OXFORD BATTERY – LITTLE POND

 Oxford Battery 9.2 Inch Gun

 

Top Picture: Installation of the MARK IX pivot mounting for a 9.2 inch calibre gun of the Oxford Battery, probably in the summer of 1944.

Bottom Picture: Crew beside an assembled MARK XV 9.2 calibre coast gun at the Oxfor Battery, 1944 – 45. This gun could fire a 380 pound shell up to 17 1/2 miles.

(Special thanks to John Clark – Sydney Amouries Museum)

Some of the things I remember about world war two and how it affected us living in Alder Point right next door to Little Pond was Fort Oxford Battery. In our eyes this was a massive army installation erected and manned to keep the German hordes at bay.

Many of us have forgotten about the strict rationing of food, gasoline and other staples were during the war years and for several years after the war. Fishermen and farmers purchased coloured gas to differentiate from the average joe. If you were not a fisherman or farmer and were caught with coloured gas you had your vehicle confiscated and were fined or maybe even went to jail.

Little Pond had a major affect on our lives especially when they tested their guns. It was manned by hundreds of soldiers many of them came out to Alder Point and played ball or went fishing. The Battery often put on picture shows and as youngsters we would walk out there and watch the show and walk back. I remember seeing Johnny Belinda starring Jane Wyman playing a deaf mute who was raped – heady stuff for us youngsters. Ironically years later (1968) when we lived in Bermuda Jane had a beautiful large house just across the road from us. She was never there but it was hers and we used to tell visiting children that it was haunted.

Other military type installations were power and telephone lines that ran throug the woods to Point Aconi. Large towers filled with brush and constructed of wooden frames were erected along the coast prepared to be set ablaze in the event of a raid. There was such a tower located in Solly LeBlanc’s field in Alder Point  and remained there well after the war was over. They could be seen from one to the other. From Alder Point we could see the very large lookout tower which was erected in Little Pond from its lookout you could observe Sydney Harbour and a large expanse of the Ocean.

The protection of Sydney Harbour was organized so that the outer approaches to the harbour were protected by bombardment batteries of large guns in order to keep large enemy ships out of gun range. At the harbour’s mouth close-defence batteries of smaller but faster firing guns would prevent any enemy from entering the harbour. Finally, anti motor torpedo boat or AMTB batteries guarded the inner harbour to deal with rush attacks by small fast-moving boats that might slip past the outer defences. They were placed directly in front of the anti-submarine net that secured the inner harbour.Counter bombardment batteries were placed at Oxford (Little Pond) and Lingan;  the close defence batteries were at Chapel Point and Fort Petrie; and the AMTB batteries at Stubbert’s Point and South Bar. This whole concept was supported by powerul far reaching search lights.

By 1943 the counter bombardment battery at Oxford was nearing completion and the men of the 36th were selected to mount and man that battery’s guns. The first of the big 9.2 inch guns arrived in the spring of 1944. The 9.2 inch Mark 15 could fire its 380 pound projectile to a range of 29,000 yards (roughly 17 miles). This equipment weighted over 125 tons, with the barrel alone weighing 25 tons. Seven rail cars were required to transport it. The big gun was moved from the railhead in Sydney Mines to the battery at Oxford by men of the 36th Battery who set to work installing it. The second gun arrived in May as the finishing touches were put to the mounting of the first. The second gun was mounted and in place by the end of the summer. After the war, Fort Oxford and Fort Petrie were maintained as permanent batteries until 1953 and 1956 respectively. By that time coast artillery had been rendered obsolete by missiles and other emerging technologies. The end of an era was reached.

Extracted from an article written by: Craig Organ and recommended by Norma Day

Advertisements

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Louise Theriault on May 1, 2009 at 21:49

    Thank you for the article about the Oxford Battery
    Little Pond.
    My husband was raised in Little Pond &remembers
    the battery.We climbed the army tower in 1961
    & took movie pictures of the area.
    The tower is still standing but the ladder was removed by the owner for safety reasons.
    We are coming home in July.We’ll miss the tower
    but al least we have our memories.
    Louise ,elltee@roadrunner.com

    Reply

  2. Posted by Melvin (Dewey) Pearo on May 3, 2009 at 00:32

    George— great story of Oxford Battery Little Pond , I remember it well, when I was a young boy I had a small dog named mountie, one day he followed the soldiers out to the barracks, my mother took me by the hand sure enough their was my puppy tied outside the barracks, she didn,t take long to go in and get my dog and we walked back home with him i was a happy lad. Colin pearo is my cousin I told him about your great page he is murray, s son and now lives in Cobourg. Keep up the good stories, melvin (Dewey)Pearo

    Reply

  3. Posted by john on October 7, 2009 at 12:21

    Well George , not being part of your younger life but I sure can relate to your trials and tribulations .. but it seems you done very well for
    yourself in gathering up such good hometown friends.. I am not a cape bretoner but a couple of my best and dearest friends are

    Reply

  4. Posted by mitchell bonnar on June 15, 2010 at 16:00

    i go to the barracks everyday and keep finding different underground rooms. i think their is alot more there than people know about. i was waking along and i heard hollowness in the ground. i also know about a room far back away from the barracks underground no one else knows about its about 50×50.

    i am very interested and want to know more about the alder point barracks

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: