Page 15 - Fort Gilkicker
P. 15

Fort Gilkicker                                                                                  Solent Papers No.5


               ‘Raising a 25-ton gun at the Gilkicker Battery, Portsmouth’  Illustrated London News 29 July 1871

           this passage except when the magazine was being    tons weight and those which had been mounted were
           filled and the battery not in action. They stated that it  mostly fitted with Mr. Cunningham’s traversing gear.
           could be no more dangerous than running a truck,   An illustration shows guns being mounted on the
           with iron wheels, along it laden with a heavy shell.  roof and the article gives details of the equipment
           They remarked that the arrangements for lighting   and men needed to raise two 25 ton guns onto the
           were perfectly secure, and where candle lamps were  roof. The number of artillery men employed was 140
           used with candles having three wicks, the light was  and Captain William Smith, Gunnery Instructor of
           ample. The employment of candles was preferred as  the 12th Brigade of Royal Artillery was in charge of
           a safeguard as they needed no trimming. Despite the  the whole operation. It took one and a half hours to
           objections the work was carried out.               raise one gun, using huge sheers 70 feet in length and
                                                              2 feet in diameter, aided by two capstans with forty
           Arming the fort                                    men to each.
           An armament return by Jervois, dated 16th. March,
           1869, showed the intended armament of Gilkicker to  The proposed armament of Gilkicker seems to have
           be five 12-inch guns of 25 tons, seventeen 10-inch  been changed many times and the actual armament is
           guns of 18 tons and five 9-inch guns of 12 tons.   rather confused. On 19th December 1870 the
                                                              Committee approved 10inch Rifled Muzzle Loaders
           In July 1870 the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers  on casemate platforms as the main armament for the
           Committee recommended that the gun positions on    casemates at Gilkicker. An illustration in The
           the roof at Gilkicker should be completed with     Illustrated London News of 25th October 1879
           ordinary embrasures with the intention that iron   shows at least four guns in place on the roof at
           shields be provided ultimately.                    Gilkicker.  A table of armaments, dated 1880 shows
                                                              only four  9-inch 12 ton guns mounted.
           In The Illustrated London News of 29th. July, 1871
           an article stated that Gilkicker had received ‘a   In 1872  the Director of Artillery had requested that
           portion of its armament’. The article added that the  designs of traversing platform for 12-inch 25 ton
           intended armament was to be 9-inch guns of twelve  R.M.L.s be installed at Gilkicker. By 1885 two of

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