AA Battery Larkfield
A World War II anti-aircraft battery was sited west of Coves Reservoir, to the south of Gourock on the Clyde coast. Site number GSG10 (early), AS5 (later). Part of the Clyde AA Defences, it was known as Larkfield, or Cove.
The battery was equipped with four gun emplacements reported to have mounted 3.7-inch or 4.5-inch guns (the report is uncertain), a command post, two magazines, a workshop and store, and two additional emplacements of a different, square, design. To the southwest, across Hilltop Road, was an accommodation camp with more than 30 assorted huts. All items are reported to have been visible on RAF aerial photographs taken in 1946.
First hand examination of a 1941 aerial photograph, held by RCAHMS, showed only four emplacements extant at that time along with the accommodation camp, command post, and workshop buildings. A small sunken water tank at the corner of the wood at the south end of the site shows up as being connected to two ditches, one running west to the road and the other to the northeast, along the edge of the wood, and is assumed to be part of the sewage or drainage system.
A site visit was carried out during 2007. Other than the two additional emplacements referred to, which were much lighter in construction than the others, all the buildings and emplacements remain on the site, and although covered in graffiti are in relatively good condition considering the site now lies adjacent to a postwar housing development. No evidence remains of the accommodation camp in the area to the southwest, which is now lightly wooded.
I knew this site well after they took down the security fence in 1956.
Originally the site had another more flimsily built base to the south of the command post. It had an Anderson shelter at the south end, banked up with soil. The outline can be picked out on the aerial photograph below. There may have been another base to the east, as an outline appears on the aerial photograph, but I do not recall it. The command post was also banked up with earth and comprised four rooms with three entrances. One room carried legends indicating communications equipment to the guns and magazines. Outside this room lies an array of baffle walls about three feet high, now understood to have housed the height finder and predictor. This building was filled with soil in the 1980s, when the gravel path was laid around the site.
Two of the gun sites have brick built, concrete roofed annexes attached. These have doorways but no windows, and may have been ready use magazines or air raid shelters. One bore legends relating to communications as noted above, the other building is detached and may have been the standby room. To the south, across Larkfield Road, stood the remains of two longer huts, built of concrete frames with brick infill. Other bases existed down the hill towards the present flats. One base had what appeared to be a chimney, but had no openings and was more strongly built, and was still standing in 1956 - it may have been some type of support tower.
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