WS31 Alexandra Battery Gibraltar
Posted on December 8, 2015 / 775

In about 1620 the Spanish Tuerto Tower stood at roughly this location. In 1704 this position was captured by Captains Jumper and Hicks R.N. as they led the amphibious assault.

In 1770 the position held 3 x 3ins Mortars,

This casemated battery was built at the neck of the South Mole (originally the New Mole) to enfilade the coastal fortifications of Gibraltar. The battery stood on the site of several previous fortifications.  It was actually built over the old New Mole Battery, which was itself constructed on the site of an old Spanish fort in front of the Tuerto Tower.

The battery was built as a result of recommendations from the 1868 report by Colonel (later General) William Jervois. He proposed that a new battery should be constructed on the site to house a RML 12.5 inch 38 ton gun, then the heaviest coastal gun.  It was to be placed in a casemated position which was to be protected with an iron shield.  The gun was placed on a turntable, similar to one used for turning railway engines around, and there were two gun ports to fire though which are fixed. The front shield is a composite iron and wood layered armour, a forerunner to later spaced armour. The work on the position has commenced on the 13th July 1875 and was completed in September the following year.  The cost of the works was £3,131.

In 1906 the old 12.5-ins RML was regarded as out dated and the whole area was converted to accomodation.

Rollo reports that in 1906 4 x 9.2ins BL Mk VI guns on a HAF Mak I mount were considered for this location, but it is believed as this was an error because the relevant plans shows this to have been intended for Governors Lookout.  However, this is a chance that two HAF batteries could have been intended but we have found no evidence of any sort to support the claim made by Rollo. 

The battery was named after Alexandra of Denmark, the wife of Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). He laid the foundation stone in 1876 and the battery was finished two years later. 

 

However, with the rapid advancement in gun technology, towards the 1890, the RMLs became redundant and were replaced by breech loading weapons with a greater range.  No attempt was made to upgrade the gun, and the battery was converted to living accommodation by 1906.

 

The slide and the mounting were subsequently scrapped but the 12.5 inch gun was moved a location close by the present entry to the Dockyard.  In 2013 the gun was moved to Harding’s Battery where it can still be seen.

 

In 1940, a QF 2-pounder Pom-pom gun was installed on the top of the casemates to protect the South Mole and a Bofors 40 mm gun was installed in 1941 to provide anti-aircraft defence.  These two anti-aircraft positions can still be seen.

 

 

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