Rangoon

Posted on September 18, 2020 / 76
Listing Type : Defended Commercial Port
Location : Asia Other

Burma, now Myanmar, was administered as a Province of India by the British Administration in Delhi.  Burma was acquired by the British is stages between 1924 and 1886.  Rangoon (Yangon) became the Capital of British Burma in 1853 and defences were built to protect the commercial harbour there.

The Defence Committee submitted a report in respect of the Defences of Rangoon on 9th September 1886.  This report included two detailed reports, one from a Captain A. W Moore of the RN and the other a joint work of Lieutenant-Colonel Fairfax Ellis, R.A. and Lieutenant-Colonel G. Barker, R.E.

At the time this report was drafted, Rangoon had the following coastal defence batteries which had hastily been constructed in 1885:

  • Cokey Point Battery with three 80-prd RML guns and two 40-pdr RMLs to protect the minefield
  • Monkey Point with three 9-inch RML guns.

These two emergency batteries required reconstruction work to bring them up to standard.  In addition, there was a Submarine Mining Establishment at Monkey Point, but there was both a lack of trained personnel and sufficient boats to lay the mines.

The 1886 concluded that the coastal defences of Rangoon should be based on two basic lines:

  • Inner Line with batteries at Monkey Point, and on both sides of the Rangoon River at King’s Point and Siriam Point. At Monkey Point to upgrade to five 9-inch RML guns.  At King’s Point to mount 40-pdr RMLs or similar guns as available.
  • An Outer Line at Chokey Point and Da Silva Point using a 10-inch BL, two 6-inch BL, two 6-pdr QF and a single machine gun.

Minefields to be placed at the Da Silva Shoals (Chokey Point) with ground mines covering the main channel and electro-contact mines to the west. A second minefield between Monkey Point and Hastings Shoal.  Two Electric Lights to be built at Da Silva Position and one at Money Point.   The list below gives a summary of the recommendations made by the Defence Committee in 1898.

Inner Defences

  • Monkey Point Battery with five 9-inch RML guns.
  • Kings Battery with one 10-inch BL, one 6-inch BL, two 12.5-inch RML and two 6-pdr Hotchkiss QF.
  • Syriam Battery with one 10-inch BL, one 6-inch BL, two 12.5-inch RML and two 6-pdr Hotchkiss QF.

The 10-inch guns were to be redeployed from India.

Outer Defences

  • Chokey Point Battery with three 80-pdr and two 6-pdr Hotchkiss
  • Da Silva Battery with one 10-inch BL, one 6-inch BL guns

By 1898 the batteries listed below had been built with the armament as shown.   It is believed that the 9-inch RMLs guns were moved from Bombay which was being upgraded to Breech Loading weapons.

Outer Defences

  • Chokey Point Battery with four 40-pdr and three 6-pdr Hotchkiss, By about 1905 this was armed with two 4.7-inch QF guns and became the Examination Battery.

Inner Defences

  • Monkey Point Battery with three 9-inch RML and two 40-pdr guns
  • King’s Bank Heavy Battery with two 9-inch RML and two 40-pdr
  • King’s Bank Minefield Battery with three 6-pdr Hotchkiss, two MGs and one Defence Electric Light
  • Syriam Heavy Battery with four 6-inch, two 40-pdr two 3-pdr QF and one Defence Electric
  • Syriam Minefield Battery with two 6-pdr QF, two MGs and two Defence Electric Lights

The sketch image is based on various plans in the National Archives.

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