Chapel Bay Fort – Timeline

1817 Proposed two tier gun battery built into coastal slope, to have been armed with 12 guns, protected to the rear by demi-bastions and a defensible barracks, estimated to cost £8,863.
1858 “REPORT TO PARLIAMENT ON THE SEA DEFENCES OF MILFORD HAVEN AND PEMBROKE DOCK” produced by War Office Committee, proposing the creation of further defences including a new work at Chapel Bay for “10 guns in an open battery … in a straight line, on rear pivots, defensible barrack in rear for about 150 men”.
1859 20th August – Royal Commission  appointed to “Consider the defences of the United Kingdom”. Commission endorses a new work at Chapel Bay for 10 guns.
1860 Report   published – “THE DEFENCES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.” By The Royal Commissioners of the Defences of the United Kingdom. This document recommends the construction of a new work at Chapel Bay (NOT finally approved).
1861 19th June – Site for battery purchased from  I. Mirehouse Esq. (PRO WO 78 2620)
1862 Approval to build battery of 6 guns. (PRO WO 195 30)
1867 Colonel Jervois’ report on progress in defence construction is published, the proposed plan to mount 6 guns in an “earthen battery” is still to be started.
1868 The 10″ 18 ton R.M.L. gun is introduced into British (Naval) service.
1869 Colonel Jervois produces a design to mount 6 R.M.L. guns utilizing the Moncrieff Disappearing Gun Carriages, in a battery with barracks for 3 officers and 60 men in the rear forming a “keep”. The whole work was to be enclosed by a ditch and wall, flanked by caponiers. Approval was not given to mount the guns on Moncrieff Disappearing Carriages (PRO WO196 30). Approval given for a rectangular plan battery with earthen ramparts, enclosed by l6ft deep ditch, armed with six 9″ R.M.Ls. ( PRO WO 106 Pt. 2 )
1886 Six 9 pdr. field guns located near to Chapel Bay, representing 40 pdr. guns during the so-called “Milford Haven Experiments” (History of Submarine Mining in the British Army, by Lieut. Colonel W. Baker-Brown R.E.)
1890 War Office approval given to commence construction work 1st January. Battery to be armed with three 10″ 18 ton Mk III R.M.L. guns mounted on 7 ft parapet “C” (central) pivot carriages. Completed 3lst October 1891. Contractor W. Hill of Gosport.
1893 30th May – Area to east of Battery purchased from R.W.B. Mirehouse Esq. for siting a battery of three 12 pdr. Q.F. guns.
1894 2nd April – War Office approval for construction of a 6 pdr Q.F. battery, completed l7th March 1896.  Contractor Messrs Heathevly Bros., Coventry. 0rdnance – Q.F. Nordenfelt 6 pdr Mk II. on mounting 6 pdr Q.F. (Fitted with new gripping arrangement) (Pt20 WO 78 2620)
1898 1898 War Office approval to build new three gun 12 pdr Q.F. battery to east of moat. Commenced may 1898, completed March 1890. (PRO WO78 4919)
1900 May – War Office approval to reconstruct and re-arm Fort. Work commences June 1900, and completed August 1901. New armament consisted of three 6″ Mk VII. B.L. guns (PRO WO78 4919)
1902  Armament – three 6″ B.L. Mk VII B.L. guns, three 12 pdr Q.F. guns and 4 Maxim machine guns.
1914 Three gun floor shelters completed to provide accommodation for the duty gun crews.
1914-18 Chapel Bay served as the “Examination Battery” for the Haven i.e. guns and lights manned 24 hrs a day (hence shelters above)
1932  Army leaves Chapel Bay Fort.
1935 Site sold / re-acquired by the Mirehouse family.
1939-45 Anti-aircraft emplacement and searchlight battery/control centre, and ammunition storage for local AA guns.
1959 Chapel Bay Fort scheduled as an ancient monument by CADW, reference PEMBS 333, file no. 82460.
N.B. 2 R.M.L. = Rifled Muzzle-Loader
  B.L.   = Breech-Loading, propelling charge in a bag.
  Q.F.  = B.L., propelling charge in a brass case.
  Copyright G.D. Geear & R.J.C. Thomas April 1997


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