Signal Hill (1695-1945) - Signal Hill was a fortified complex, first established in 1695 at St. John's, Newfoundland for the defense of St. John's harbour. The complex was active from the Colonial era through World War II. Deactivated as a fortification in 1945.
Part of the Harbor Defense of St. John's.
A fortified complex first established in 1695 at St. John's, Newfoundland for the defense of St. John's harbour and the city itself. This complex came to include forts, batteries and signalling stations on both sides of the narrow entrance to St. John's harbor as well as those fortifications atop Signal Hill itself.
Battle of Signal Hill (15 Sep 1762)
The hill was the site of the Battle of Signal Hill on 15 Sep 1762 when British Lieutenant Colonel William Amherst led an expeditionary force to recapture St. John’s from the French.
World War I (1914-1918)
World War II (1939-1945)
The passage of the U.S. Lend Lease Act in March 1941, officially began U.S. material support for Great Britain and commonwealth members. Lend Lease equipment and supplies were ferried across the North Atlantic by merchant ship convoys that gathered and formed at the Newfoundland ports of St. John's and Argentia. As a part of the Lend Lease agreement, Great Britain provided the U.S. with 99 year leases for military bases at these two Labrador ports and some outlying areas. Two U.S. Army bases were built, Fort McAndrew at Argentia and Fort Pepperrell at St. John's, Harmond Army Airfield was built near Stephenville. The U.S. Navy built Naval Air Station Argentia (NAS Argentia) at Argentia. Fort Pepperrell became the site of the Newfoundland Base Command that oversaw U.S. operations in Labrador.
At St. John's, the American troopship Edmund B. Alexander arrived on 29 Jan 1941 with some 1,000 U.S. Servicemen who lived on the ship until May 1941. In May the troops moved into a temporary Camp Alexander where they lived in a tent city while permanent quarters were constructed at Fort Pepperrell.
On Signal Hill in St. John's, initial American defenses included two 10" railway guns emplaced at the top and a four gun 155mm mobile gun battery, four 3" anti-aircraft guns and sixteen 50-calibre machine guns. The American facilities on Signal Hill came to include some 86 buildings with barracks and support facilities for 478 men. At the base of Signal Hill, directly protecting the narrow harbor entrance, were two 75mm guns at Chain Rock and two casemated 4.7" guns on the other side at Fort Amherst. These facilities were not manned by U.S. troops.
By the end of 1944 the American defenses on Signal Hill had been reduced by the relocation of the 10" railway guns to Red Cliff and the reduction of the 155mm battery down to, two 155mm guns, in storage, ready for deployment to one of three prepared emplacements. The two lower gun batteries remained in place.
Part of Signal Hill National Historic Site. Period guns and mounts in place.