St Martin's Battery Gun Position 2, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, UK

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Comments (3)

John Latter on May 11, 2007

A view of the front of No.2 gun position of St Martin's Battery near the cliff edge on the Western Heights overlooking Dover Harbour.

No.1 gun position is on the far left, No.3 is out of shot to the right.

The gun mounting and traversing ring can be seen as a circle of vertical rods on the ground just left of center.

Also see the shifting lobby, the rear access road, and one of the commanding views from St Martins Battery over Dover Harbour and the English Channel beyond (albeit shrouded in fog in this shot).

Standard Info:

The building of St Martin's Battery began circa 1870 to counter the threat of a French invasion. The Battery was then 're-modelled' in 1940 during the Second World War.

1870 construction is identified by yellow brickwork, that of 1940 by red.

St Martin's Battery is only a very small part of the fortifications on this part of the North Downs - click on Western Heights and then check the tag list for all the locations covered (eg Drop Redoubt, Grand Shaft, North Entrance, North Center Bastion - more will be added as time goes on).

Work began on Dover's Western Heights fortifications in the 1770s and was intensified, first in the early 1800s because of Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte), and again in the mid-Nineteenth Century because of Napoleon III (originally known as Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte).

"Dover in World War Two: 1942 (1) is a ten minute British Ministry of Information film, released by the US Office of War Information, and narrated by the American journalist, Edward R. Murrow.

The video contains a short clip of a gun similar to those of St Martin's Battery 0:07:03 in (a probably staged) action.

The whole video can be seen at Dover in World War Two: 1942 or choose one of the other pre-selected entry points:

Dunkirk Evacuation 0:00:40

Winston Churchill 0:01:22

The Mayor 0:05:49

Dover Town Hall 0:06:25

St Martin's Battery 0:07:03

Pencester Gardens 0:09:41

John Latter on June 17, 2007

Click to see a frame from the above-mentioned video showing the 1942 shore battery.

NB A high resolution (relatively speaking, that is) version of the video is now available at Dover in World War Two: 1942 or, again, choose one of the pre-selected entry points:

Dunkirk Evacuation 0:00:40

Winston Churchill 0:01:22

The Mayor 0:05:49

Dover Town Hall 0:06:25

St Martin's Battery 'Look-A-Like' 0:07:03

Pencester Gardens 0:09:41

John Latter on December 17, 2010

The English Heritage Pastscape entry for St Martin's Battery reads:

Alt: Western Heights Emergency Coastal Battery

A coast artillery battery, constructed between 1874 and 1877, comprising emplacements for three 10-inch RML (rifle muzzle-loading) guns mounted en barbette in open emplacements with bomb-proofed ammunition stores between. The battery remained in use until the RMLs were withdrawn in 1908. In 1940, the battery was brought back into service as an emergency battery for three 6-inch Mk VII guns, following extensive alterations to provide three covered gunhouses with integral gun detachment shelters and stores. This battery remained active until late in 1944, and in care and maintenance until decommissioning in 1947.

Click to see more of Dover's English Heritage sites.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 8, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 33LF
    • Taken on 2007/04/08 10:22:41
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm
    • F/Stop: f/4.800
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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