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terryb

big guns at st margarets, kent

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There were quite a few very large calibre gun installations at the st margarets, and bearing in mind the hilly terrain, how did they get such large calibre ammunition to the batteries, and  how was it moved from the magazines to the guns?

The gun sites are open to the public, but its a puzzle as to how they shifted 15" shells around? 

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usually a railway system was used to move the ammunition around,  lots of the old fortifications/emplacements,magazines  have bits of track still visible set in the floor.

Found this IWM painting of one of the 14" Dover guns showing the large shells on a narrow gauge railway alongside  what looks like standard gauge track

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/11419

Edited by Nick Johns

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The Battle of Britain Memeorial site at Capel Le Ferne  is on the site of an 8 inch battery above Dover. There are sound mirrors and various observation posts along the cliffs in the area sa well.

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The rail complex serving the gun batteries including Wanstone are covered here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Mill#Martin_Mill_Military_Railway

The additional link to the Cross channel guns has good photos of the various pieces of ordnance (and show rail lines)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dover_Strait_coastal_guns

The lines were standard gauge as rail mounted cranes (those used for accident recovery) were the only means of doing barrel changes.

The lines around Dover and up to Canterbury were used for the recovered/refurbished railway guns that had been held in storage after WW1 and pressed into service.

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thank you-I never knew they used small tugs and trolleys! but it does make sense. National Trust now owns large areas at st margarets and its good to see gunsites Jane and Clem now being excavated and restored

 

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NT have also opened up the amazingly preserved Fan Bay Deep shelters where the Gun crews lived, they are a long walk along cliff path but worth a visit

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Hello. To confirm, National Trust now own the Jane and Clem gun sites. Clem ownership is segmented with the previous owner at Wanstone Farm adjoining the site, which remains wholly private and access is not welcomed. Neither gun sites or D2 are in public access land or accessible in a public right of way.

Jane and D2 are private sites which are both enclosed within a perimeter fence that does not provide any pedestrian gates and therefore no provision of access at anytime. Climbing these fences and the installed field gates is trespass, while filming and photographing without authorisation is monitored closely. Additionally drones are forbidden across the entire NT portfolio and are actively discouraged for the benefit of birdlife in the Wanstone acquisition.

The sites have survived in remarkable condition for decades, given the previous wholly private and patrolled ownership within a farming operation. It also remains now as a wildlife haven and parts are a Special Site of Scientific Interest. NT and the community obviously would very much like to keep the structures in this existing condition and with respect, asks for no publicity, actively discouraging access at this point of time. Such visitors as youtuber vloggers, aided only with self importance, google at hand and unsourced facts/personal opinion, have only brought increasing problems for the site and provided false information without NT's authorisation or consideration. Soon after those videos, vandalism and theft had taken place, unnecessarily damaging original features which are now lost forever or will require additional costs and volunteer hours for repair.

To help NT uncover and preserve the entire site of Jane and eventually Clem, then to open for public access, further donations and grants will need to be actively sought. On the point of sourced factual research, as it was for Fan Bay Battery, NT are blessed with keen volunteers who are visiting nationwide archives and resident collectors who have provided the complete technical / human story of Wanstone Battery and D2. It is being actively compiled for internal purposes, with mind of local archives and future public interpretation.

Fan Bay Deep Shelter with the adjoining sound mirrors in Fan Hole is now open for public access (seasonal opening times). The tunnel entrance and sound mirrors were uncovered and restored by NT with considerable grants, heritage lottery funding and the kind heart of multi-talented volunteers and contractors. NT now also do own the whole site of the Fan Bay Battery, but do not currently have plans or funding to uncover and restore any further related structures within that site. However, their preservation, now out of private farming ownership, is paramount to the property team.

For further information and questions, I would invite you to speak to the property team on the phone: 01304202756 or email: whitecliffs@nationaltrust.org.uk

Edited by NT White Cliffs Ranger

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