Posted on September 19, 2020 / 11
Listing Type : Naval Port or Anchorage
Location : Channel Islands

Braye Harbour, Alderney was designated as a Class C Commercial Harbour by the Home Ports Defence Committee, later the Home Defence Committee in 1900 and was therefore armed to resist unarmoured cruisers and block ships.

Between 1856 and 1859 extensive fortifications were constructed on Alderney with the intention of establishing a Harbour of Refuge at Braye.  Jersey and Guernsey had both been considered as alternatives.  So important were these works at the time, that Queen Victoria visited Alderney on three occasions in 1854, 1857 and 1859.

The key Royal Engineer involved in the design and construction of the fortifications was Sir William Jervois.  At that time Jervios was a Captain but would end his career ad the Governor of South Australia having played an active part in the building of British fornications around the World.

Fort Albert

Fort Tourgis

Fort Clongue

Fort Grosnez

Fort Chateau a L’Etoc

Longis Defence Lines

Fort Corblets

Fort Les Hommeaus Florains

Fort Quesnard

Fort Houmet Herbe

The building of these defences works proceeded the Royal Commission that led to the building of the Palmerston Forts on mainland Britain.  Jervois and other Royal Engineers honed their skill in Alderney with many concepts developed being incorporated into the Forts built at 1860.

The actual building was done three basic states.  The main Harbour of Refuge at Braye and the adjacent Fort Grosnez was first.  This was followed by the general construction phase with all works started, apart from Fort Albert and adjacent Arsenal and Mount Hale Battery which were built in the third phase.  Captain Jervois was the principal designer and supervisor for the latter two stages.

The Victorian Fortifications on Alderney are therefore an excellent example of defences built at the end of the smooth bore period.  The introduction of rifled guns shortly after they were built would lead significant changes in the art of building fortifications.

The defences allowed for the mounting of over two hundred guns (excluding mortar), three quarters of which were 68-pdr smoothbore guns or 8-inch shell guns firing spherical shot.

With the Royal Commission Report in 1860, Alderney was no longer a priority.  The majority of the resources were to concentrated on the main naval ports in England, Wales and Ireland.

In 1905 the Committee on Armaments of Home Ports was specifically asked about the status of Braye Harbour in Alderney.  They reported that it would be used as a torpedo craft anchorage and that any anticipated attack would not exceed an unarmoured cruiser, CLASS C. (TNA CAB 16.1)

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