Crownhill Fort, Plymouth

March 2013

Crownhill Fort held its first re-enactment event for over three years over the weekend of 8 to 10 March 2013.

A number of eras were represented, reflecting the history of the fort as a working military base from its completion in 1872 until its sale in 1987.

In addition to a Victorian encampment there were displays of firepower through the ages, WW2 military vehicles, and a Victorian battle on the ramparts.

The Victorian presence was provided by:

The Blue Jackets (HMS Active)
Surrey Rifle Volunteers
Portsdown Artillery Volunteers

The Victorian re-enactors staged displays of weapons of the era and various drills.  There were also static living history displays where members of the public could ask questions about the equipment used in battle or practice their cutlass techniques.

They also staged a short battle reconstruction on the ramparts depicting a skirmish between fort defenders and a group of hostiles intent on "spiking" the guns

The "Firepower Through The Ages" display demonstrated the development of firearms over a period of nearly 300 years, starting with a flintlock Brown Bess (1722), through muzzle loading Enfield rifles, to breech-loading black powder rifles such as the Snider and Martini-Henry rifles. 

These were then followed by demonstrations of firing from bolt-action guns using smokeless powder, including the Long Lee, The SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield) of Great War vintage, and a Lee Enfield Number 4 rifle (World War 2) and a selection of machine guns and a field gun.

As a part of the entertainment a 32-pound breech loading smooth bore cannon. located in the North Caponier, was fired each day with supporting fire from Martini Henrys through the adjacent loopholes.

The original purpose of this would be to clear any invaders from the ditch.

It was hoped that the Moncrief Disappearing gun would be in action, but this was not possible due to technical difficulties.