Stokes Bay Lines

Gosport, UK
Posted on October 5, 2022 / 6
Listing Type : Defence Line
Location : England

The Stokes Bay Lines were built between 1857 and 1861 as part of the defences required to protect Portsmouth Dockyard.  The Stokes Bay Lines filled the gap in defences between Fort Gomer, at the southwest end of the Gosport Advance Lines, and Forts Gilkicker and Monckton.

The Lines were intended to repel any hostile landing on the excellent beach along Stokes Bay.  As envisaged by Major Jervois, the lines would be a complex of wet moats, ramparts and five supporting batteries.

These five batteries, running from south to north were:

Number 1 Battery protected the road approaches to the lines and was immediately to the rear (North) of Number 2 Battery.  Initial armament was eight 8-inch SB guns in embrasures.  In 1886 these were upgraded to two 7-inch RBL guns which were removed without replacement around 1900.  There is a tunnel running from Number 1 Battery out to Number 2 Battery.

No2 Battery was the principal coastal defence battery on the Stokes Bay Lines, and the South Face was intended to cover the anchorage off Browndown Point.  The No. 2 Battery also had casemates guns facing east (Left Face) to cover the Stokes Bay moat, while six guns faced westwards (Right Face) to cover the ground towards Browndown Battery.

Armament in No.2 Battery developed over the years as follows:

  • South Face (Coastal Defence) Initially two 68-pdr SB guns and then two 64-pdr RML guns. By 1886 replaced by two 7-inch 7-ton RML guns Moncrieff Carriages (Disappearing). By 1900 two 6-inch BL Mark VII guns with two Maxim Machine Guns were added for close defence.
  • Right Face (west facing) initially armed with six 8-inch SB guns. By 1886 replaced with six 7-inch RBL guns which remained in place until about 1900.
  • Left Face (East Facing) initially armed with three 8-inch SB guns in casemated positions. By 1886 replaced with three 7-inch RBL guns which remained in place until about 1900.

No.3 Battery, at the end of Jellicoe Avenue (then Village Road) held a battery of four guns to fire westwards towards No.2 Battery.  The guns were initially 8-inch SB replaced aby 1890 with four 7-inch RBL.  Maxim Machine Guns were added in 1901.

No.4 Battery was intended to help protected the railway line running to Stokes Bay Pier. There were two gun emplacements facing west and two to the east.  Initially these were 8-inch SB guns, replaced by 7-inch RBLs in about 1890.  Four Maxim Machine Guns were added by 1901.

No.5 Battery lay close to Fort Gilkickier.  The battery had three faces, and initially mounted eleven 8-inch SB guns.  By 1890 there were a total of four 7-inch RBL, two guns facing west and to two facing south.  In 1901 four Maxime Machine Guns were added.

The moat has been largely lost except for a short section near No.2 Battery.  The actual ramparts and moat can still be seen in various parts.  Number 1, Number 3 and Number 4 Batteries have been largely lost, although lumps and bumps can still be found.  Battery Number 2 is well preserved, and there are extensive remains of Battery Number 5.

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