Page 34 - Fort Burgoyne
P. 34

Fort Burgoyne                                                                                              Dover Papers No.1




        caponier unnecessary at the Eastern Wing Battery with a  guns in the fort, or from as many complete gun groups
        consequent saving in cost. It seems to have taken a while  as was possible. Station practice was to be carried out
        to decide this, for a passage exists on the Eastern Wing  annually from half the forts in the district. This practice
        Battery, descending from the terreplein to what would be  was to ensure not only instruction but also to test
        the approximate level of the ditch, suggesting that a  thoroughly the working condition of the mountings and
        caponier was at first envisaged. At the Western Wing   gears as well as the fitments and accessories of the fort,
        Battery, all that remained to be decided was :         the supply of ammunition and the means for firing the
         the gun crews and to ensure that the guns were in perfect Preview
          “Shall you build a bridge across the ditch that runs  guns generally.
          down from the main work to the Western Wing
          battery?‘                                            Life in the fort
          “Yes”                                                In 1872 a deliberate suicide took place at Fort Burgoyne
          “Is it included in the estimate?‘                    when a Colour Sergeant  Curran of the Second Battalion
          “There will be funds enough in the general estimate to  3rd Buffs ‘blew out his brains’ after a disagreement with
          cover the expense of it.”                            the caterer of the mess.
          “Is it to be a drawbridge or standing bridge?”       On Easter Monday in April 1876 A Volunteer Review, a
          “The kind of bridge is not yet decided. It           popular spectacle in Victorian England, was carried out
          may be a standing arched bridge.”                    at Dover. The Times newspaper gave a detailed report
          “Are the details for the bridge for crossing the ditch  on the event as follows:  In previous years the event was
          yet settled?‘                                        attended by Dover troops together with others stationed
          “No”                                                 at Shorncliffe, Canterbury and Walmer but this resulted
                                                               in farmers complaining of damage to their growing
         Manning the guns                                      crops and injury to their livestock. There was difficulty
         When the forts and coast defence batteries to defend the  in raising a compensation fund so the force that was
         major dockyards of the U.K. were complete the question  engaged that year consisted of the Dover Garrison and
         of finding enough regular garrison artillerymen to work  the local Volunteer forces with the movements restricted
         the guns required for these defences presented quite a  to the drill-field and land within the range of Fort
         problem. Fortunately the revival of the Volunteer     Burgoyne. Volunteer reviews normally took the form of
         movement was a result of  three main factors, namely  mass troop movements on two sides representing an
         the invasion panic, concern about the state of the regular  attack force and a defence force. The newspaper report
         army and a wish to revive the ‘old constitutional force,  referred to Fort Burgoyne as ‘an outlying fort of modern
         the militia. The impetus came from outside the regular  construction, designed as a defence of the Castle and
         army, moreover it would avoid the expenditure of      Western Heights  from an attack by an enemy advancing
         increasing both the regular army and militia. So the forts  from Deal, and is armed with heavy breech-loading
         were to be manned by the Royal Garrison Artillery     Armstrong guns’. During the review the guns in the fort
         supplemented by the Volunteers who trained on the guns  were manned by the Cinque Ports Artillery Volunteers
         during Summer camps under the direction of regular    form Dover, Ramsgate, Deal, Walmer, Sandwich and
         garrison gunners. For the rest of the year the guns were  Folkestone. The Castle works were defended by the 104
         put into care and maintenance. For most of the life of the  Fusiliers, the 24th Regiment, the 5th East Kent Rifle
         fort the barracks at Burgoyne were used, not by Garrison  Volunteers, the 3rd Brigade of Artillery and the
         Artillery but by Infantry regiments. Like all the land  Engineers, while the attacking force was represented by
         front forts at Portsmouth and Plymouth Dover saw many  the 78th Highlanders. The general idea was that an
         regiments come and go as they moved around the U.K.   enemy, having landed at Deal and laid siege to Fort
         and in and out of the ports to the colonies and overseas  Burgoyne and the Castle, had silenced most of their
         stations. The guns were maintained by a local Garrison  guns and had effected a breach. They had then passed
         Artillery company and were fired regularly as called for  forward an assaulting party, represented by the 78th
         in Station Practice regulations. All guns in the fort were  Highlanders, and had advanced to the attack. The
         fired three times consecutively every other year to train  garrison made a sortie in force  covered by all the guns
                                                               which could be brought to bear on the enemy, and,
         working order. The Regulations stated that three rounds  advancing across the drill-field, drove back the enemy,
         were to be fired on the same day from the whole of the  occupied the ground held by the enemy’s skirmishers




                                                           30
   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39