Author Topic: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps  (Read 3794 times)

DevonDave

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #15 on: 09:22:44, 13/07/15 »
The name "Walla" either comes from the Celtic word "Huella", which means workings associated with tin streaming, or possibly from the Anglo Saxon word "Wielle", which means a spring.  There are tin workings beside the stream referred to as North Walla Brook, so perhaps Crossing was wrong and this is why it was so named.

Thanks for the link to Marine Perry's memorial.

thomasdevon

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #16 on: 16:55:16, 10/07/17 »
Oops! Two years since I did anything on this thread. Can't believe its been so long. Nor that I have managed to bag so few of the unmapped locations on Dartmoor in that time. (though I had a good 9 months away form hiking as I had taken a challenging and under-paid full-time job: I am now retired!)


Going to start again - I plan to put up a description of each one, and I'll leave it up to members to actually do the bagging - I'm never going to make it at this rate! Good luck all.

DevonDave

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #17 on: 17:15:59, 10/07/17 »
Welcome back Thomas, I was wondering where you'd got to!  :)

Welsh Rambler

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #18 on: 20:17:43, 12/07/17 »
Oops! Two years since I did anything on this thread. Can't believe its been so long. Nor that I have managed to bag so few of the unmapped locations on Dartmoor in that time. (though I had a good 9 months away form hiking as I had taken a challenging and under-paid full-time job: I am now retired!)


Going to start again - I plan to put up a description of each one, and I'll leave it up to members to actually do the bagging - I'm never going to make it at this rate! Good luck all.
Shall look forward to this Thomas. Dartmoor seems full of mystery and intrigue and I am enjoying exploring the area. We have a local friend who was born in Widecombe 90 years ago and she is a mine of information.
Regards Keith

thomasdevon

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #19 on: 20:49:38, 12/07/17 »
Cheers Dave and Keith.


One thing that will never be marked on any OS map no matter how good is where did the biggest shells ever fired onto Dartmoor go?
These were supposed to have been fired from a massive ex-Royal Navy gun, removed from a de-commissioned monitor after WWI, mounted on a railway wagon and fired several times into the north moor.


Where did they go? Where were they aiming at?


I have read about this somewhere, I'll see if I can find the source again. Supposed to have been one of the two biggest guns ever purchased by the RN so should have left some seriously big craters.


Back later with this.

thomasdevon

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #20 on: 20:59:29, 12/07/17 »

Found this again pretty much immediately -

"An 18 inch calibre railway gun was brought to Devon and fired onto Dartmoor from Halwill Junction and North Tawton. Whether this was done for training, to boost morale or to confuse German air reconnaissance is not known. Locals recall the deafening sound of it firing and the sound like a dustbin rumbling as the shell passed overhead. The gun was constructed from a barrel removed from HMS Furious when she was converted into an aircraft carrier in 1917 and remounted onto a railway flat by Elswick Ordnance Company."
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/33309/armed_forces_ondartmoor_brief_history.pdf


However, Wikipedia shows HMS Furious was launched on 18 August 1916 with two single barrel turrets with an 18-inch gun (BL, Mk1) each. The forward turret was removed prior to launch and the rear turret in November 1917, both to facilitate aircraft hangar and flight deck construction. The guns were assigned to monitors HMS General Wolfe and Lord Clive.[/font][/size]

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Research continues.......[/font][/size]






thomasdevon

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #21 on: 09:49:52, 13/07/17 »
No progress yet in verifying the MoD's account of 18" naval gun firing onto Dartmoor but a couple of observations can be made that make this maybe a little more likely to be a myth.


Firstly, there was certainly a station at North Tawton, about 1 mile south of the village. The old station building and the Railway Inn remain. There were sidings there, though they (and the main line) run east-west, whereas the firing direction would have been a little west of south. The guns weighed 190 tons, so is it really likely one could have been mounted on a railway wagon that was able to traverse through 90 degrees and that wagon and mount would withstand the shock of firing?


Secondly, although the Okehampton range as we know it today would be well within the gun's range (its 8.5 miles for North Tawton station to Okement Hill, and these guns were used in action in WWI at over 20 miles), the first 4.5 miles is over open farmland plus the villages of Sticklepath, South Tawton, South Zeal and Belstone. The results of a mis-shoot would potentially have been catastrophic.


As for Halwill Junction, this is further out, at 12.5 miles from Okement Hill. Two-thirds of the line lies over  farms and villages, not the moor or the range. The railway at this point is aligned on heading 162 Degrees, so not as far adrift as at North Tawton, but a shot along this direct line would miss the moor altogether. Plus, this is the main line, there are no sidings here I can spot on the old OS maps.


One thing seems clear. The two 18" guns that were installed on Furious in WWI, and later used in action in 1918 when installed on two monitors, cannot be our gun, as these were both scrapped in 1933. Gun 3 was used at Silloth for cordite proofing tests in 1920 and afterwards converted to a 16" (40.6 cm) design between 1921 and 1924 for use as a prototype for the 16"/45 (40.6 cm) Mark I guns destined for the Nelson class. It was then used for various trials until 1942 when it was sent to Woolwich where it remained until scrapped in 1947. So Gun 3 is the only candidate and was certainly used for firing trials of various sorts in this vintage. But would the War Dept really have moved all of its 190 tons to Dartmoor in the hard-pressed days of 1940-41 for tests that could presumably have been done where it was?[/size]

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So far, I say this is a myth despite what the Mod say.[/size]

DevonDave

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #22 on: 10:11:23, 13/07/17 »
This is an interesting topic Thomas and is something I had not heard of before.  I don't recall reading about this in any books on Dartmoor.

DevonDave

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #23 on: 10:43:05, 13/07/17 »
I keep meaning to have a look at the old rifle range located just to the south of Rippon Tor, which I have never been to.  From photographs that I have seen it appears to be quite a substantial structure.  It is briefly mentioned in the government document that you referred to above.
More details here:-


https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/rippon-tor-rifle-range-dartmoor-february-2014.t90963

thomasdevon

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #24 on: 13:50:59, 13/07/17 »
Cheers Dave.


forgot to mention too that although the MoD say an 18" gun was brought in to shoot onto the moor (and its clear only 3 were ever built in the UK, and 2 had been scrapped in 1933), the surviving third gun had been lined down to 16" between 1921 and 1924 so it could be used as [/size] a prototype for the 16"/45 (40.6 cm) Mark I guns destined for the Nelson class battleships.[/size]

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So by 1934 at the latest, there were no 18" guns in British service.[/size]

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Unless someone knows different.......[/size]




thomasdevon

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Re: Points on Dartmoor not marked on OS maps
« Reply #25 on: 14:35:07, 13/07/17 »
Still on the trail of the third gun.....


Information on The Great War Forum suggests that a 14" railway gun mounting from WWI was used in 1940 during WWII to carry an available 18" gun (no definite source for such a gun unfortunately), re-named the BL 18 inch Railway Howitzer Mk I. It seems possible this was our third gun even though the calibre is wrong. The tale on the forum says the up-gunned gun platform HMG Boche Buster was based in the Bourne Park Tunnel on the Bishopsbourne railway in Kent's Elham Valley.
HMG Boche Buster remained at Bishopsbourne until declared obsolete in 1945, when it was moved to the Army's Shoeburyness Experimental Establishment.
The site carries two photos, allegedly of the 18" railway gun or howitzer. the first is from 12 December 1940, showing the gun platform about to be taken off to Kent (no mention of via Dartmoor). The second is apparently from later in WWII, showing the same gun/howitzer arrived from Kent in the Halwill Junction sidings intended for shooting into Dartmoor, the aim being to evaluate the gun for possible use by the Allied invasion forces in France, which landed of course on 6 June 1944.
The photo does not look like Halwill Junction as it is today but I would need to visit to check properly. In any case, this account extends the story that Britain had an 18" gun in WWII, which other accounts say it didn't, the third 18" having been reduced to 16". We also now have a second date for the Dartmoor firing, 1944, as well as the MoD's suggestion of 1940/41. The gun's travels are also described as either a) from Catterick to Kent to Shoeburyness, then later as b) from Catterick to Kent to Halwill Junction, back to Kent, and then to Shoeburyness.
Like the third gun, maybe I am going round in circles....