The Naval Signal Posts on the Coast of Southern England 1794-1815

By John E. Goodwin, published February 2005


The establishment a of a chain of signal posts along the channel coast of Southern England had been proposed as early as 1785 by a committee chaired by the Duke of Richmond but would not be implemented until 1794, mandated by the outbreak of hostilities with Revolutionary France. The line of signal posts from 6 to 22 miles apart, depending on terrain, stretched from the North Foreland, near Margate, to Lands End. Each post comprised a crudely constructed building to house a lieutenant and three seamen and was equipped with a mast for hoisting signalling flags. Their task was to interrogate passing ships and pass intelligence along the line via coded signals.

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Filed under: Napoleonic War | English Channel | French Revolution
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Navies

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