The Victorian barracks on the headland between Vazon and Perelle is the only one of its type left in Guernsey.
A battery has been sited on the West Coast headland since the late 18th Century to protect Vazon and Perelle from invasion.
Documents show in 1803 the West Regiment of the Guernsey Militia manned the battery with two 18 pounders and later during the Napoleonic Wars a barracks was built on the site, but this was demolished after the peace treaty had been signed.
The Fort Richmond barracks were built in 1855 when Guernsey was perceived to be under threat of invasion from France but as Britain allied with them against Russia in the Crimea War the fears proved to be groundless.
Built in a hollow to protect the ground floor from artillery shells the building was untouched by the modifications made to the site during the German Occupation and remained intact whilst similar buildings at Fort Le Marchant and Fort Hommet were demolished.
When the peace of Amiens was signed in 1803 the two guns were under the command of Captain Nicolas Alles who led B Company which contained a sergeant and 18 men.
1805 was the year of Trafalgar, a British navy victory over the French, and Austerlitz, a French victory on land against Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, which left France in control of most of Europe and Britain, and especially the islands, under threat of invasion.
Richmond battery was just one of many to receive an upgrade as the armaments of the battery became four 20 pounders, and the garrison was increased to man the extra guns.
The Victorian barracks were built in 1855
At the height of the perceived threat of invasion the garrison consisted of one Commanding Officer, two Captains, four Subalterns, 168 non-commissioned officers and privates and three horses.
In 1808 the Militia were replaced by the 11th Veteran Battalion and regular soldiers were stationed there until 1820 when it stopped being manned.
The rebuild in 1855 was also due to a perceived threat of invasion which did not come to pass and in 1908 the barracks was transferred to the States of Guernsey from the War Department.
The War Department took back control of the site during the First World War before it was returned to the States in 1922.
In the inter-war years it was used as housing, a use it returned to after the Second World War.
During the German Occupation bunkers and other structures were built in the battery and surrounding ditch and this was the only time that the guns were fired in anger.
Since 1945 as well as housing the barracks have been used by the Guernsey Surf Club and a Christian Youth Group as a headquarters.
In March 2008 Fort Richmond was named by the States as one of the properties that would be sold off as part of the island's Government plans to rationalise its portfolio to raise vital funds for essential projects.
last updated: 16/12/2008 at 17:48
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