Page 2 - Plymouth Defences
P. 2

Victorian Forts                                                 Plymouth                     1

                                             Crownhill Fort

          Commenced            1862                                 Armament
          Completed            1869
          Cost                  £ 76,409                            Constructed for 32 guns
          Map Reference        SX 487/592                           7 x 64pr. R.M.L.
          Position             North Eastern Defences               11 x 7-inch R.B.L.
                                                                    14 x 32pr. S.B.B.L.
          Type                 Land front, polygonal                movable - 6 x 25pr. R.M.L.
          Ditch                Dry
          Guns                 32 on  ramparts, 15 in caponiers
          Barrack Accom. built for 300 men
          Present use          Landmark Trust, some areas rented
                               out as work units - open to visitors.
          History              WW1 recruitment & transit depot,     Caponiers           1 double 5 single
                               later HQ Plymouth Garrison R.E.
          Disposal             1985/6                               Counterscarp        None
          Condition            Good, parts still under restoration  galleries
          Access               By arrangement with Landmark
                               Trust                                Haxo casemates 1 double 4 single
          Sources              Crownhill Fort D.Moore & P. Cobb
                                                                    Moncrieff Pits      2

          History and Description

           Crownhill Fort was constructed, as a result of the 1860 Royal Commission, to occupy the hill from
           which it got its name. It was the key of the North Eastern Defences and was designed for an
           armament of 32 guns on the ramparts, some in Haxo casemates, with 6 mortars in two mortar
           batteries built into the north and north west ramparts. It has the usual polygonal trace of the 1860s
           land forts with  a deep dry ditch cut into the native rock and caponiers at the salients.
           The armament of the fort was revised and updated in in 1875-80 and in 1878-82 the south caponier
           was used to formulate the approved drill for the 32pr. S.B.B.L. guns. In 1881 the fort was chosen by
           the Lieut General of Artillery and Stores to be fully armed, with its peace armaments complete, as a
           typical land fort, together with Southwick Fort at Portsmouth.
           The fort was used during WW1 as a recruitment and transit depot for troops en-route to their Turkish
           and African Fronts. Later during the inter-war years it was first a de-mobilisation depot, and after that
           a base for the (then) new Corps of Royal Signals, a barrack for the 2nd. battalion the Royal
           Devonshire Regiment, until WW2 when, after Dunkirk it was converted into a strong point in the
           ‘Plymouth Outer Ring Defences’.
           During the 1950s under ‘Operation Rotor’ it had a Gun Operations Room (G.O.R.), built for AA
           Command, on the parade ground which incorporated part of the Officers barrack. Latterly it was the
           H.Q. for Plymouth Garrison and the H.Q. of the Commando Support Squadron R.E. and despatched
           647 troops and 1,897 tonnes of War material during the 1982 war. It was released 1985/6 and
           acquired by the Landmark Trust, who are actively conserving and restoring it.

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