Gilkicker AA Gun Site, designated P3, was one of three AA gun sites built at Gosport as part of the Portsmouth Anti Aircraft defences. The other two were were completed at Holbrook and Browndown. Although it was named Gilkicker AA battery it was a considerable distance from Fort Gilkicker and Gilkicker Point. The Stokes Bay Gilkicker AA site site was north of the modern Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Station. Gilkicker AA Gun Site held four 4.5-inch static AA guns in 1942 (one source - Ted Jones writing in David Maber's book Blitz-Bombs on Alverstoke, states that at first two of them were mobile 3.7inch guns. In June 1940 a policy change was accepted that as many sites as possible would become static sites with four guns in each site. No surface features of the site remain, although the four concrete bases on which the guns stood can sometimes been seen underneath the grass in dry weather.
The Gun Operations Room for Gosport AA defence was in Fort Monckton whilst the Master Gun Operations Room (Sector Control) for the entire Solent Sector was in Fort Fareham.
These batteries were part of 5th AA Division and came under the command of 35th Anti-Aircraft Brigade: (Solent master gun operations room at Fort Fareham), Hampshire - Southern Area, Southern Command. The guns themselves may have been manned by:
57th (Wessex) Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. (T.A.) - Southern Area, Southern Command
214th (Southsea) 215th (Gosport and Fareham) Battery: Gosport.
R/457 (Gosport) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery RA(TA) No 6 Company Gosport.
Gilkicker AA Gunsite 4.5inch gun
The site with the four concrete emplacements just visible.
One of the concrete emplacements just visible in December 2008
214/57th HAA Regiment, C section (a Southsea Bty) at Gilkicker AA Gunsite. Keith Peters (sitting front centre next to the Sergeant). Photo (c) kindly supplied by John Peters.
To the north of the four gun emplacements was a hutted camp used by the WWII Anti-Aircraft battery. After the War it was used by the Territorials as a weekend training facility until they moved to Browndown Camp in 1959. According to someone who was stationed there in the Summer of 1960 as a REME mechanic, only the workshop remained. The site was then used as a vehicle park for the Territorial Army at Browndown and was designated as 121 Week End Training Camp. The council minutes for January 1976 record that Gilkicker landscaping phase I had begun including the demolition of the reinforced concrete buildings and gun bases, the break down and infill a very large military cesspit (whose existence was unknown!) and the removing of dangerous obstructions from the shore; planting 500 gorse and some blackberry bushes: A cost of £10,500
Some concrete marking the foundations of the gun emplacements can still be seen in dry weather.
Plan of Gilkicker AA Battery in 1952
Plan of Gilkicker AA site based upon surviving remnants of gun emplacements and RAF 1946 aerial photographs
Gun Laying Radar, SCR-784 at Gilkicker Camp post WWII
WRAF personnel operating an M9 Gun Director at Gilkicker Camp
Close to Gilkicker AA site, north of the paddling pool was an octagonal mat for a G.L. Radar.
A barrage balloon was moored at Fort Gomer with another at the School of Electric Lighting site near to Fort Gilkicker. A searchlight was mounted to the west of Fort Gilkicker with another at No.2 Battery. All searchlight sites were protected with an AA light machine gun for use against low flying aircraft. Within Fort Gilkicker was a 30mm Bofors later replaced with a 20mm gun. An unspecified AA gun was located in Stanley Park, which was then a private garden, with another AA gun at Haslar Hospital (1 light gun and one machine gun). There was a 2pr Mk2 twin at Haslar Gunboat Yard.
Aerial view circa 1945
Ministry of Information AA Video
Browndown Anti-Aircraft Gun Site
This was designated as P40 and was at the west end of Browndown Road at O.S. Grid reference SZ 579996.
It held four 4.5inch AA gun which replaced earlier 3.7inch guns.
3.7-inch gun at Browndown AA Battery. Summer 1940.
Holbrook Anti-Aircraft Gun Site
This was designated as P4 for four 4.5inch AA guns and was to the west of the A32 at Holbrook O.S. Grid reference SU 592021. The gun emplacements were destroyed in the 1980s, sadly no one thought to photograph them first. Nothing of this site remains today. The hutted accommodation at the site was used for many years after the War as Holbrook Junior School.
O.S. Plan of Holbrook AA Gunsite in 1956
The gun emplacements were to the left of the hutments.
Aerial view of Holbrook AA gun site: post war (1960s?).
Holbrook gunsite under construction
Holbrook gunsite hutments (later Holbrook School)
The Holbrook site was protected by two stop lines of Anti Tank blocks. Each block is a cube of mass concrete 3 feet square with 2 feet 6 inches above ground level, set at 6 feet centres with a gap of three feet between each. One line ran parallel to the Fareham road along the east boundary of the AA site. The other ran west to east along the line of the path to what became the Civil Service sports ground. Temporary blocks were placed across the road when needed. The first line has been completely removed but nineteen of the second line remained, hidden in the bushes until 2017 when the site was cleared in preparation for development. In 2017 a proposal to develop the site east of Holbrook, named Brockhurst gate, called for the line of Anti Tank Blocks to be resited.
Holbrook AA Tank Blocks in 2015
The Tank Blocks in 2017
The tank blocks protected the road where it cut through the middle of an Anti Tank Ditch running from Rowner Church to Elson Creek.
The Stop Line consisting of an Anti Tank Ditch close to Holbrook AA Gun Site
The Anti Tank Ditch can be seen as a white scar running from Rowner Church to Elson Creek on this aerial view
School children who attended Holbrook School after World War Two, when the huts became classrooms, recall playing on the blocks that bordered the hutments.
The blocks can be seen in the background of this Holbrook School class photograph