The Duplex six-pounder was installed at Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hil in 1944, and could shoot 72 rounds per minute out of its two barrels, rotate 360 degrees and had a range of 4.5 kilometres. Belmont Battery is currently undergoing massive renovations. (Parks Canada photo)

Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill undergoing massive renovations

Historic site still open despite renovations

Structures at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site in Colwood are getting a face lift.

Massive renovations are currently underway on the Belmont Battery including restoration of the concrete, the metal work of the tower and woodwork.

Fort Rodd Hill curator Kate Humble said there were parts of Belmont Battery, particularly the observation tower, that have been closed for the past few years due to unsafe conditions, but renovations will help open that back up to the public.

“The whole thing is basically being redone … There will be improved public access,” she said, noting while renovations will continue until next fall, the rest of the site remains open.

“You’re actually going to go to these parts of the battery that you weren’t able to get to for the last few years – stand where these historic people stood and look out over the view that they looked over and really situate yourself in the historic context a bit better.”

RELATED: Restoration funds $4M for Fort Rodd upgrade

The restoration is part of a $3-billion federal project which began in 2015 to renovate heritage structures to mark Canada 150 celebrations. Of that $3 billion, Fort Rodd Hill received $2.4 million.

Local renovations began in 2015 with the lower and upper batteries. Work included repairing concrete and upgrading woodwork and drainage, and was completed in 2016 and in May of this year, respectively.

Renovations of Belmont Battery are currently taking place around two large pieces of artillery that are steeped in history. Originally built between 1898 and 1900 to protect CFB Esquimalt as part of Canada’s coastal defense system on the west coast, Belmont Battery soon became home to some of the most modern artillery in WWII.

The first is the 12-pounder quick firing gun, which was installed at the beginning of the 20th century and was designed to stop fast torpedo boats from entering the harbour.

The second piece was incredibly rare and installed in 1944. The Duplex six-pounder could shoot 72 rounds per minute out of its two barrels, rotate 360 degrees and had a range of 4.5 kilometres.

It took four people to operate, and the six- pound shells were hand loaded.

RELATED: Canada’s 151st birthday deserves a giant cake

Neither guns were fired in protection of Esquimalt Harbour during WWII. After the war, the gun was sent to Norway to protect the Norwegian fjords as part of a NATO agreement. The gun was returned to Fort Rodd Hill in the 1980s.

Both guns will undergo restoration work, including rust mitigation and protection from the weather in 2020, said Humble.

“People who came in the past may have seen the batteries in slightly run down condition, and if you come back now you’re going to get the chance to really see what this little infusion of money has done to restore and make all of these places a lot more accessible and a lot more enjoyable,” Humble said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A solider stands by the 12-pounder quick firing gun, which was installed at Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill at the beginning of the 20th century and was designed to stop fast torpedo boats from entering the harbour. Belmont Battery is currently undergoing massive renovations. (Parks Canada photo)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Driver found guilty in Saanich crash that left Leila Bui with catastrophic brain injuries

Tenessa Nikirk convicted on one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Greater Victoria man killed in Alberta accident was expectant father

Geordie Murray described as ‘wonderful husband, brother son and friend’

West Shore RCMP look to identify man who allegedly stole two hoverboards

Suspect described as five-foot-10, heavyset, with dark brown hair

West Shore RCMP arrest man attempting to break into Colwood homes naked

Suspect entered one home, broke two front door glass panels

John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce on display at Victoria’s Royal BC Museum

The classic car has been a favourite for Beatles fans from Victoria and internationally

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes mobiles, guest suites not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women to not walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

The Three Bears are down to two after baby bear carving stolen from his perch in Island community

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

‘Big money’ funding B.C. politics now mostly from taxpayers

Campaign targets $16 million and counting in ‘politician welfare’

Ski lift closed at B.C. mountain over alleged actions of former employee

‘We are actively investigating and dealing with the actions of a former employee,’ said the resort

Most Read