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13 November 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > History > Local History > Fort Doyle

Fort Doyle

The fort seen from the east

Fort Doyle

Named after one of Guernsey's most well-known Lieutenant Governors it was built to defend the island's north-eastern tip.

The States decided to build a battery on the headland east of the Fontenelle Bay in 1803 as part of extensive improvements to the island's defences during this period of war between revolutionary France and England.

Three 18 pounder cannon were placed at what was then known as 'Doyle Battery', in honour of the Lieutenant Governor of the day, Sir John Doyle, who was behind much of the work which included forts, batteries, towers and the building of roads like Route Militaire so that troops could be moved quickly to oppose any invasion.

The threat from France declined towards the end of the 19th Century but the fort remained important to the island after the construction of La Platte Fougère lighthouse in 1909.

Fort Doyle

The original traversing platform

During the Second World War it was once again used for defence as the German occupying forces, who called the fort Stutzpunkt Nebelhorn heavily fortified the area including three coastal defence guns, anti-aircraft guns and mortars.

The headland is a defensively strong position as it overlooks possible landing places at the eastern end of Fontenelle Bay and also the narrow sea passage between the coast and the rocky reefs of the Platte Fougère.

The fort has a distinctive rounded shape at the northern end built to accommodate one of the cannon on a traversing platform, while the other two faced east and west on rolling garrison carriages.

Inside the fort was a guardhouse and shot furnace room, while a moat was dug around the landside and quarters for the lead gunner were built.

Fort Doyle

German anti-air platform looking out to lighthouse

The fort was transferred to the Crown in 1847, eight years later the Board of Ordnance started to enlarge the site and by 1860 the two flanking cannon were mounted on wooden traversing platforms.

After the lighthouse was built Fort Doyle came to be used as an alternative fog signal station and store.

The German garrison during the Second World War was a target for the Royal Air Force who dropped leaflet raids, encouraging the soldiers to put up no resistance and surrender, from early September 1944.

last updated: 15/06/2009 at 15:33
created: 27/01/2009

You are in: Guernsey > History > Local History > Fort Doyle

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