C Pier Head Battery

Portland Bill, Portland, UK
Posted on October 31, 2022 / 3
Listing Type : Coastal Battery
Location : England

C Pier Head Battery was built on the end of Bincleaves Groin and covered the 200 metre navigable channel between this location and B Pier Head Battery.  In 1901 the Battery was armed with two 12-pdr QF guns and one Maxim Machine Gun.  A 6-inch BL gun was mounted over one of the 12-pdr emplacements in 1910.  This emplacement has survived but has a more recent brick building covering it.  A new 12-pdr battery, adjacent to the Pier Head was built at the same time as the 6-inch BL gun was mounted.

During World War 2 a 6-pdr QF gun was mounted on the 6-inch BL emplacement, and a Bofors 40mm AA emplacement built adjoining.  There is also a light MG position which also survives.


The first breakwater to protect the Portland anchorage was built 1849 to 1872.  The two breakwaters on the east side were completed in 1905.  In 1904 plans had already been drawn up for Quick Fire Batteries to cover the navigable channels into the anchorage through the breakwaters.  These three new batteries would replace the temporary platforms used during the earlier construction phase.  The three Pier Head Batteries were completed by 1905, all armed with two 12-pdr QF guns and a Maxim Machine Gun. These were designate A, B and C Pier Head Batteries.

Before these plans had been fully implemented, it was proposed two mount four 6-inch Mark VII BL guns at Breakwater Fort, two on the roof and two in the original casemates.  The two on the roof were mounted in 1909.  It was decided to mount the two guns, proposed for the old casemates, to be mount on the Breakwaters.  A single 6-inch BL gun was therefore mounted at B and C Pier Heads in one of the 12-pdr emplacements.  To compensate for the loss of the 12-pdr gun, two additional 12-pdr QF positions were built adjacent to B and C Pier Heads.  This work was all completed by 1910.

Searchlights were also installed by 1905.  These were located at:

Two fixed Defence Electric Lights in the centre of the North Breakwater

Three fixed Defence Electric Lights at Breakwater Fort

Two fixed Defence Electric Lights on the Outer (southern) Breakwater

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