Restoration of O'Hara's Battery & Lord Airey's Battery

Heritage was at the heart of conversation last week with World Heritage Day and restoration works in O'Hara's Battery and Lord Airey's Battery which was led by Pete Jackson. Eleven veterans from Alabaré UK Charity travelled to Gibraltar to help renovate O'Hara's Battery, following from their renovation of Lord Airey's Battery last year with support from the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage Society. 

O’Hara’s Battery was constructed in 1890 and was named after General Charles O’Hara, Governor of Gibraltar at the time. The gun was decommissioned in 1976, and had since fallen into disrepair and was in need of a revival. 

Before restoration began, Karen Langley, one of the Alabaré team supporting the veterans spoke about the services Alabaré offers:

"The veterans we support at Alabaré have each come through some very difficult times. Each of them has been homeless or faced homelessness. Each has several challenges that they are working to overcome, and as a charity, we are supporting them to build new, resilient futures for themselves in their civilian lives.

“The chance to come to Gibraltar makes a big difference to them. The recognition that other people believe in them, the camaraderie of working alongside others who have had a similar experience, and the chance to give something back to a community so rooted in the hearts of many UK military families is very significant. The project will be physically hard work, but mentally it gives a huge boost to our veteran’s morale and self-confidence. We can’t wait to get started.” 

Cadets from the Univeristy of the Royal Naval Units (URNU) spent a few days in Lord Airey's Battery painting the Shell Store walls and tidying up all the old scaffold pieces ready for removal, making significant progress there. See images below.

Day 1: The team from Alabaré made headway on the gun barrel and shield in O'Hara's and began repairing doors and skirtings in Lord Airey's.

Day 2: "As you can see, the condition of O’Hara’s Battery is in a very poor state as, given its dramatic
location, it faces all of the elements. It is also a very long way up, and the team has quite a climb before they can even begin to contemplate the work at such an incredible height. Dennis and Andy have re-hung the original door to the tank room under Lord Airey's, primer coats and top coats are being applied to the barrel and blast shield on O'Hara's."

Pete Jackson (bottom) pictured with veterans from Alabaré.

Day 3: Commodore Richard Lord RN (rtd) of the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage Society and Mel Watts of the Alabaré Team visited the site to see that all hands were on deck and joined in on some of the works. 'Karen and June focused on the pump room skirtings, whilst Dennis Abbott manufactured the new timber pit covers. The remainder of the group had one more day left of painting.'

Commodore Richard Lord

Day 4: After finishing touches were applied, we heard from the veterans and staff about their week restoring O'Hara's Battery. Click here to watch.

We are extremley grateful to the veterans and volunteers from Alabaré and URNU who have given so much of their time to help restore and revive our military sites in Gibraltar, and to Pete Jackson who continues to oversee the preservation of these batteries.