Posted on December 23, 2023 / 11
Listing Type : Coaling Station
Location : Mediterranean

In 1878, with the agreement of the Ottoman Empire, Cyprus became a British protectorate.  From 1914, when the British declared War against the Ottoman Turks, it became a military occupation that endure until 1925.  Cyprus was a British Crown colony from 1925 until 1960 when it became independent.

The British maintained a reasonable garrison in Cyprus, initially two regiments. Later there was one Garrison Regiment with the headquarters at Nicosia,.  The troop were barracked at Limassol (Polmedia) and but during the summer months moved to the cooler Troodos Camp.  A small detachment of Royal Engineers helped supervise the building of roads and barracks. The Royal Engineers, Ordnance and Commissariat Departments were located on the northern edge of Limassol.

The Island was largely a backwater and used primarily for the rest and recreation of British Troops, and some Indian units.  It was however, regarded of strategic importance because it allowed the British to keep an eye on the Northern entry to the Suez Canal.

In 1881 plans were drawn up for coastal defences to be built at Famagusta (Farmagouta) Harbour which would be used as a Coaling Station.  This included a total of 161 guns, many smoothbore, and six distinct batteries or forts.  As far as can be determined these recommendations were never approved.

Quarry Fort with three 43 ton Guns, three 26 ton guns and six medium Guns.

Oxonisi Fort with six 43 ton Guns and four 26 tone Guns

Varoshia Fort with three 26 ton Guns and four medium Guns

Old Town Battery with two 26 ton Guns, built on the old ramparts covering the harbour entrance

Old Lines with eight medium Guns and twenty Minor Guns, thought to be the old city defences.

Land Defences with a total of sixty six medium Guns and thirty six minor Guns.

In addition two forts (redoubts) were to be built on the Western approaches to Famagusta as land defence.  There was also to be a submarine minefield cover the entrance between the northern end of the  proposed  breakwater and the shoreline near Quarry Fort.

See rough plan taken from MPG 1/867

It is assumed that the 43 ton Guns referred to 12.5-inch RML guns, while the 26 ton guns referred to the 11-inch RML. Alternatively this would also refer to breech loading weapons which were then just then being introduced.

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