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Historic England Research Records

Fort Gomer

Hob Uid: 461601
Location :
Hampshire
Gosport
Gosport
Grid Ref : SZ5891899378
Summary : The now demolished Fort Gomer was built 1853-1858. It was an early example of a polygonal fort and one of the earliest in England. It had a brick barracks to the rear with the main armament of the fort to the west, upon two earth bastions with a central curtain. The fort was said to be modified fairly soon after construction so as to remedy difficulties with the method of mounting guns. It was mainly used as a barracks and as a training facility during the Victorian period and was disarmed in 1901. The fort was further utilised to prepare troops for the Boer War and First World and in 1939 and 1943-4 it was again occupied by troops for training. On 4 March 1944 the 1st Hussar (6th Armoured Regiment) occupied the fort prior to the D-Day landings and in the early 1950s the 7th Royal Tank Regiment was based here, leaving in 1953. In that same year it was briefly occupied by the RAOC Training Boys School. Sometime after 1964 the fort was demolished and the land was redeveloped for housing.
More information :

(SZ 588993) Fort Gomer (NAT) (1)

Fort Gomer built 1852-57. (2)

Fort Gomer. Now demolished. (3)

Following the turmoil in Europe ca.1850, attention was focused on the weakness of the Stokes Bay redoubts and the Gosport flanks, as a result of which the new forts at Gomer and Elson (SU 50 SE 25) were constructed. These were both early representations of the 'polygonal' form of fortification and the earliest built in England. The idea was that the enceinte of individual forts was composed of straight lines of parapet and a deep ditch flanked by caponiers (bomb-proof galleries) projecting into it. This 'Prussian System' dispensed with defensive barriers linking each fort, the individual forts providing mutual support.

Just as Gomer and Elson were nearing completion, the Royal Commission on the defences of the United Kingdom visited the Portsmouth area in 1859. The French had laid down their first Ironclad, the `La Goire' in 1858, which made Britains' 'wooden-walls' obsolete overnight and the development of rifled gun bores and armour piercing shells rendered the old fortifications of little use. As part of the general upgrading of the Gosport and Portsmouth defences, three additional forts were added to create the Gomer-Elson line, Fort Grange, Rowner and Brockhurst (SU 50 SE 22-4), and these 3 forts were the first 'developed polygonal' forts in England. Regularly spaced, 1000 yards from centre to centre, the original plan by Major Jervois was to link them with a ditch but this was considered too expensive. The main purpose of the line was to defend Gosport at distance from an attack from the Winchester/Southampton direction.

Fort Gomers' design reflects the need to provide support to the Browndown Battery and for seaward defence. With the construction of the Stokes Bay Line, it was used to house mobile artillery for deployment along the line. Originally the armament consisted of 32 pounder smooth bore but this was later changed to 40 pounder Armstrong guns. (4-5)

Additional bibliography. (6)

Fort Gomer, built 1853-1858, was 'unique and an example of early attempts to break away from the old bastioned system of fortification.' There was a brick barracks to the rear with the main armament of the fort to the west, upon two earth bastions with a central curtain. The fort was said to be modified fairly soon after construction so as to remedy difficulties with the method of mounting guns. The fort was mainly used as a barracks and as a training facility during the Victorian period and was disarmed in 1901. The fort was used to train troops in preparation for the Boer War and First World War and in 1939 the 3rd Field Training Regiment was stationed here. In 1943/4 a Canadian unit, the Fort Garry Horse was stationed here with it's A and Headquarters Squadron for Amphibious assault training. On 4 March 1944 the 1st Hussar (6th Armoured Regiment) occupied the fort prior to the D-Day landings and in the early 1950s the 7th Royal Tank Regiment was based here, leaving in 1953. In that same year it was briefly occupied by the RAOC Training Boys School. Sometime after 1964 the fort was demolished and the land was redeveloped for housing. (7)

The fort and its associated barrack blocks were mapped from aerial phototgraphs as part of the Historic England Gosport HAZ project using historic RAF photographs taken prior to the demolition of the site.  (8)

A single Military oblique aerial photographs taken in 1923 shows the western side of the fort with an area of probable practice trenching  to the west of the moat (9).


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (A D Saunders)
Page(s) : 136
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 123 - 1966
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 21-JAN-69
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Portsmouth Papers No 30 Dec 1979 `The Western Defences of Portsmouth Harbour 1400-1800' 46 59-60 62 (G H Williams)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 5
Source : Coast defences of England and Wales, 1856-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 19,122,141-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1974
Source Number : 6
Source : Fortress Britain : artillery fortifications in the British Isles and Ireland
Source details :
Page(s) : 165
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1989
Source Number : 7
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Palmerston Forts Society. (2005). Fort Gomer [accessed 01-APR-2010]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF/106G/UK/1240 5084 13-APR-1946
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : SZ5899/2 27-JUN-1923
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Built 1853-8
Monument End Date : 1857
Monument Start Date : 1852
Monument Type : Artillery Fort, Barracks, Curtain Wall, Bastion
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Victorian period
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1858
Monument Type : Military Training Site, Barracks
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Boer War
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1899
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Demolished after 1964
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1964
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Disarmed 1901
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1901
Monument Type : Military Training Site, Barracks
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Boer War
Monument End Date : 1902
Monument Start Date : 1901
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : First World War
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : 1950s, until 1953
Monument End Date : 1953
Monument Start Date : 1950
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : 1939
Monument End Date : 1939
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : 1943-4
Monument End Date : 1944
Monument Start Date : 1943
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Demolished Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SZ 59 NE 8
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 238782
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 234450
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 234456
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 462047
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 238698
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 234447
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 234453
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 234459
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 461598
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SZ 59 NE 8
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1969-01-22
End Date : 1969-01-22
Associated Activities : Historic England: Gosport Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) and Alver Valley aerial investigation and mapping
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2019-11-01
End Date : 2020-08-30