West BatteryHong Kong
West Battery, Stonecutters Island was used to protect the entrance to the Harbour of Hong Kong from the west and worked in conjunction with Belchers Upper Battery, Belchers Lower Battery, and Fly Point Battery on Hong Kong Island.
The battery was built on and under a hilltop. The battery was split between three levels:
- The Surface level included the gun pits, battery command and observations post, the 6-pdr QF gun and later a 12-pdr QF Battery. This QF battery was later a practice battery.
- The Upper Gallery level included a corridor running around under all the guns, and stairways to give access. The east side, close to the main entrance had four casemates.
- The Magazine Level included the Guard Room, Shell and Cartridge Stores. The shell and cartridges were carried up to the guns on hoists in the corridors.
West Battery was an expensive battery to build, costing roughly five times more than a normal two gun battery. The battery was built between 1884 and 1890, initially to be armed with:
These guns were to remain in place until 1903, although an additional 3-pdr QF gun was added about 1900. Plans show a 12-pdr Battery was built about 1903, probably in the location shown as the Practice Battery on the plan image.
The 1903 modification saw the removal of the two 10-inch guns and then use of the four gun pits for 6-inch BL Mark VII guns. In addition, a new gun pit was built between the old 10-inch position for a fifth 6-inch Mark VII, giving a total of five 6-inch guns.
The five 6-inch Mark VII’s were all installed by 1912, the works costing a total of £3,886.
These five 6-inch guns were to remain in place until two were removed in 1937 for installation at Cape Collison Battery.
(Some of the images are courtesy of Lai Lai in Hong Kong)