There are two battieries in this area, with districtive roles.

South Foreland Battery and Wanstone Battery

Details on both are detailed below seperately

After the fall of France to the Nazi Blitzkrieg in 1940 the Germans soon began to build up forces in the Channel ports ready for an invasion of Britain. The British coastal artillery defences were very weak so an emergency programme of work was initiated updating existing batteries and building new batteries along the coastline. One of the first of these new batteries was built in the summer of1940 at St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe near Dover. The battery was armed with four 5.5-inch naval guns that had been removed from the battlecruiser HMS ‘Hood’ during her re-fit the previous May. The guns were installed in four reinforced, concrete gun-houses sited along the cliff-top.


The battery was manned by the 4 Officers and 165 other Ranks of 411 Battery, part of 540 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery. At the rear of the four gun emplacements men of 172 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers dug out a deep shelter to an average depth of 60 foot to provide safe accommodation for the crews in the event of the battery being shelled or bombed.


The battery’s guns had only a limited range of less than 18,000 yards making them fairly ineffectual for their purpose of shelling enemy ships out in the Channel and it was soon made redundant when Fan Bay Battery, with its more powerful 6-inch guns, came into operation in April 1941.


Thereafter St. Margaret’s became a training battery and later in the War it was converted into a ’flashing’ battery. When enemy shipping was spotted out in the Channel the guns would be loaded with special charges which produced a bright muzzle flash and fired deceiving the enemy into thinking they were coming under fire from heavy guns causing them to change course and then come into range of the real heavy 9.2-inch guns of South Foreland Battery.


The Battery fell out of use after the War and in the 1970’s the gun-houses and all other surface structures were demolished leaving just the Deep Shelter as the only trace left behind.


Clive Holden 


South Foreland Battery was built to defend Dover Harbour from enemy shipping during the Second World War. Construction on the battery began in 1941 and was completed in January 1942.

The battery comprised four emplacements for 9.2-inch breech-loading guns and was the largest of the coastal batteries built by the Royal Engineers for the Dover area.


Three of the gun emplacements were situated between Sea View Road and Goodwin Road, and one, in line with the others, was on the south-west side of Seaview Road.


The battery was manned by 290 Battery of 540 Coast Regiment until it was reduced to care and maintenance in 1944. In 1941 a Chain Home Extra Low radar station was co-located at the coastal battery. This was positioned at TR 3625 4339 near the lighthouse.


The gun emplacements are now buried but still in place. A number of standing buildings and building bases are present in the area.


Credit Kent Historical Site

Wanstone Farm 15" Coastal Battery


Situated on the cliffs between Dover & St. Margaret’s, this was the heaviest gun battery installed along Kent’s coastline during WWII. It consisted of 2 x 15” Naval guns supplied, along with their mountings and power plants, by the Admiralty.
The War Office assumed responsibility for all the building work on the site including the laying of railway tracks which connected to the main Dover to Deal line at Martin Mill.
The installation of the guns and construction of the ancillary buildings, magazines, underground plotting room and shelters was completed on 19th May 1942 when they were handed over to the Army to be manned by men from 540 Coast Defence Regiment.
The huge guns were soon blessed with the nicknames ‘Jane’ (after a popular newspaper cartoon character of the time) and ‘Clem’ (after the then Deputy PM – Clement Atlee).
Apart from their basic armoured housings the only passive protection afforded to the guns was the reverse-slope of their emplacements and some heavy camouflage netting.
However a HAA battery was installed nearby which offered substantial offensive protection from air attack.
The Battery continued in service after the War, as part of the Coast Training Regiment, until the mid 1950’s when it was de-commissioned and the guns dismantled.
Credit Kent Historic Sites



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