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Grand Battery Gun Park

19/01/2024

13.05.22

The first proposal for creating a gun park at Grand Battery is drawn up by the Ministry for Heritage - See here: Report on the Grand Battery.

A number of gun barrels are identified.

A 24pdr currently at Levanter Battery.

A 64-pdr in storage at Hay's Level, originally found at Europa Point in 2018.

A 24pdr in storage at hay's Level, originally embedded at Ragged Staff.

A 32-pdr in storage at Monteverde's depot, retrieved from Devil's Tower Camp in 2021.

A French 42-pdr gun on display at Chatham's Counterguard (above My Wines).

 

24-pdr in storage at Hay's Level.

64-pdr in storage at Hay's Level.

32-pdr in storage at Monteverde's Depot.

24-pdr at Levanter Battery.

French 64-pdr at Chatham Counteguard.

Moving the 24-pounder at Levant Battery

Full information on Levanter Battery 24-pounder.

The first gun to be removed for restoration was also the most logistically challenging. The 24-pounder was located within a restricted MoD area almost 400m up on the North face of the Rock.

Permission had been sought almost two years ago to remove the piece, but the negotiations stalled and the project abandoned at the last minute. Thankfully, Sgt Thomas larner, the new SNCO Airfiled Support Team at RAF Gibraltar who is responsible for the site was more than willing to find the gun a new home.

18.01.24

Site inspection undertaken at Levanter Battery to assess how the gun was to be removed. Preliminary photos taken to show position and access.

A forklift and lorry transport required for the task.

Gibdock informed of need to restore the gun and was more than happy to help.

24.01.24

11:00 am: Forklift and transporter arrive safely at the site. The drivers needed to navigate the steep winding roads leading to the very top of the North face. The view was breathtaking but the drive was certainly not for the faint-hearted!

11:45 am: After positioning the vehicles and attaching the lifting belts, Juan the forklift driver expertly lifts the 2-ton gun piece onto the back of the lorry. All that is required is to navigate the route back down from the top of the Rock with a 2-ton gun barrel at the back, hoping the brakes do not give way!!

Driving up the 400m climb to the top of the North face of the Rock.

Preparing to lift the 2-ton gun piece.

Moving the 24-pounder round towards the transporter.

Gently placing the 24-pounder onto the transporter vehicle.

Juan the forklift driver begins the lift.

One of the Upper Rock residents watches proceedings with interest.

Gun piece is safely lowered into position.

Final descent on transporter vehicle. Incredible views.

13:00: Arrived safely at Gibdock. Gun is easily lifted by No. 5 crane and placed on the ground for inspection.

Evidence of weathering is evident with large chunks of metal missing on the first and second reinforce. Two hundred years of exposure at the very top of the Rock was always going to to have severely weathered the gun.

The first reinforce contains very practical and important information that needed to be preserved, as did the GR3 cypher on the second reinforce. This critical information included the figure 1798 - referencing the date of manufacture and the initials WGo, which is more likely WCo after Samuel Walker and Company from Rotherham. The company had been taken over by his brothe Joshua following his death in 1792 and by 1813, the foundry was producing some 3,000 tons weight of guns.

Such were the quality of the guns produced at the Walker foundry that about 80 of the 105 guns aboard HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar were cast by the Walker Company.

After discussing the issue of water blasting without damaging the cypshers with Robert the foreman at Gibdock, it was decided to only water-blast the breech and trunions. They rest would simply be primed and repainted.

 

 

Lowering the 24-pounder at GibDock to prepare for inspection.

Detail on first reinforce.

Detail on second reinforce.

Effects of weathering on gun barrel.

Hay's Level Storage

Two of the guns are currently stored at Hay's Level. Access to the store is not easy as it lies within the pedestrian area and is too narrow for the Monteverde forklifter to enter.

A smaller forklifter might just be able to access the guns and drag them out to the loading bay.

Time to take out the tape measure...

From the measurements taken the maximum width of the tunnel is approximately 1.70m, reduced to 1.60m to allow manoverability.

The barrels cannot simply be lifted up and carried out by the forklift given the length of the doorways against that of the guns. These will probably have to be dragged out on rollers.

Gun weightings:

24-pounder

Weight = 2.2 tons approx

Length = 2.75m

64-pounder

Weight = 2.8 tons approx

Length = 2.75m