Visit to Fort Nelson

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Our guide took us on a comprehensive tour beginning with the battlements to see the range of area that would have been defensible and then down into the tunnels that lead to the artillery stores and magazines.

As a museum the fort and holds representative pieces of artillery from all corners of the world and from many periods in history. He also walked us through the large shed where guns, cannons and fire arms of all types are renovated for display. We saw some cannons recovered from a 16th-century Spanish galleon being soaked in water to remove the salt before preservation, to stop corrosion. Also in this shed were examples, of the rail-mounted guns used in the First World War; we all marvelled at how they had been manoeuvered into the shed, and could quite see how they had proved completely impractical in the field of war: laying the tracks alone would have been a monumental task!

The most fascinating for me was the North Mortar Battery which fired its 13-inch mortars through a gap between the arched roof and the defence wall in front – it was impossible for the enemy to see where it came from before it hit its target.

We were then in time for the 1pm gun firing – the closest any of us wanted to get to real bombardment – and we finished in the tea room again, a very interesting morning spent in the company of someone who made his encyclopaedic knowledge fascinating for us.