Report - - Hubberstone Fort, Pembrokeshire - April 2009 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hubberstone Fort, Pembrokeshire - April 2009


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Visted with Dumptyboy and his mate Lee

Hubberstone was built as part of the defensive system of fortifications and was one of the last to be constructed being built between 1863 and 1865. The programme of construction began in 1849 with Fort Hubberstone being one of the last started. It was sited in an excellent location on a headland near Milford on the north bank some halfway between the mouth of the Haven and Pembroke Dock. From its position its guns dominated the seas as far as the mouth of the Haven enabling it to rake the bows of approaching vessels, a tactic known as 'bow raking'. The warships could not return fire from the bows and any shot which penetrated the bow would travel the length of the gun deck causing much carnage. Hubberstone's guns could also operate in a crossfire with the guns at Fort Popton on the opposite bank. The Haven forts were all built with the idea of this crossfire in mind as wooden hulled warships could not accommodate crews to fire at both port and starboard batteries at the same time. If engaging against one fort a vessel would be open to fire from the other fort.

Hubberstone was the last layer of Haven defences before the dockyard at Pembroke, which had its own guns in Martello like tower structures. To enter the Haven an attacking fleet had to pass between the East & West blockhouses on either side of the mouth on the site of the old Tudor and Napoleonic positions. They then would arrive between Fort Dale and Fort Thorn Island firing from the front and the forts at Hubberstone, Stack Rocks and South Hook firing from the front. A chain could be placed across the Haven at this point to halt ships at that point. Beyond this point they again faced a crossfire from the fort at Chapel Bay on the south bank and the fort at South Hook on the north bank with Fort Stack Rocks in the Haven itself and all the while getting pounded from Fort Hubberstone and Fort Popton. Once past this obstacle the artillery towers in the Dockyard would be engaged, supported by Fort Scoveston which was some way inland.

To counter an attack by land Fort St Catherine's was built some 10 miles to the East at Tenby, the nearest good landing beaches to the dockyard. Pembroke Dock had a garrison of some 2000 troops as well as the fortified dockyard with its garrison of Marines and a Volunteer defence battalion. Hubberstone was one of the largest of the Haven forts and it mounted a formidable battery of coastal artillery. It was built with 28 9 inch guns and by 1872 8 7 inch rifled muzzle loaders were added on Montcrieff, Disappearing Carriages to absorb the recoil. The guns were mounted on a half circle of rail to the rear of each gun position to enable them to traverse. Finally in 1881 the guns appear to have been replaced with 10 inch weapons in barrette mountings.

These guns were set on carriages and operated on a counterweight system so that they remained hidden in special concrete pits until the time came to fire them, when they would be hoisted into position; although partially in-filled with concrete for a 12-pdr QF practice battery these concrete pits are still visible. The casemates were bricked up early in the 20th century and the fort was abandoned shortly after WW1. In WW2 it was pressed into action as a communal air-raid shelter and as an American army camp, but it has since fallen into disrepair and has been so badly vandalised that visiting the fort is not advised. A small brick structure built over the east magazine and visible from the road is a WW2 mine-watching post.

As well as an artillery platform, the fort served as a defensible barracks with some 250 men.

The Fort is also heavily overgrown and very Vandalised.

My Pictures















Big thanks again to Dumptyboy for showing me round.