A 9.2-Inch BL Gun
9.2-Inch Ammunition Hoist Ammunition hoist

The No.1 Ammunition hoist in 2006

Aerial photo with overlay showing emplacements
Plan of Emplacements overlaid on a 1950 aerial photo.

In 1907, the Report of the Committee on Harbour Defences Abroad, headed by Gen. Sir John Fletcher Owen recommended changes to the armament on Mount Serapong and other coastal batteries in Singapore. In 1908, following his report, plans were drawn up to replace the guns on Mount Serapong (and in other batteries in Singapore). The Mount Serapong Battery was to be almost completely rebuilt and rearmed with two Mark X 9.2-Inch BL Guns on Mark V 15 Barbette Mountings.

Plan of the emplacementLEFT: Plan of the 9.2-Inch Battery.

Work began on the new battery, the 8-Inch BL Guns were removed and their emplacements largely destroyed. The No.1 Expense Ammunition Store was demolished to prevent interference with the field of fire of the new 9·2-Inch BL Gun. The No.2 Store was buried in sand, as was the passage leading out of the Magazine to the now redundant 8-Inch Emplacements.

The plan on the left shows the position of the new 9.2-Inch Battery in relation to the 8-Inch Battery it was replacing. The moving of the emplacements was decided on in order to provide an improved field of fire, particularly for the No.2 Gun.

A new entrance to the Cartridge Store was made in the left-hand Casemate room and the room beside it has been shortened to allow for a passageway.

A large extension to the Magazine was constructed. This was to be the new Shell Store, and an ammunition hoist was built at each end. The Store is erroneously called a tunnel by some people. The New Battery became operational around about September 1910.

The 9·2-Inch Magazine

Sledging a gun barrelRIGHT: A 9.2-Inch Gun Barrel being ‘Sledged’ onto its Mounting. Sledging involved the gun barrel being lashed to a wooden sledge and moved into position with wooden rollers. The principle is similar to that of Parbuckling, but without the use of a tripod.

The Gun assembly was mounted on a steel platform. All Shells and Propellant Charges were hoisted up to the gun from below the platform. This gave ammunition handlers a measure of protection. Cartridges were stored in recesses in the emplacement wall, and shells on a shelf along the front of the emplacement.

The Mark X Gun on a Mark V Mounting had a range of 17,400 Yards (15,910meters) and fired a shell weighing 380 Lbs (172.37) kg at a muzzle velocity of 823 meters per second.

9.2-Inch Gun being fired at Serapong9.2-Inch Gun at Serapon
ABOVE: A Serapong Battery Mark X 9.2-Inch Gun on a Mark V Barbette in Action

Front view of the Battery Command Post
ABOVE: The Battery Command Post from the front and side.
The white section to the left was added in the 1960s for radar installations on Serapong.

The entrance to and inside of the Command Post
ABOVE: The Entrance and interior of the Command Post. A Depression Range Finder would have been in here.

No.1 EmplacementLEFT: The No.1 Gun Emplacement during excavation work at the time of the 2006 archaeological survey and dig on Mount Serapong. The double circle of 46 mounting bolts for the Mark V Mounting is easily seen. The trench running through the circle was for the Accumulator (battery) Pit. Left of centre is the Ammunition Hoist with an Ammunition recess left foreground. The Shell Recess is in the far face of the emplacement.

The Serapong Battery remained in service till the mid 1930s, when a newly rebuilt Fort Connaught with its three improved Mark X 9.2-Inch BL Guns on Mark V 35° Mountings came into service. The Mount Serapong Battery then became redundant.

The gun emplacements had their Glacis* removed and were filled in. The Command Post remained, and a new Battery Observation Post for Fort Connaught was built just to the south of it. A deep shaft was made in the Shell Store, and this led down to a new Blakang Mati Command Centre deep A Saluting Battery on Mount Seraponginside Mount Serapong. Remains of this Post still exist, but were badly damaged when destroyed in February 1942, and exploration can be quite dangerous.

RIGHT: Post-war there was a Saluting Battery of Four 25-Pounder Gun Howitzers located on Mount Serapong. The photo shows men of the Singapore Artillery firing a Salute. The Saluting Battery can be seen in the overlaid photo at the top of this page. It is the light angled rectangle where the No.1 Gun was.

* Glacis: A slope in front of a gun emplacement.

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