Page 49 - Fort Gilkicker
P. 49

Fort Gilkicker                                                                                  Solent Papers No.5


           were stored in the casemates and magazines. This is  Glossary of Military Terms
           confirmed by inventory lists, chalked or painted on  Barbette  A battery position where the protective parapet
           some of the doors, which can still be read.         is low enough for the gun to fire over it without the need
           Submarines mentioned include ‘Tantalus’ ‘Tapir’     for embrasures.
           ‘Sidon’ and the ill-fated ‘Affray’.    In 1956 it was  Battery  Any place where cannon or mortars are
                                                               mounted.
           announced that there was no longer a justification for  Battery Command  Point from which the guns of a battery
           retaining a coast artillery. This was the end of Fort  were commanded and directed.
           Gilkicker’s life as a coast defence battery. The Royal  Bombproof  A vaulted casemate or building covered with
           Engineer families moved out of the married quarters  earth to withstand plunging shell fire.
                              Preview
           and the fort came under the care of Fort Brockhurst.  B.L. Breech-Loader  Any gun which could be loaded by
                                                               opening part of the breech (or rear) of the barrel.
           The fort passed into the hands of the Department of  Calibre  Diameter across the bore of the gun.
           the Environment and was used for storage. The       Cartridge  An amount of gun powder made up into a
           barrack block was used as an office and for storage  charge contained in a silk bag.
           whilst one room at least was a plumbers workshop. A  Care and Maintenance Maintenance of coast guns after
                                                               1918 by civilians called District Gunners so they could be
           contractor working on the tower in the 1960s noted  brought into immediate use at the outbreak of war.
           that the casemates were damp and derelict but that  Casemate   A bombproof vault of brick or stone, usually
           parts of the rope mantlets were still hanging. In   covered with earth, which provided an emplacement for a
           November 1986 Hampshire County Council bought       gun or living quarters for soldiers.
                                                               D.R.F. Depression Range Finder
           the fort, but not its surrounding earth bank, and   Embrasure   Opening in a parapet or casemate front
           began to take measures to ensure that the building  through which gun could be fired.
           did not deteriorate any further. In January 1987 work  Gorge  The rear face of a fortification.
           parties began to clear away years of accumulated    Loophole  An aperture in a wall through which a rifle
           rubbish from the gun positions, casemates and       could be fired.
                                                               Laboratory   A room where gunpowder is mixed or made
           barrack block. Whilst clearing one of the lamp      into charges before being stored in a magazine.
           tunnels a lamp trolley complete with leather pulling  Magazine     A place for the safe storage of gunpowder:
           strap was found. The trolley ran along the tunnel on a  Later divided into Cartridge Stores and Shell Stores.
           metal track. Both ends of the strap were attached to  Mantlet    A protective curtain of woven rope hung inside
                                                               an embrasure to protect the gun crew.
           the underside of the trolley and ran over a wooden  Muzzle-Loader   Any gun loaded from its front (muzzle)
           roller at each end of the tunnel. By pulling on the  end.
           strap the trolley with the lamp on top could be pulled  Palliser  Shell   A pointed shell cast so that its nose is
           into the tunnel until the lamp rested against a stop  extremely hard. Used to penetrate heavily armoured
           across the inner glass partition, and shone into the  targets.
                                                               P.F. Position Finder
           magazine chamber. It could be pulled back out to    Racer Track   Curved iron track set into the floor of a gun
           adjust or change the lamp candle. The fort was used  emplacement which enabled guns to be traversed more
           as a building materials store but was emptied when  quickly.
           proposals to restore and convert the fort for modern  R.B.L.  Rifled Breech Loading gun
                                                               Rifled Gun    A gun whose bore was cut along its axis
           housing were explored.                              with spiral grooves so as to spin an elongated shell and
                                                               make its flight more accurate.
           The Fort in 2016                                    R.M.L.  Rifled Muzzle Loading gun.
           The fort is currently awaiting restoration and      Shifting Lobby A room in which men working in a
           conversion to modern apartments.As a Grade II listed  magazine change into and out of magazine working
                                                               clothes.
           building its future was supposed to be secure,      Terreplein   Broad level fighting platform on the rampart
           however in the Summer of 2016 it was extensively    behind the parapet.
           damaged by vandals who had free run of the site. In  Traverse  (1) To swivel a gun and its carriage, usually to
           December 2016 it was announced that the fort had    point them at a target. (2) An earth bank positioned so as
                                                               to protect troops from enfilade fire or to minimise the
           been sold to a new developer who intends to convert  effect of a bursting shell.
           the fort as planned. It can be visited  and viewed only  Traversing Platform  Wooden or metal platform which
           from the outside and can be approached along the    supported a gun and its  carriage and which could be
           coast from Stokes Bay or by walking down the        traversed on racer tracks. Sometimes called a Slide.
           access road through Stokes Bay golf course.






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