Nelson’ Anchorage (Napier of Magdala Battery) – 100 Ton Gun
HMS Victory was towed to Rosia Bay after Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. Despite denials by the Royal Navy the local story is that Nelson’s body was brought ashore at Rosia Bay where his body was changed from the barrel of brandy to one of alcohol (spirit of wine) for the return journey home.
Located within the same area and worth visiting is the impressive 100 Ton Gun installed in the early nineteenth century but never fired in anger. There are only two left in the world, the other one is in Malta.
Named after Baron Napier of Magdala, this battery was built between 1878 and 1884, in response to recommendations for a heavy RML (Rifle Muzzle Loading) battery for this area. In 1883 it mounted one of the two guns, the other being at Victoria Battery. This heavy gun was sent out from England aboard the WD ship SS Stanley and landed on 10 December 1882. Unloaded via the New Mole Battery, it took twenty one days to be transported by special sleigh the mere four hundred yards to its battery position. Placed on its carriage on 23 July 1883, it was one of the four guns sent out to reinforce Gibraltar and Malta against attack by similar British guns which had been made available to the Italian navy.
In 1898 during practice firing, the gun split and was replaced by the one from Victoria Battery nearby as this deemed to be a better position. The gun was obsolete by 1906. It is still in position although all the hydraulic and all other working parts of the battery have gone. The original gun is said to be under the nearby Fortress HQ building buried in a large pit.
Napier of Magdala Battery was also a position for four 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns during WWII with one of the guns directly in front of the 100-ton gun, still visible today.