Fort Campbell - Still standing proud albeit crippled and forgotten
Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:29
Its time for me to "bore" you all again with one of my long threads detailing fortifications on the Island of Malta. This particular thread is one very near to my heart as I know this fort when I was younger and I often frequented it as a scout or even for the odd sunday walks. Sadly, since then the place has sufferred not only severe vandalism but has fallen into ruin. Whereas I have in mind a number of ideas for the rehabilitation of this fort (as I had done locally with an enterpreneur owning a large air raid shelter under his property) and which I would love to put to the local governments in the form of a business plan aimed at restoring the fort and turning it into a viable commercial entity, the time for me to sit and draft a serious proposal is very sadly lacking. 10 years since my original idea that someting can be done about the fort, I have not yet put pen to paper, knowing at the back of my mind that the country has indeed a great many other priorities to restore other older fortifications. In any case.... here goes my presentation. I hope you enjoy it as a lot of time has again gone into it, not to mention the fact that on the day I took most of the photos, the place was infested with flies due to the bad weather when all the little black "aircraft" seemed grounded and sheltering within the fort!!!
Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:33
A brief history:
The last fort to be built in Malta by the British, was Fort Campbell.
The main scope for the building of Fort Campbell was to protect the approaches for Mellieha and St. Paul?s Bays. That is because there were no defences to protect these two approaches and so, a decision was taken to build a new fort on Il-Blata, at the end of the Selmun promontory. Governor Bonham-Carter, while on tour around the Island, visited the site where Fort Campbell was to be built. Although the building of Fort Campbell is reported to have begun in 1937 it seems that till 1 December 1937 no work had been started on this site. Probably the work started at the very end of the same year.
The new fort was designed to mount two 6-inch guns.2 Bonham-Carter insisted that the work on this fort had to be hurried up, because after the Munich Crisis of September 1938 it was seen that a war was coming, and all the fortifications being built had to be finished as quickly as possible. It is important to note that the design of this fort reflected the need to contend with a new threat in the form of aerial bombardment. So protection against air attack had become a vital consideration.
The main characteristic of the British fortifications of the late 19th century was the thick ramparts and ditches. But by this time these characteristics were abandoned in favour of thin walls. Therefore, Fort Campbell was built with a thin wall to resemble the field walls of the surrounding countryside, while the plan was broken up by an irregular trace designed to imitate the pattern of the adjoining terraced fields. Perimeter defence was provided by a number of machine-gun posts placed at irregular intervals and in other places there were few rifle loopholes.
Internally, the fort?s buildings were all scattered in order not to create any concentration. 7 The buildings of the fort included the command post, gun emplacements, water tank, direction posts, barrack accommodation and magazines. Its most important structure was the Battery Observation Post (BOP), which was situated roughly in the middle of the area and faced north. 8
Fort Campbell had also Defence Electric Lights (Searchlights), which were situated a considerable distance away from the fort and situated along the shoreline to the north. There were three emplacements for searchlights, two of which were sited at the edge of the cliff overlooking the small island of St. Paul?s, while the third was placed closer down by the sea farther west.
Edited by JimZ, 11 November 2007 - 05:31 .
Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:38
1. A view of the fort as you approach it from the landward side of Mellieha. Red marks indicate defence posts. The central defence post housed 2 machine guns and the other two posts had rifle loops. The green mark indicates the entrance into the fort itself. The rest of the buildings to the right are part of the barracks complex.
Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:47
3b. The mess hall - note that the beams as seen above the far left red mark have been removed. The massive concrete roof is caving in under its own weight as this is no longer supported. The building is in a very near state of collapse (apart from being full of litter)!!
Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:58
7a. View of an underground bunker which I believe was used to store either water or ammunition. Again, I did not get inside to try to figure it out properly! It seems to be however fairly shallow and has steel rungs in one of the entrances.
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