Book Review – Britain’s Island Fortresses

britain's island fortresses. Defence of the Empire 1756 - 1956 Britain’s Island Fortresses

Defence of the Empire 1756 – 1956

Bill Clements

This book catalogues the overseas defences of the British Empire. It is a story of the conflicting demands of cost and security across Great Britain’s naval staging posts for its far-flung commercial interests. Bill Clements’ book has successfully navigated a path through a complex story, without becoming too bogged down in detail, but equally without becoming bland. The race to maintain up-to date armaments is also charted as technology made older weapons obsolete; this in a time span encompassing the Seven Years’ War through to World War II.

Readers with an interest in WWII will find the chapters on Singapore and Hong Kong to be of particular value. The book is liberally provided with plans, line drawings and photographs to give a good representative  feel for the defences. The Islands of Bermuda, Jamaica, St Helena, Antigua and St. Lucia, Ceylon, Mauritius and Ascension Island are all covered too.

The book should appeal to anyone with more than a passing interest in the subject of coastal fortifications, and perhaps even provide inspiration for a bit of “concrete sniffing” on family holidays abroad. It sheds light on a forgotten part of Great Britain’s overseas history.

My review copy was provided by Pen and Sword Publishing.


Filed under Artillery, Concrete Sniffing

3 responses to “Book Review – Britain’s Island Fortresses

  1. Interesting looking book- I do like looking round decaying fortifications- ‘concrete sniffing’ as you say.



    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nigel Drury

    Does it mention the Channel Islands?


    • Dear Nigel,
      No mention of the Channel Islands, I’m afraid. I’m pretty certain that he mentions Martello Towers in the Channel Islands in his other book: Martello Towers Worldwide (2011).

      Regards, Chris.


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