History Of Mount Batten

HISTORY OF MOUNT BATTEN

Robin Blyth-Lord made a presentation to the Probus Club about Mount Batten in Plymouth. He started by saying there was evidence of prehistoric life and then talked about various other features through to current activities which include a marina and its use annually for the National Firework Competition.

Mount batten has been used as a burial ground for many centuries. Archaeological digs have found evidence of Neolithic burial sites from 2500 BC through the iron and bronze ages (1650 bc to 600 bc), burials for people who died from Black Death in mid-1300s, others who died in the Civil War (1642-46), and burials in Cholera pits when Plymouth was hit by Cholera in the 1850s. Many more bodies were buried there in the two World Wars.

Mount Batten’s position at the mouth to Plymouth made it as a strategic trading port from the Bronze Age onwards. It even produced its own trade in terms of “Plymouth Gold” which was a high-quality fine limestone quarried on Mount Batten.

Its strategic position proved important in the defence of Plymouth over many years. During the first Anglo-Dutch war, a tower was built with canons on top. Then in in 1917, a Royal Navy Air Service Station was built with seaplanes. It quickly changed name to RAF Cattewater and then RAF Mount Batten which served as a flying boat base for both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.   At one point T.E.Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) served there for the RAF using the assumed name of T.E. Shaw.

Photo: Robin Blythe-Lord (right) is thanked by Probus Club member David Carpenter-Clawson

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