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Kingswear Torpedo Battery

A Grade II Listed Building in Kingswear, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.3426 / 50°20'33"N

Longitude: -3.5606 / 3°33'38"W

OS Eastings: 289049

OS Northings: 50351

OS Grid: SX890503

Mapcode National: GBR QT.YW9R

Mapcode Global: FRA 38F4.8PC

Entry Name: Kingswear Torpedo Battery

Listing Date: 21 June 2006

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1391688

English Heritage Legacy ID: 496106

Location: Kingswear, South Hams, Devon, TQ6

County: Devon

District: South Hams

Civil Parish: Kingswear

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Brixham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

KINGSWEAR

438/0/10017 Kingswear Torpedo Battery
21-JUN-06

II
Torpedo Battery. Built in 1940 (inscription on wall). Concrete finished to resemble random rubble and thatch.

The torpedo battery sits on a large concrete platform built on top of an earlier swimming pool overlooking the approach to Dartmouth Harbour. It consists of a low sub-rectangular brick structure camouflaged in part with an external facing of broken concrete slabs set in concrete. The pitched roof is of reinforced concrete with a covering of haphazardly placed concrete slab fragments to enhance the impression of a thatched boat house of random rubble construction. There are openings in the seaward and landward facing ends. A single substantial opening in the seaward end has a stepped upper lintel, presumably reflecting the need to camouflage this end in particular. It was through this opening that the torpedoes would have been launched. On the landward end there are two unequal sized openings through which the torpedoes would have been carried into the battery. The larger southern one is denoted by a segmental flat arch and the smaller northern one by a segmental pointed arch. The wall on this end is of plain concrete. Internally, a raised concrete plinth in the western part of the building contains three elongated hollows complete with iron fittings aligned along the axis of the building. These would have supported the firing mechanism for the torpedoes. A winch also standing on this plinth was installed after the torpedo battery fell out of use. The base of a davit standing close to the building on the edge of the quay represents an integral, if slightly divorced part of the battery.

HISTORY: The battery was built in 1940 (inscription on wall) as part of a combined defence system (many elements of which are listed or are Scheduled Ancient Monuments) constructed during World War II to protect shipping sheltering within the large natural harbour at Dartmouth. The battery housed 21 inch torpedoes which would have been fired from the building at enemy ships trying to enter the harbour.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The torpedo battery survives exceptionally well and is a unique survival of a particularly unusual form of defense. It represents an innovative use of concrete as a camouflage material in a war time defensive context and forms an integral part of the Dartmouth defences as well as being a landmark on this historic coastline.

SOURCES

Devon Historic Environment Record SX85SE/329
National Monuments Record Monument SX 85 SE 61
Defence of Britain Project - Kingswear Torpedo Battery
Memories of War - By local people at home and abroad 1939 - 1946, Compiled by Ray Freeman, Dartmouth History research Group Paper 16, pp. 13.

Listing NGR:- SX8904950349

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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