AA Battery Cardross
A World War II anti-aircraft battery was sited to the southwest of Cardross, on the Firth of Clyde. Site number AN4. Part of the Clyde AA Defences, the battery was also known as Murrays.
The battery was equipped with four emplacements, armed with 4.5-inch guns, a command post, and an accommodation camp to the east. Two further emplacements, of a different design, were added to the original arc of four, and mounted 3.7-inch guns. Aerial photographs taken by the RAF in 1949 showed the site as described, with some 33 huts on either side of the access track to the northeast. These also show the battery was equipped with a GL Radar mat and ramp to the northwest, and two separate magazines.
The UK Fortifications Club reports that the battery served a dual purpose, and also provided coverage of the Cardross boom. Complement given as: "6 THEN 4 x 4.5”, 2 x 3.7”, 1 x 40mm, MANNED BY HAA UNITS 335/773".
A site visit was carried during January 2008, and found the remains of the battery in a field to the west of the access track.
Several concrete bases and some walls were found in the area of the accommodation camp, east of the track and a small burn. The beach area to the south of the track was strewn with various bricks, concrete blocks, and pieces of reinforced concrete, giving the impression that several buildings had been razed, and the debris bulldozed onto the shore.
The site contains the remains of six emplacement, four constructed of brick, and two of concrete blocks. The brick emplacements are octagonal, with each of the four shorter sides equipped with shelters. Three of the longer sides are plain walls, while the fourth has been left open for access. The design is similar to that seen at Mollandhu, north of Cardross, and Flatterton, near Greenock. Moving clockwise around the emplacement arc, the remains become increasingly decayed and dilapidated. Each emplacement was noted to have an open shelter attached on one side, possibly an air raid shelter for the crew. Photographs from 1941 show the presence of a number of bomb craters in the ground around the site. No evidence of the holdfasts could be found within the emplacements, which have been reused as animal shelters.
The two concrete emplacement appear to be later additions which are square in outline and each provided with four ammunition shelters, one in each corner. Holdfasts were identified within these emplacements, complete with one inch fixing bolts. Three sections of light gauge railway line had been sunk vertically into the base around the holdfast bolts, but there was no immediate indication as to their purpose. Both emplacements had what appeared to be remains of demolished Nissen huts dumped on their west side.
The command post was heavily overgrown at the time of the visit, which prevented much of it being examined. The structure was noted to be slightly unusual in that it appeared to have a ramp constructed on its eastern side, leading down into the inner rooms. At their juncture with the building, sections of both the end and side walls are missing, leaving a large entrance into the building. The building follows the pattern categorised as Type 1, containing a single large room, a small plotting room, and two smaller rooms. The interior walls within the post carry a number of unknown mountings not seen at other sites. Externally, the post has the usual set of three instrument pits, one for the height finder, one for the predictor, and one presently unknown as to purpose, containing a circular concrete base with a unusually shaped centre.
A manhole was found to the south of the command post, with ladder rungs set into the wall and leading to a brick chamber about six feet square. This has not been seen elsewhere and its purpose is unknown. Possibly drainage or sewage.
A small manhole was seen in the field east of the command post, and may have been part of a sewage system for the site.
The remains of three demolished huts were seen on the eastern perimeter of the site. One appears to have had cubicles within, suggesting it would have been the latrines.
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