It was during the war of American Independence, when
France and Spain made an all out attempt to recapture
the Rock from the British in Gibraltar’s 14th
Siege, always called the Great Siege. It lasted from
July 1779 to February 1783.General Elliott then called
Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar is said to have offered
a reward to anyone who could tell him how to get guns
on to a projection from the precipitous northern face
of the rock known as the notch.
Sergeant Major Ince,a member of the company of Military
Artificers, forerunners of the Royal Engineers suggested
that this could be done by tunneling. Permission was
granted and Sergeant Major Ince started works under
the direction of Lieutenant J.Evelegh,a Royal Engineer.
The tunnellers relied on the strength of their arms,
on their skills of a sledgehammer and a crowbar and
were also aided by gunpowder.The Labyrinth of tunnels
known as perhaps the most impressive defense system
devised by man.