Ref Number: 0017
Ref Number: 0017
The New Battery was erected in 1895, after issues with subsidence and worries that the concussion from heavier cannons might force the cliffs at the Old Battery to collapse. The structure cost £9,821 and was mounted with three 9.2″ breech loading cannons, which cost £12,750, weighed 28 tons, and fired shells weighing 380 pounds; each gun required an eleven-man crew. The battery commands a magnificent view of the Old Battery and is almost 120 meters above sea level.
The replacement battery for the “Old Needles Battery” was completed in 1895, after it was determined that the original battery position and problems with subsidence, especially when compounded by the concussion from the recoil, were enough to cause the possibility of collapsing the entire cliff area around said guns.
The new battery cost £9,821 and was outfitted with 9.2-inch B.L. cannons, which cost an additional £12,750 and weighed 28 tons and could shoot a massive 380lb shell! The number of men required to fire such a weapon was 11 per cannon!
The Battery was decommissioned in 1918, with just minor maintenance performed. However, in late 1939, the Army reactivated it as a radar location, with a CD/CHL triple service station radar instrumentation installed, covering the Needles route and providing cover for shipping bombardment when needed.
After the war, the Battery was decommissioned and the guns were dismantled in 1954. However, from 1956 until 1971, the location was utilized for the testing of the Saunders Roe, highly classified at the time, Black Knight and Black Arrow rocket engines. Following that, in 1975, the National Trust bought the site and dismantled many of the structures; now, most of the actual foundations of both the Battery and the Rocket testing gantries can be seen.