As with any small isolated colony established in the early 19th Century, defence was considered paramount.  The Dockyard Fort was built on the present site of the Town Hall to protect the dockyard and Government House from any potentially hostile ships coming through the Narrows.  In May 1854 work commenced on a small earthwork mounting two light field pieces, three embrasures and a temporary magazine.  It was built by order of the Governor, approved by the Secretary of State and by the end of the year £175 had been spent on it.  Despite a very limited sum being at the disposal of the Government in 1855 for the execution of Public Works, a further £88 was spent at the beginning of the year in carrying on the earthwork.   In the list of Government Buildings of May 1855, the earthworks are recorded as being made of sods and unfinished and behind the earthwork was a flagstaff. 

In a letter dated 11 December 1876 Governor Callaghan was advised that four guns would be supplied free of charge by the War Office to replace the four old ones on the saluting battery.  They were sent down on the Vicar of Bray which departed England 2 June 1877.

According to ‘The Falkland Islands (and Dependencies). An illustrated handbook’ by T R St Johnston – 1920 – page 76, ‘Preserved in the Town Hall grounds is another battery of ancient cannon, once the guns of “the Fort” mentioned by Snow in his “Voyages”…A little to the west of the Dockyard…and the Headquarters of the Falkland Islands Defence Forces, guarded by four modern light field-guns.’ 


The four cannon in the Dockyard Fort

 In December 1919 two of the cannon at the old settlement at Port Louis were transported to Stanley on the cutter Indiana.  The cannon were placed on the spot on Victory Green where the 101 gun salute was fired on the celebration of the signing of the peace treaty ending World War I.

By 1922 active naval guns consisted of two 6” BL guns, one on Mount Lowe (registered number 1641) and one on Sapper Hill (registered number 1805), one 3 Pounder QF Hotchkiss on the Afterglow and one sub calibre gun in the Camber store shed.  The Hotchkiss and the sub calibre gun were dumped in deep water in Port William on 24 January 1924.

By December 1929 the guns held for defence of the Falkland Islands consisted of two 6” guns ex the Navy, one 12 pounder 18 cwt field gun ex HMS Glasgow in 1914, one 3 pounder Hotchkiss, two Maxim machine guns and five Lewis guns.

The 6” BL gun was moved from Mount Low to Sapper Hill by HMS Durban in 1932.  During a tactical exercise held in February 1933 it was concluded that the two guns sited together at Sapper Hill would not be adequate protection against bombardment from the sea.  The gun was moved to the Canopus Hut site by HMS Dauntless, with the assistance of fifty local labourers, in December 1933.

By 31 December 1939 the Artillery Section of the Falkland Islands Defence Force had two BL 6” BL guns (registered numbers 1805 and 1641), two 12 Pounder QF 12 Cwt (registered numbers 804 and 251), one 12 Pounder QF 8 Cwt Field Gun (registered number 1227) and two 3 Pounder Hotchkiss (registered numbers 2593 and 2721) guns.  The Machine Gun Section had three .303 Vickers Machine Guns and two .303 Maxim Guns. The Lewis Gun Section had eight .303 Lewis Mk I A/A Guns.  Three of the Lewis guns and one of the Vickers guns were on loan from HMS Ajax, one 3 Pounder Hotchkiss was on loan from HMS Exeter and the 12 Pounder (251) was on loan from the Admiralty

Government Files

pdfDEF-GUN-1-1. Harbour Master. Ammunition for 12 pdr gun at Jason.pdf1.1 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-2. S of S confidential despatch of 19.6.17 copy to be forwarded to Col Engineer. Mounting of Naval Guns in Falkland Islands.pdf137.46 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-3. M C Craigie-Halkett. Procuring of cannon from Port Louis for Victory Green Stanley.pdf238.57 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-4. Officer-in-Charge W-T Station. Requests guide to take naval parties to 6 in gun at Mount Low.pdf207.12 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-5. W Hutchison. Applies to purchase old gun carriage wheels.pdf1.27 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-6. Fences round guns on Sapper Hill and Mount Low.pdf290.43 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-7. Officer in Charge Naval W-T Station. Naval Guns in Falkland Islands. Custody of.pdf4.84 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-8. OC Defence Force. Report on condition of guns used for salutes etc.pdf617.9 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-9. OC Defence Force. List of guns for defence of Colony.pdf173.29 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-10. Harbour Master. Spare parts of 6 guns.pdf1.05 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-11. HMS Durban. Transfer to Colonial Government of naval guns for the defence of Stanley.pdf249.21 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-12. Taking over by the Colonial Government of the two six inch naval guns.pdf10.21 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-13. Fixed artillery defences of Stanley. In continuation of taking over of 6 guns 217-32.pdf12.34 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-14. Captain and Adjutant FIDF. 3 Pdr QF Hotchkiss Gun.pdf738.25 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-15. HM Dockyard Portsmouth. 12 Pdr guns and mountings etc for Falkland Islands Defence Force.pdf1.6 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-1-16. Provision of 12 pdr gun to be sited at Mount Low to prevent entry of hostile vessels into Berkeley Sound.pdf522.56 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-1. Fixed artillery defences of Stanley. Part II.pdf10.3 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-2. Post war defence of bases.pdf368.04 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-3. Fixed artillery defence of Stanley.pdf4.56 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-4. FIDF equipment.pdf3.13 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-5. Falkland Islands Defence Force. Explosion in 3-pdr. Hotchkiss gun.pdf1.5 MB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-5. Falkland Islands Defence Force. Explosion in 3-pdr. Hotchkiss gun - photos from enquiry.pdf836.77 KB

pdfDEF-GUN-2-6. FIDF ammunition.pdf2.08 MB

Maps and Plans

pdfMap and Plans - Sapper Hill Defences.pdf1.24 MB


While every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy the Jane Cameron National Archives does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in these records.

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