  Moncrieff Pits  None

               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 vavasseur
                mounting. The battery is part of Whitesand Bay Holiday Park.

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