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Author Topic: Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)  (Read 2775 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2016, 21:48:16 »
Hole and cover?

Remains of boot scraper beside the entrance.
Block nearby - trig?

Hole and cover?

Offline kyn

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Re: Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2016, 21:45:47 »
Gun holes in protecting plate over slits.
Inside the Blockhouse
Ladder to roof.
Roof.

Offline kyn

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Re: Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 21:43:23 »
1913 plan showing trenches around the battery and barbed wire entanglements.
An up-to-date ordnance survey map showing the circular mound the blockhouse is on.
A WWII aerial shot.
The Blockhouse

Offline kyn

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Re: Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2016, 21:40:25 »
Some more :)

Offline kyn

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Re: Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2016, 21:39:21 »
Plans of the Battery:


Offline kyn

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Beacon Hill Battery (WWI)
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2016, 21:34:40 »
At the beginning of war in August 1914 there was only a total of 33 weapons, of various calibres, able to be used against aircraft.  London's anti-aircraft defence consisted of just four 1pdr QF guns mounted upon roofs of government buildings.  On the 31st May 1915 the armament was four 1pdr QF guns, six 6pdr Hotchkiss guns, two converted 3" Naval guns and around 12 searchlights manned by special constables.  Arming Medway with AA guns was not considered until 1915 when the defence of the dockyard, magazines and fuel tanks in the area were considered, around this time a 6pdr QF gun was installed on a wooden jetty at Port Victoria, Grain, however this battery was badly damaged when the minelayer, Princess Irene, exploded at anchor nearby on 27th May 1915.

Sheerness AA protection was provided by various guns installed on the roof of Garrison Point Fort, two 6pdr QF guns at Barton's Point Battery and four 3" heavy AA guns installed at Ripney Hill Farm to replace the guns at Barton's Point.

Although AA protection in Medway had not been considered till 1915 there was already two anti aircraft batteries in place to protect Naval magazines at Chattenden.  These batteries were constructed at Lodge Hill and Beacon Hill and are believed to be the first purpose built AA batteries in Britain.  They consisted of two concrete emplacements, one to mount a 1pdr QF gun and the second to mount a converted 3" Naval gun.  The batteries also had blockhouses for use as the battery command post and protection against ground attack.  The battery at Beacon Hill overlooked the River Medway at the Dockyard, these guns worked with a sandbagged redoubt added to the roof of St Mary's Barracks that held a 1pdr QF gun.

During the second half of 1915 and into 1916 four static dual AA batteries were added to the East of the Chatham, these were located at Hartlip Hill, Queensdown Warren, Matts Hill Farm and on the crest of Boxley Hill at Harp Farm.  These batteries were only once armed during an anti-invasion exercise.  Each site was made up of two concrete bases each of 72 tons and hold fast bolts for 6" naval guns.

During the following year the number of AA guns greatly increased and the gunners aim was improving due to a new system of height observation and control worked out by Col Thompson the AA commander on the Isle of Thanet.  Using his method one of the guns shot down two Gothas on 22nd August 1917.

The increase in the number of guns made it possible to break up the enemies bomber formations and turn them back, this system was so successful the Germans had to rely on night-time raids to get past the guns.  In December 1918 there were 286 AA guns and 387 searchlights, the following year there were only eight of each still in place.  All of the AA defences were disbanded the following year, this was a decision that was soon regretted with the start of WWII.

Most of Beacon Hill Battery has been destroyed.

Image 1 - Anti Tank Ditch
Image 2 - Trench surrounding the battery
Image 3 - Trench surrounding the battery
Image 4 - Concrete - remains of the battery?

 

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