Sandwich Battery, also known as Sandwich Point Battery, was a powerful coastal defence gun emplacement located on a 217-foot high granite hill at Sandwich Point, near Herring Cove on the mainland southwest of Halifax. The point, and hence the battery, was named for John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty when Halifax was founded in 1749. Construction of the battery began in the mid-1890s; it was designed to be paired with Fort McNab on McNab’s Island to guard the sea approaches to Halifax. The completion of Fort McNab and Sandwich Battery led to a decline in the usefulness of Fort Clarence in the inner harbour, which became derelict by 1913.
The large guns mounted at Sandwich Battery were among the heaviest ordnance ever fitted in the Halifax defence complex – two 27-ton 9.2-inch Mark X Breech-Loading (BL) guns on Mark V Barbette Carriages, that could fire a 380-pound projectile up to 34,000 yards (over 31 kilometers). The guns’ effective range was around 12,000 yards (11 kilometers) which allowed it to direct accurate fire over an area out to Chebucto Head and Devil’s Island. The two 9.2-inch guns were augmented by a pair of 6-inch Mark VII BL guns for shorter range engagements. Fort McNab was intended to have the same ordnance but only a single 9.2-inch was installed there, along with two 6-inch BLs. The 9.2-inch Mark X guns were made by Vickers in England; 284 in total were built for coastal defence, of which 28 examples are known to survive today.
The battery was directed by a fire control station about 650 metres to the north, near York Redoubt, which coordinated the gunfire from the various seaward defensive batteries in the area. Perched on a rugged summit, the battery was also known as Spion Kop after a Boer War (1899-1902) hill-top battleground in South Africa.
Sandwich Battery was the last fortification to be built by the British during the century and a half in which they garrisoned Halifax. Soon after its completion in early 1900s arrangements were finalized to hand over control to the Canadian Government, which took place in 1906. The battery was active during the First World War (1914-18), during which two concrete walls with rifle loopholes were added to defend against landward attack, and during the first half of the Second World War (1939-45). Sandwich Battery was deactivated in 1943 and the guns removed at that time; thereafter it fell into disrepair. The site today is on the grounds of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Damage Control and Firefighting School and is not accessible by the public.Photo by: Moneywagon (Own work) (CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)), via Wikimedia Commons