Princess Amelia's Battery

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Princess Amelia's Battery
Part of Fortifications of Gibraltar
Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar
Princess Amelia's Battery, 2013.JPG
Two remaining buildings at Princess Amelia's Battery
Princess Anne's Battery diagram.png
Diagram of Princess Amelia's and Princess Anne's Batteries with north to the left. E - Gun No. 4 of Princess Anne's Battery
Princess Amelia's Battery is located in Gibraltar
Princess Amelia's Battery
Princess Amelia's Battery
Coordinates 36°08′43″N 5°20′50″W / 36.145334°N 5.347271°W / 36.145334; -5.347271
Site information
Owner Government of Gibraltar
Condition Poor
Site history
Built 1732 (1732)

Princess Amelia's Battery is an artillery battery in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It is located on Willis's Plateau at the northern end of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, adjacent to Gun No. 4 of Princess Anne's Battery. It was named after Princess Amelia of Great Britain, the second daughter of George II. It was formerly referred to as the 2nd Willis's Battery. The plateau and its batteries had previously been named after an artillery officer by the name of Willis who was outstanding during the capture of Gibraltar in 1704. Princess Amelia's Battery saw action during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, during which it sustained substantial damage. Little remains of the original site, aside from two derelict buildings. The battery is listed with the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.

Early history[edit]

The daughters of King George II (Anne, Amelia, and Caroline), after whom three batteries in Gibraltar were named
Princess Amelia's Battery, c. 1780 by gun depression carriage designer George Koehler.

Princess Amelia's Battery is in Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula.[1][2] The artillery battery is located on Willis's Plateau at the northern end of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, above Princess Caroline's Battery and adjacent to the fourth gun of Princess Anne's Battery. Both Princess Amelia's Battery and the adjacent Gun No. 4 are on higher ground than that of Guns No. 1 through 3 of Princess Anne's Battery.[3][4]

The site was initially known as the 2nd Willis's Battery.[4] The Willis's Batteries were constructed at the area of the former Reduto (English: Redoubt) de San Joachim, at an elevation of 440 feet above the isthmus.[5] During the capture of Gibraltar in 1704, an artillery officer by the name of Willis was outstanding in his manning of the guns. To honor the officer, the Batteries of San Joachim and the Bastion of San Jose were renamed Willis's.[6] The site was renamed again after Princess Amelia (1711 – 1786), the second daughter of King George II.[4][7][8] The proximity of the battery to Princess Anne's Battery is such that the latter is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Princess Amelia's Battery.[9] Princess Amelia's Battery was one of several on Willis's Plateau that also included Princess Anne's Battery and Princess Royal's Battery.[4]

Princess Amelia's Battery was first armed in 1732.[4] Three decades later, during the Spanish War of 1762, there were six cannons at the battery, four 6-pounders and two 9-pounders.[4] By 1771, Princess Amelia's Battery had five embrasures directed in front and three additional cannons.[10] There were half a dozen guns behind embrasures by 1773.[4] Several years later, during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, many of the emplacements on Willis's Plateau, including those of Princess Amelia's Battery, sustained severe damage.[4] Of the fortifications of Gibraltar, the batteries on Willis's Plateau received the brunt of the attack from the Spanish during the siege. Gilbard and Drinkwater Bethune, among others, related the story of a shot which found its way through an embrasure in Princess Amelia's Battery, hitting four of the soldiers, and amputating between three and seven lower extremities in the process, depending on the source.[11][12][13]

Recent history[edit]

Two derelict buildings remain at the site of Princess Amelia's Battery, which is listed with the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.[4][14]


  1. ^ "List of Crown Dependencies & Overseas Territories". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Roach, John (10 October 2006). "Neandertals' Last Stand was in Gibraltar, Study Suggests". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Map of Princess Amelia's Battery". Google Maps. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Princess Anne's Battery No.4 Gun (E)". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Princess Anne's Battery, E 360 view at No.4 Gun). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Fa, Darren; Finlayson, Clive; Hook, Adam (31 October 2006). The Fortifications of Gibraltar 1068-1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 9781846030161. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Entrance to Tunnels (A)". (Click Tunnels, 18th Century Tunnels (Middle Galleries), Entrance to Tunnels (A)). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "King George II". NNDB - Soylent Communications. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Princess Amelia Sophia Eleanora (1711-1786), Second daughter of George II". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Princess Anne's Battery No.1 Gun (A)". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, then Princess Anne's Battery). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  10. ^ James, Thomas (1771). The history of the Herculean Straits: now called the Straits of Gibraltar: including those ports of Spain and Barbary that lie contiguous thereto. Illustrated with several copper plates, Volume 2. Printed by C. Rivington for the authour. p. 302. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Gilbard, Lieutenant Colonel George James (1888). A popular history of Gibraltar, its institutions, and its neighbourhood on both sides of the straits, and a guide book to their principal places and objects of interest. Garrison Library. p. 70. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica; or A dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous literature, Volume 9 (6 ed.). Printed for Archibald Constable and Company. 1823. p. 711. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Drinkwater Bethune, John (1786). A history of the late siege of Gibraltar (2 ed.). pp. 226–227. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Gibraltar Heritage Trust Act 1989" (PDF). Government of Gibraltar. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 

External links[edit]