- Created: 09 March 2014
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Fort Godwin was a coastal battery built to defend the ports along the Humber estuary. It opened in 1915 and was constructed for two 9.2-inch breech-loading Mark X guns. The battery was in use throughout the First World War and kept in use during the inter-war period. The battery was modified during the Second World War and in 1940 was equipped with a 4-inch Mark IX gun on naval mountings and a new pair of searchlights. The battery was retained for use after the war. A site visit in 1995 revealed that the strongpoint, coastal artillery searchlight and the 4-inch gun emplacement have been destroyed. The gun aprons have both collapsed, half lying on the beach, half on the cliff top but highly unstable.
This black & white photograph clearly shows the extent of the Battery
Godwin Battery, named in honour of Major General Godwin, formed part of the programme to strengthen the outer defences of the Humber. The site selected was the stretch of low cliffs near the old village of Kilnsea. The site was selected in late 1914 and was to house two Mk IV guns on Mk V mountings.
A panorama shot of the entire battery which now lies on the beach
Gun Mounts sit idle
Construction of the battery began in 1914 with the construction of a sea wall 300yds long around the site to protect from the advancing sea. Behind this two 9.2"BL guns were mounted in circular concrete pits approx. 100yds apart and 43' above mean sea level. Between the guns were the underground magazine, crew shelters and workshops, the magazine roof being 5ft thick. On the right and left of the battery were two battery observation posts, one housing a 30' Barr and Stroud rangefinder, both BOP's had defensive blockhouses built into their base. The barrack accommodation was unlike that of other batteries, being substantially constructed of brick and concrete, these included a guard house, officers quarters and a hospital. The defensive measures taken to protect the battery included a 6' wall enclosing the landward perimeter while the seaward side was surrounded by a network of fire trenches and a 20ft ditch filled with barbed wire. Further protection was given by a large concrete blockhouse situated on the beach and a redoubt known as Murrays Post on the rising ground to the North West. Another feature of the battery was the terminus of the Spurn Point railway which supplied the Spurn Point garrison.
After nearly 100 years and subjected to harsh conditions parts of the battery are in remarkable condition
The battery became operational in early 1916 and remained so until the end of the war. Unlike the inner Humber defences which were gradually abandoned between the wars, Godwin Battery remained active and was used for a number of purposes including Territorial Army training and school outings.
The battery was put back to full strength with the advent of the Second World War. Steps were also taken to provide the battery with a means of close defence; this included the installation of a 4" BL Mk. 9 gun just to the south of the right hand Battery Observation Post, together with a single 90cm Coastal Artillery Searchlight. In August 1940 half inch thick armoured plate anti-strafing shields were built around the two 9.2" guns.
A 9.2" Coastal Battery Gun
This Gun similar to Godwins Guns operated on top of Gibralter Rock
The battery was manned by the 269th Coastal Battery RA until the end of 1944 when the 9.2" guns were removed from their mountings and the battery placed in care and maintenance. In 1959 the site was put up for sale and became a caravan site.