View Full Version : Archived: Sunk Island Battery

06-08-2011, 03:50 PM
Sunk Island Battery, along with its sister battery at Stallingborough, were planned in 1911. The original plans were for two impressive self contained hexagonal fortifications, the centre pieces of which were a pair of 40 foot high concrete emplacements housing 6" Mk7 breech loading guns on Mk2 mounts. The guns could fire through 360 degrees, although the batteries were located so they could dominate the navigable lanes of the Humber against enemy shipping. Further east the river simply becomes too wide. The mouth of the Humber was defended by the guns at Godwin and Spurn Point.

Although construction began in 1914, the declaration of war with Germany led to renewed urgency as regarded coastal defences. The original plans were shelved in favour of a more simple design. By October 1914 the guns were ready for firing, each having a storage of 100 rounds. In 1915 permanent roads were built within the battery after a period of ferociously bad weather made the site almost unuseable. At this time it was also decided to make Sunk Island Battery the HQ of the Inner Humber Defences as well as the battery which would support the Examination Service, authorising shipping that passed into the Humber.To protect the battery from infantry assault barbed wire defences were added, along with fire trenches and blockhouses.

The battery went into action for the first time on 7 June 1915, firing at a Zeppelin returning from a raid on Hull. The battery's Maxim machine guns were used: no hits were recorded, the enemy being at approximately 9000 feet.

In June 1918 the battery was put into care and maintenance. During the inter-war years the guns were removed and the site abandoned.

With the outbreak of WW2 an "Extended Defence Officer" Observation Post was built on the site. This was used to control the submarine minefield that was laid across the Humber at this point. In April 1941 two 4.7" Quick Fire guns that had been removed from Spurn Point were installed on the original gun mounts. These remained until March 1943 when they were removed to Woolwich Arsenal. Once the guns were removed the battery's operational role ceased: at the wars end it was closed and abandoned for good.


J. E. Dorman Guardians of the Humber, The Humber Defences 1856-1956
J. Foster The Guns of the North-East, Coastal Defences from the Tyne to the Humber

One of the gun mounts. When operational they would have had a circular steel platform surrounding them. The door and window are to the ammunition store below. This is suprisingly cramped, especially if you're 6"4! However, as with the rest of the site, it is remarkably free from vandalism and there is no fire damage whatsoever. The white mess you can see on some of the photos is not paint, it has leeched out from the seams in the concrete. I've seen some older photos of this and similar sites in the source books and its just the same on those. Dare say a decent wire brush would bring it off.





The rods that located into the Mk2 gun mount were sunk 8 feet into the concrete

inside the door to the right. I do intend on returning during the winter when the foliage has gone from the trees and they provide less of a distraction/obstruction. Also when I went inside I was set upon by a million flies; these things will have gone in the winter as well. Could be a bit more "arty" with the B&W shots if there's a bit of snow around.

Unknown building although from the original plan of the site I suspect it may have been a workshop

This was on the northeast corner of the site and I suspect it may have been one of the blockhouses

Collapsed fortification. Even from the plans it's difficult to say what it may have been with any accuracy, although it is of concrete lined brick construction, so it is probably WW2

This small building is located in the opposite corner to the blockhouse, nearest the river bank. Turns out it housed the cables that ran out into the Humber that were controlling the submarine minefield. They disappear off under the river embankment. Dates to WW2

The cables themselves. Issues with the flies again so this was very FlashBangWollop. Due to the small size of the building and the even smaller door with blast wall it's impossible to set up a tripod and get any kind of view inside.

View directly across the Humber