West End Batteries

The West end of Bere Island also had a so-called red line. This was a line on the map demarking land that had been compulsory purchased by the British Military. It was marked by bollards (see photograph) and barbed wire, and was from ‘Dick’s Height, West. As well as delineating part of the red line, the bollard also served as a benchmark, and had a horizontal line with an up-facing arrow beneath it.  On maps and infrastructure plans, the horizontal line served to indicate a known level (for building/surveying purposes). The letters WD (War Deptartment are also found on the bollards.

As was the case at the East End,  the land was leased back to the farmers who became tenants of the British Military.

Within that area there were three gun Batteries, Reenduff, Derrycreeveen and Ardnakinna. They protected the western entrance to Berehaven harbour from  the Pipers’ Sound. There were also several ancillary structures.

Coastal Artillery Guns

Each battery had two 4.7inch costal guns which were cast by the Elswick Ordinance company in New Castle Upon Tyne. (see photographs from Spike Island Museum). The guns were in circular gun emplacements which allowed them to swivel.   The shells were stored underground and were raised by dumb waiter type hoists.  Between the guns there was a lookout building where a telescope and aiming equipment was mounted. (see video of Derrycreeveen Battery).

Construction

Each battery area was surrounded by two-tier iron paling fences. (those paling bars were later used on many  a farm fence at the west end). At the entrance there was a security building with gunports and a second one with staggered walls (see video of Derrycreeveen battery)  On the seaward side of each battery there was an embankment of sand. The sand had been shipped in from Traneen across near Dunboy and from Barleycove. These became great rabbit warrens later.

Additional structures

The other structures at the batteries were:

  • The Lights built near the sea at Foill Na mBó, three buildings with huge search lights to cover the western harbour. These lights were controlled from an underground building up near John Joe Harrington’s. Electric mines at the Harbour’s mouth were also controlled from there.
  • The Dwellings, an Officers’ family  building in the square in front of Reenduff Battery (see photograph).
  • The Long Hall  for recreation and drill, and underground storages down near Reeduff.
  • The military  also built a pier and  low tide slipway at Loch near Watsons (unfortunately those are now practically destroyed) with a cutting through the rock above Watsons  to access it. (see photos)
Bollard at Dick's Height marking the West End Red Line.
Barry Sullivan
Dwellings with Reenduff Battery in the background.
Barry Sullivan
Patrick Sullivan Seir pictured with a 4.7 gun at Spike Island, the same guns were installed at the Western Batteries on Bere Island.
Barry Sullivan
4.7 Gun on Spike Island
Barry Sullivan
Cutting access to Loch Pier.
Barry Sullivan
Search lights at Foill na mBo
Barry Sullivan
Western Batteries, Derricreveen, BERE ISLAND
A short film of the Western Batteries at Derricreveen, Bere Island.

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