Page 37 - Fort Gilkicker
P. 37

Fort Gilkicker                                                                                  Solent Papers No.5

                                                              in two of the old gun casemates on the lower battery
                                                              (casemates 16 and 21). In each filled shell store a
                                                              shell lift was fitted.

                                 Issue Hatch                  The remaining casemates on the old lower battery
                                     No.10                    gun floor were converted to war shelters, ten in all,
                                                              for ten men each. To assist with protecting the filled
                                                              shell stores and the basement cartridge stores, and to
                                                              help with camouflaging the fort, an earth
                                                              embankment was piled up against the granite  face of
                                                                                Cartridge Store
                                                                                for B2
                                                              the fort. This was also continued around the rear of
                                                                                6-inch B.L.
                            No.11                             the fort so that the ends of the granite wall at the
                                                                                      Issue Hatches
                                                              gorge are the only portions  still visible today.
                                                              It was anticipated that blockers and boomsmashers
                                      Shell Lift              would be mercantile steamers operating at night. It
                          No. 11                              was important to stop them in a short space of time
                          Shell Store
                                                              and electric lights were therefore recommended as
                                                              being necessary for the use of the 6-inch guns to
                                                              counter this threat. Where 9.2-inch guns fired over
                  Cartridge Lift
                                  Shifting Lobby              the same illuminated waters the Committee
                                                                                     Shifting Lobby
                                                 To Barrack Block  recommended that they be manned at night and take
                                                                                                  To barrack block
                                  Modification of the fort for the 6-inch ammunition stores
           The new magazine arrangements                      part in this defence. Gilkicker was fitted with four
           The ammunition arrangements for the 9.2-inch B.L.s  fighting lights, two on each flank, with the Crossley
           at the fort were effected by converting two of the  generators fitted inside casemates 19 and 20. From
           original  magazines (nos 2 and 6) on the basement  there cables ran out through the gun port of casemate
           level to cartridge stores with issue hatches driven  20 and up through the earth bank from where they
           through to the old rear shell passage. An adjacent  ran out to the fighting lights, which were mounted on
           shell store (nos 2 and 6) was modified by removing  concrete pads on the beach below.
           the wall partitioning  it from the shell passage and
           adding another further back to allow the fitting of a  6-inch B.L.
           winch and table lift. This lift ran to the upper battery  The 6-inch B.L. coast defence gun was the mainstay
           were it emerged on the gun floor close to the gun  of Coast Defence. Built by Vickers, many of them
           emplacement. On the old lower gun floor two of the  remained in service until the abolition of Coast
           original gun emplacements were extended            Artillery in 1956. With the  Mark 7, as installed at
           (casemates 3 and 11) by enclosing the veranda to the  Gilkicker, the Welin breech screw allowed the
           immediate rear so forming a filled shell store. The  breech to be opened and shut in a fraction of the time
           ammunition lift from the basement cartridge store  needed for the three motion breech mechanism used
           ran up through the filled shell store in a brick shaft  on previous marks of gun.  It could fire a 100lb shot
           where two doors allowed the loading of filled shells,  through 15 inches of plate at 1,000 yards. The
           the lift serving a dual purpose.  The magazine     emplacement consisted of a concrete apron with a
           arrangements for the two 6-inch B.L.s was similar to  pedestal fitted into a circular pit behind it. Cast into
           that for the 9.2-inch B.L.s. Two basement magazines  the rear apron of the pit were shell and cartridge
           (9 and 11) were converted to take 6-inch cartridges  recesses. The shells emerged through a hatch in the
           with issue hatches cut through new partition walls to  top of the concrete emplacement at breech level
           the cartridge lifts which were themselves driven up  whilst the cartridges came up a separate cartridge lift
           through the brick arches of the original battery to the  to one side at gun floor level. Also cast into the sides
           gun emplacements on the roof, no mean feat. The    of the emplacement were recesses for the position
           shell stores for the 6-inch B.L.s were accommodated  finding dials and battery.

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