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Engineer Battery

Ref: HLFP3/010

This forms part of the West Side Batteries defences and is situated on a cliff edge at a height of over 80 feet above sea level to the north of Napier of Magdala Battery, at the southern end of the Rock in the Rosia area. It was originally a small battery until 1770 when it was modified with a cannon mounted over a parapet, having a mattress placed in front of it in order to absorb any enemy fire. A drawing by the Chief Engineer of Gibraltar, Colonel William Green, exists which shows a plan and section of the works to be carried out on the site.

It was first mentioned as Engineer Battery in 1834 when it mounted two 32-pdrs. Major General sir John Jones in his report of 1841 (PRO WO 55/1554/3) recommended a sea battery of seven or eight guns on the rocky knoll between New Mole Port and Rosia but it seems nothing was done. Instead, in 1850 the two 32-pdrs had been replaced by a single 56-pdr, and subsequently by a 68-pdr in 1859. This in turn, and probably in 1863, was replaced by three 7-inch RBI guns, Nos 64, 216 and 282, which are reported in the battery in a Board of Ordnance Report dated 1867.

1859 Gibraltar fortifications map Engineer Battery.

Following the recommendations in the report on Gibraltar’s defences prepared by Colonel W. Jervois in 1868, this was one of the batteries to be armed with a single heavy RML gun in an open embrasure, but protected by an iron-faced casemate, which later came to be called ‘the Gibraltar Shield’. It was originally designed for a 9-inch gun but by 1875 it mounted a single 10-inch 18-ton RML gun, capable of firing out across the water from its relatively low position on the coast. However, the since the gun was 10-inch but mounted on an emplacement built for a 9-inch gun, there were problems. Eventually, the gun was removed in 1892 and replaced five years later, in 1897, by two 12-pdr 12 cwt Quick Firing guns placed on either side of the RML emplacement. A third gun was placed there the following year.

These guns were removed in 1908 as part of the redistribution of the anti-torpedo boat armament. 4 inch guns were proposed but these went t o Prince George's Battery instead.

Iron Shield at Engineer Battery(Defence of Gibraltar).

Another Iron Shield section at Engineer Battery(Defence of Gibraltar).

In 1913 two 12 pounders were mounted for practice and these remained there until 1922. In 1919 there were four 12 pounder BL 6 cwt guns on field carriages. No further armament took place but in 1940 part of the site was occupied by one of the 3.7 inch AA guns of Napier Battery. The 1925 Air Defence Committee envisaged this site as one for four HAA guns and this did actually take place although the site was named Napier Battery.

The view of the battery from the sea shows how formidable it originally was and, although it appears to be in a rather sorry state, having lost most of its masonry up to the iron embrasure on the south side, it is still quite an imposing structure.

Engineer Battery WWII machine-gun positions as seen from the sea (Defence of Gibraltar).

Engineer Battery WWII machine-gun positions (Defence of Gibraltar).

Engineer Battery Image