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AA Battery Rosneath

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The area of Parkhead, located on the south east corner of the Rosneath peninsula, and inland to the west of Culwatty Bay, was the site of two anti-aircraft batteries.

World War II

The first was a World War II battery, known as Dark Wood, constructed a short way to the northwest of the site described here, but subsequently demolished and the site cleared with no surviving remains evident.

Postwar

Buildings to southeast, looking to west, 2008
Buildings to southeast
© Lynn M Reid

The second was a postwar battery, part of the country's defences, and equipped with with four gun emplacements mounting radar controlled 5.25-inch guns, a computer room to the south, and an engine room with accommodation to the southeast. Officers' accommodation was provided in cottages at Culwatty Bay, to the east.

The remains of the emplacements lie almost completely hidden within a wooded area to the west of Culwatty Bay, and southeast of Parkhead House. The four postwar emplacements have become completely obscured by trees which were originally planted to screen them from general view. The associated computer and engine rooms lie to the south, on open ground. Records indicate that guns were probably installed as the battery was being built during 1951 and mounted in 1952, but removed by 1956. RAF aerial photography taken in 1954 showed site to be inactive and apparently abandoned. Records show that twenty 5.25-inch guns were disposed of as scrap to McConnel of Coatbridge on July 16, 1956.

A photograph of the two surviving buildings to the southeast shows that the more easterly of the two was the engine room, characterised by a row of rectangular vents visible just below the roof line, and of a large metal double-door for access. This building has been reused by Rosneath Home Farm. The second building, further to the west, would have been the computer room, also built to a standard design. This appears to be unused and in substantially original condition.

Postwar development

The cottage which were used as officers' accommodation in the bay are reported to have been converted for use as private accommodation after the battery was abandoned, and this probably applies to two cottages further to the north, named Culwatty and Appin. The third cottage, Greensisle, serves as the offices and control room for a present day degaussing range in the bay, operated by defence contractor QinetiQ, which gives the address of the facility as DG Range, Greenisle, Rosneath.

Site visit

The four emplacements still survive in an area of woodland to the north of the site. They appear to be Type S, but are buried in the ground within a heavily overgrown area which has had substantial amounts of spoil in the form of tree roots and concrete rubble dumped on it, hampering positive exploration and identification. Only one emplacement to have retained the full structure of the building surrounding the circumference of the holdfast. All of the entrances and holdfast areas appear to have been backfilled with soil and rubble, and the buildings also appear to be flooded to a considerable depth. Surviving artefacts include a stanchion, one of a line evident on only one emplacement roof. A number of upright steel pipes and galvanised steel air vents, some of which have survived in remarkably good condition, stand near the standard rectangular concrete roof vents seen on similar emplacements.

The computer room to the south is a typical example of the type, complete with two small rooms attached to an annex on its southern side. The building is very well preserved and includes a section of square steel ducting between the main room and a small room to the right of the annexe. Mountings were noted on the floor of this small room, suggesting that the duct may have been used to provide some sort of forced ventilation to the larger room. The purpose of the other room in the annexe is unknown. Unusually, two brick built alcoves still exist in the smaller room, but with no indication as to their purpose. The main room still has traces of fibreboard cladding which appears to have cover all the internal walls and the ceiling. Two heavy electrical cables with sealed and terminated ends rise from the floor of the main room, near the unidentified annexe room to the left.

Two further buildings lie along the track to the east of the computer room. The first was identified as an engine room, constructed to a standard pattern seen in similar buildings found on other postwar battery sites. Within this building, electrical isolators are still mounted on the wall, complete with cables rising from the ground. A rectangular annexe to the east of the engine room is an unusual addition, not seen on other postwar sites. This building has two external doors located in the northern wall, but is not provided with any direct access to the adjacent engine room.

Both buildings were in good condition with no signs of vandalism, although they had been reused by the farm.

A section of tarmac road lies outside the building, and appears to be be used to store waste from the farm.

Photographs

As noted in the text above, the four emplacements have not only been heavily overgrown by the woods, but have also been subject to dumping of various debris, possibly from the farm, which has obscured much of the emplacement detail.

Computer room

Computer room, 2008, Fox
Computer room
Computer room, 2008, Fox
Computer room
Computer room, 2008, Fox
Computer room
Sealed cable ends, 2008, Fox
Sealed cable ends
Duct, 2008, Fox
Duct


Engine room and annexe

Engine room with annexe behind, 2008, Fox
Engine room with annexe behind
Engine room interior, 2008, Fox
Engine room interior
Annexe interior, 2008, Fox
Annexe interior


Emplacement 1

Entrance, 2008
Entrance
Gun pit, 2008
Gun pit
Roof vent, 2008
Roof vent


Emplacement 2

Roof vents, 2008
Roof vents
Roof vents, 2008
Roof vents


Emplacement 3

Roof, 2008
Roof
Debris, 2008
Debris


Emplacement 4

Roof, 2008
Roof
Roof vents, 2008
Roof vents


External links

Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-

 

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Aerial views


Map

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