1893 -1906

Work began on the first of the new batteries at the end of February 1894, under the supervision of the Royal Engineers. The site was at Macaulay Point, where three breech‑loading 6‑inch guns on hydro‑pneumatic disappearing carriages were emplaced. Construction of Fort Rodd Hill did not begin until September 1895. There, three more 6‑inch disappearing guns were installed, two in Lower Battery and one in the Upper Battery. The guns at both Macaulay Point and Rodd Hill were proof‑fired by the Royal Marine Artillery in late October 1897.

64-pounder Rifled Muzzle Loader

With the completion of the 6‑inch gun batteries, work began in 1898 on three batteries of smaller, quick‑firing guns designed to protect Esquimalt harbour from attacks by torpedo boats, and on the minefield planned for the month of the harbour.

 

The battery at Belmont was completed in 1900 and the one at Black Rock in 1902. Each had two 12‑pounder quick‑firing guns. The original Duntze Head battery of two 6‑pounder Hotchkiss guns was completed in 1900. A new Duntze Head battery of two 12‑pounder quickfiring guns was completed in 1904, adjacent to the old battery site and replacing the old battery. Four defence electric lights were also provided, to illuminate the harbour mouth at night, and these were in place by 1903. The final battery in the defences, Signal Hill, although built before the British garrison left, was not to have its two 9.2‑inch guns mounted until 1912.

 

A new 10‑year agreement between Canada and Britain came into effect in 1899. By the terms of this agreement, the comparatively small Royal Marine Artillery detachment was replaced by a much larger British garrison made up of 322 men of all ranks of the Royal Garrison Artillery and the Royal Engineers. This agreement reflected a much greater British commitment to the defence of Esquimalt; but this new commitment was to be short‑lived.

 

In 1905, as part of a worldwide reorganization of the Royal Navy designed to concentrate more warships in British home waters, the Pacific Squadron was abolished. In the following year, 1906, the garrison of British troops at Esquimalt was also withdrawn and the defence of the naval base was transferred into the hands of the Canadian government. Four years later, the Royal Canadian Navy was formed and took over control of the dockyard.