Princess Anne's Battery

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Princess Anne's Battery
Part of Fortifications of Gibraltar
Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar
One of four guns at Princess Anne's Battery, with the Rock in background
Diagram of Princess Anne's Battery with north to the left
A-Gun 1, B-Gun 2, C and D-Gun 3, E-Gun 4
Princess Anne's Battery is located in Gibraltar
Princess Anne's Battery
Princess Anne's Battery
Coordinates36°08′46″N 5°20′48″W / 36.145982°N 5.346789°W / 36.145982; -5.346789
TypeArtillery Battery
Site information
Site history
Built1732 (1732)
In useDecommissioned late 20th Century

Princess Anne'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, above Princess Caroline's Battery. It was named after Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, the eldest daughter of George II. However, its name is often confused with those of other batteries in the area. In 1732, guns were first mounted on the battery, which also saw action during the Great Siege of Gibraltar. Princess Anne's Battery was updated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the latter modernisation entailing the installation of four QF 5.25 inch guns with both anti-aircraft and coastal defence capabilities. The battery was manned into the early 1980s, after which it was decommissioned. The guns were refurbished in the early twenty-first century, and represent the world's only intact battery of 5.25 inch anti-aircraft guns. Princess Anne's 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 Anne'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, below the Great Siege Tunnels and above Princess Caroline's Battery. It overlooks Spain, Gibraltar International Airport, and the Bay of Gibraltar.[3][4][5][6] The site was initially known as the 3rd Willis's Battery. It was renamed after Anne, Princess Royal (1709 – 1759), the eldest daughter of King George II,[7][8][9] also known as Princess Anne of Orange following her marriage to William IV, Prince of Orange.[10][11] The battery's position off Willis's Road near Princess Caroline's Battery is thought to be responsible for it frequently being mistaken for that battery. It is also sometimes referred to as St. Anne's Battery,[3][5] or confused with Princess Amelia's Battery or Princess Royal's Battery, with the first a misnomer and the latter two in close proximity to the Princess Anne's Battery site.[8]

The battery was built in 1732, with the guns mounted at that time consisting of five 12 pounders.[4][12] In 1771, it was reported that Princess Anne's Battery had five cannons directed toward the isthmus, and another four to address "the rear of the enemy approaches."[13] It was in use at the time of the Great Siege of Gibraltar, and an explosion of the magazine at Princess Anne's Battery on 11 June 1782 took the lives of fourteen men.[14][15][16] The following August, the flank of the battery was rebuilt.[15] Later, in the nineteenth century, the battery was updated with four 3 inch guns and three 13 inch mortars.[12] During the mid twentieth century, Princess Anne's Battery was refurbished. While the decision was made in 1942 to arm it with new guns, it wasn't until 1956 that four new QF 5.25 inch guns serving a dual role had been installed on the battery. They performed both anti-aircraft and coastal defense functions and featured completely enclosed turrets, with a 1 B mounting.[17] The four guns are partially surrounded by concrete rings which contain ammunition lockers. Three of the emplacements feature concrete bunkers with partially sunken magazines and engine rooms off to the side, while the fourth's magazine and engine room are completely subterranean.[18][19] Gun No. 4 is on somewhat higher ground than the first three guns. It is also immediately adjacent to the site of Princess Amelia's Battery.[19]

Recent history[edit]

One of the emplacements at Princess Anne's Battery on Willis's Plateau

Princess Anne's Battery was staffed and operational into the early 1980s. Since then, the guns have been decommissioned and have sustained the effects of weather and vandalism.[4][5] Accordingly, security measures now prevent easy access to the site, which is not routinely open to the public. Rather, access is arranged through the Gibraltar Tourist Board. At the turn of the twenty-first century, it was proposed that the area be developed as a tourist attraction. While improvements were made to the area, ultimately opposition to the suggestion put the plans on hold. The guns have recently been refurbished.[4][7] The restoration of gun No. 3 at Princess Anne's Battery was performed in two phases, in July 2006 and September 2007. The 2006 refurbishment was undertaken by members of the 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment of the Royal Artillery during exercise Marble Tor 5.[18] The 2007 restoration was performed by the 101 Battalion of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Volunteers) during exercise Marble Tor 6.[20]

In 2008, retired Major David Seed received a special commendation during the presentation of Heritage Awards by the Gibraltar Heritage Trust. His award acknowledged the role he played in arranging the annual Marble Tor exercises that involved refurbishment of heritage sites, including not only Princess Anne's Battery, but also Flat Bastion Magazine, Parson's Lodge Battery, Witham's Cemetery, and the 100 ton gun.[21] In May 2011, the Gibraltar Heritage Trust sponsored the 22nd annual painting contest. Princess Anne's Battery and Princess Caroline's Battery were the themes of the competition, whose winners were awarded prizes by the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Adrian Johns.[22] Princess Anne's Battery is listed with the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, and represents the world's only complete battery of 5.25 inch anti-aircraft guns.[3][23]



  1. ^ "List of Crown Dependencies & Overseas Territories". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  2. ^ Roach, John (10 October 2006). "Neandertals' Last Stand was in Gibraltar, Study Suggests". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 14 November 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Upper Rock Nature Reserve". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve). Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Gibraltar - Princess Anne's Battery". Subterranea Britannica. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Princess Caroline". Gibraltar Tourist Board. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Google map of Princess Anne's Battery". Google Maps. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b "The Princess Royal visits Gibraltar again" (PDF). Rock Talk (2): 9. July 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Princess Anne's Battery No.1 Gun (A)". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, then Princess Anne's Battery). Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  9. ^ Hyamson, Albert Montefiore (1951). A Dictionary of Universal Biography of All Ages and of All Peoples (2, reprint ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 20. ISBN 9780710015808. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  10. ^ Baker-Smith, Veronica P. M. (1995). A Life of Anne of Hanover, Princess Royal (illustrated ed.). Brill. p. ix, xi. ISBN 9789004101982. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Nuptias Ceremoniales inter Annam ... et Gulielmum Principem Arausionem ..." British Museum. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Traces of War - Princess Anne's Battery (Gibraltar)". STIWOT - Stichting Informatie Wereldoorlog Twee. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  13. ^ 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. C. Rivington. pp. 301–302. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  14. ^ Bethune, John Drinkwater (1786). A history of the late siege of Gibraltar (2 ed.). pp. 238–239. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  15. ^ a b Connolly, Thomas William John (1857). History of the Royal Sappers and Miners: from the formation of the Corps in March 1772, to the date when its designation was changed to that of Royal Engineers, in October 1856, Volume 1 (2 ed.). Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. pp. 16, 23. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  16. ^ Hume, David (1813). The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688. Evans. p. 381. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Princess Anne's Battery No.2 Gun (B)". discovergibraltarcom. (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Princess Anne's Battery, B 360 view at No.2 Gun). Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Princess Anne's Battery No.3 Gun (C)". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Princess Anne's Battery, C No.3 Gun layout). Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Princess Anne's Battery No.4 Gun (E)". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Princess Anne's Battery, E 360 view at No.4 Gun). Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Princess Anne's Battery No.3 Gun Interior (D)". (Click Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Princess Anne's Battery, D No.3 Gun plus interior photos). Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Running List of Heritage Award Winners" (PDF). Gibraltar Heritage Trust. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  22. ^ "Gib Heritage Trust Painting Winners Bring 'Batteries' Into Focus". Gibraltar Chronicle. 19 May 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Gibraltar Heritage Trust Act 1989" (PDF). Government of Gibraltar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.

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