Devils Gap Battery
Devil’s Gap Battery.
This Battery is located at 430 feet and comprises two pits on the south side for medium guns, and two QF positions to the north. Underground works link both of the batteries.
This site was originally used on 5th August 1779 when a mortar was mounted here, possibly more than one.
In the 1870 there were three temporary batteries recorded in the area:
- One x 9-ins RML at Forral’s Farm Battery on a wooden curb on the site of a current 12lb emplacement.
- One x 9-ins RML at Ince’s Farm, immediately behind and above Devils Gaps, site can still be seen.
- Two x 7-ins RBLs on Naval Mountings. Exact location is not known.
In his 1876 report Major Parnell recommended that three 9-ins RMLs be mounted here, and in 1878 it was recommended two 9-inch RMLs be installed here by 1881.
In September 1878 emplacement were commenced for two 9-ins RML guns, which were completed in June 1881. The cost of construction is not known, but the battery was dismounted in 1900.
On 1st October 1900 these emplacements were commenced for two 6-ins BL guns, Mk.V11 on BL central pivot Mk.11 Mountings. These were completed on 1 July 1902. The cost was recorded as £3680. Between 1st June 1901 and 5th October 1903 magazines and shelters were constructed for a further cost of £1,210. The role of the 6-ins Battery was primarily as an Examination Battery. It covered all approach to the harbour and Bay of Gibraltar and was manned day and night so as to be ready to ‘bring to’ any ship that may try to enter the harbour without the permission of the Examination Service Station at Rosia Bay.
The guns were primarily for costal defence and provided very limited arcs in the event of land attack. The range of the guns is shown as 15,000 yards so they could engage Spanish land targets across Gibraltar Bay. The nearby farm provided accommodation for 8 Warrant Officers and Sergeants and 90 other ranks.
In 1896 a new battery was built on an adjacent to the 9-inch RML site for two 12-pdr 12-cwt QF guns. The two batteries were to have interconnecting magazines. In February 1923 two 4-ins QF Mk.III guns on Mk.1 carriages were mounted on the old Q.F. emplacement adjacent to the 6-ins Battery. On 31st January 1927 these two guns were dismounted and placed on South Mole Battery. The old Q.F. Battery was later used to mount three 25-pdr Howitzers as a Saluting Battery.
The Battery was activated on 29th July 1914 when the Fortress Alarm was given, the battery was ready for action by 0230 hours on that date. In June 1916 the 4-ins QF Detached Mole Battery was dismantled and the guns brought up to Devil’s Gap. They were fitted with electric dials and training arcs for the Position Finder. They were taken over by Middle North Sub-district on 13th June 1916. On 18th June 1916 the 4-ins QF Guns were taken to Hayes Cave Battery. The Battery was demobilized on 31st December 1918 at 1140 hours.
On 21st August 1927 a single 4-ins QF was taken to Devil’s Gap but was not mounted. It was withdrawn later.
This site is in excellent condition and has recently been restored by Gibraltar Heritage.
The other 6-inch Batteries in Gibraltar are:
- Devil’s Gap Battery
- Genista Battery
- Lewis Battery
- Signal Hill Battery
- Princess Royal Battery
- Rock Battery
- South Battery
- Tovey Battery
The other 9-inch RML batteries in Gibraltar were at:
- Buena Vista, 1 gun
- Calpe Battery, 3 gun
- Governor’s Lookout, 1 gun
- Ince’s & Forral’s Farms, 1 gun each
- New Mole Battery, 4 guns
The other 12-pdr 18-cwt gun batteries in Gibraltar were at:
- Buena Vista, 2 guns
- Devil’s Gap Battery, 2 guns
- Engineer Battery, 3 guns
- Montague Bastion, 2 guns
- North Mole Elbow Battery, 2 guns
- Upper Union Gallery, 2 guns
UK National Archives references
- WO 78/4447
- WO 78/3870
- WO 32/2373
- WO 78/2475 Major Parnell report