WS29 Parsons Lodge Gibraltar
Posted on December 6, 2015 / 946

Plan below is from 1815 and shows artillery pieces mounted around Parson’s Lodge, later called 9th Rosia.

1] & [3] – Coast Artilliery Searchlights

From 1898 to 1956 these buildings housed 90cm searchlights, which were intended to illuminate enemy ships. Each light was 200 million candlepower and a concentrated “pencil” (3 degree) beam could be projected 5,000 yards.

[2] – Underground 6 Pounder Gun Position

Known as Lower Parsons. From April 1941 to the end of World War II (WWII), a 6 pdr. gun was positioned here to cover the landing places in Rosia Bay. It fired a 6lb. (2.7kg) shell 4,000 yards (2.27 miles: 3.7km).

[4] – C18th Gun Position

From about 1725 to 1840 (when a larger battery was built to the left) a smooth bore gun was positioned here to cover Camp Bay. At one stage it was a 24 pounder (11kg) firing a soild round shot, of that weight, 2,000 yards (1.13 miles: 1.8 km).

[5] & [7] – 6 Pounder Gun Positions

These guns were placed for use against enemy forces attempting to land in Camp and Little Bays. They were mounted on concrete blocks as opposed to the pedestal mounting in 2 above. The threshold to position 7 records that it was completed on Christmas Eve 1941 by the Somerset Light Infantry.

[6] – C18th Gun Position

As described in 4 above. At one stage, this gun would have been a 9 pounder (4 kg) firing a shot of that weight 1,400 yards (.79 miles: 1.2 km).

[8] – Personnel Shelter

There were several of these shelters at Parson`s Lodge, providing cover for all personnel not actually manning fire positions. They were known as “elephant shelters” from the shape the corrugated iron which formed the basis of their construction.

[9] – Medium Machine Gun (MMG) Position

This fire position was occupied by a Vickers MMG whcih was designed to fire .303″ ammunition, the same bore as a service rifle, at a rate of 500 rounds per minute. The flanking positions here were manned by rifle men armed with .303 short magazines Lee Enfields (SMLE`s).

[10] – Shaft To Underground Defensive Position

This contained two MMGs and two SMLE apertures in the cliff face overlooking possible enemy landing areas in Camp and Little Bays.

[11] – Admiralty Boundery Marker

The wall in which this stone is set marks the physical bundary between this Royal Artilliery Battery and the Royal Naval Victualling Yard, built in 1808.

[12] – Battery

This large limestone construction replaced its predecessors (see relic to the right) about 1842 in accordance with recomendations of Maj Gen Sir John Jones, and was surmounted, at the time, by eight guns. By 1873, the battery had been adapted to take 3 x 18 ton 10″ RML guns. The corridor in front serviced the latter.

[13] & [19] – Shell Store

400 lb (181 kg) 10″ solid armour piercing projectiles were stored here. At one stage position 19 was a “side arms store” – in lay parlance, a tool shed.

[14] – Lighting Passage

Stringent precautions were taken to prevent accidental detonation in the cartridge stores. These included “spark free” copper fittings, rope shoes and the obvious measure of lighting magazines through plate glass fronted passages or niches.

[15] – Lamp Room

The oil lamps were stored and serviced in this room.

[16] & [18] – Cartridge Store

There were two types of cartridge 44 lb. (20 kg) and 70 lb (32 kg) contained in bags and tins.

[17] – Cartridge Hoist

At the end of this corridor (and in 12 above) was an apparatus for hoisting cartridges and shells to the guns above.

[20] – Expense Magazines

Cartridges and Projectiles were stored, ready for use, in these four limestone buildings.

·         (a) The northern most (No 1 in RA terms) contained hoist apparatus for lifting shells from the storage magazines below. It was surmounted, in WWII, by a Bren gun position – since removed.

·         (b) No 2 also had a hoist (for cartridges) and was surmounted from 1963 until 1956 with a 90 cm anti aircraft serachlight (AASL). This AASL was 200 million condlepower and could project a concentrated beam 20,000 feet (3.8 miles: 6km).

·         (c) No 3 was surmounted by a 3″ anti aircraft rocket projector, installed on 16th October, 1942 and since removed.

·         (d) No 4 is still surmounted by a bofors 40mm light anti aircraft gun position, completed on 16th November 1941.

[21] – RML Gun Positions

From 1873 to about 1892, 10″ rifled muzzle loading guns were positioned in each of the three shielded embrasures. Made in Woolwich, they fired a 400lb (181 kg) projectiles to a range of about 4,500 yards (2.6 miles: 4 km). The gun fired and was protected , from seaborne attack, by a sandwich of armour plate and teak, specially invented for use here and known universally as “Gibraltar Shields”.

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