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Survey seeks to protect unique defensive searchlight

Engineers worked on the north face of Gibraltar yesterday to conduct a structural survey of an armour-plated searchlight position jutting out from the sheer cliff above Laguna Estate.

The searchlight, known as a Defensive Electric Light, was one of a series of defensive positions built over 100 years ago to bring Gibraltar’s fortifications into the 20th century.

It is unique in both location and design because most other fortifications from that period were designed to protect Gibraltar from attack by naval units.

And while later searchlight positions were designed to light up the sky to pick out attacking airplanes above Gibraltar, this one was aimed squarely at the land below.

Although it was never used in anger, it would have served to illuminate attacking troops and blind them at the same time.

“It’s not pointing at the sky because there were no planes at that time,” said government archaeologist Dr Kevin Lane, from the Ministry for Heritage.


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