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Bandeath Munitions Depot

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Munitions stores, now barns, © http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/2475
Munitions stores, now barns
© Paul McIlroy

The site of the former Bandeath Munitions Depot lies within a meander of the River Forth, north of Throsk, three miles east of Stirling. The facility began as an Admiralty Depot during World War I, with a nearby PoW camp, after which it remained in use and became a Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) during World War II. Historically, Bandeath was once an estate of the Abercromby family.

The depot was supplied via the main railway line, which connected to the site's own internal railway, which would distribute the munitions to more than thirty warehouses arranged in regularly spaced rows across the site. The stores were enclosed within protective earth blast walls, intended to direct the effects of an accidental explosion upwards, and away from the surrounding stores. From the warehouses, the railway allowed the munitions to be delivered to the rail mounted crane on the Admiralty pier, where they would be loaded on to puffers or Victualling Inshore Craft (VIC), which would carry them along the river and out to sea, where they supplied the British fleet.

Having lain derelict for some years, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) sold the former depot site to Central Regional Council in 1978. Refurbished in the early 1980s, it became Bandeath Industrial Estate, a large, general industrial and storage complex (run by Stirling Council following local government reorganisation in 1996), intended to meet the needs of medium to large manufacturing and distribution users.

Admiralty crane, © http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/4181
Admiralty crane
© Gareth Foster

More than thirty of the original warehouse buildings survive on the site (2007), together with their associated emergency water tanks, air-raid shelters and watch posts, although their blast walls appear to have been levelled at some time. The crane still remains on the former Admiralty pier, which is now privately owned, but the crane is an empty shell, and the pier is a ruin, which should not be approached. Only a few sections of the internal railway remain, the majority have been lifted following closure of the main line in 1978.

A pillbox can also be found in the southern part of the site. There may be more, but only this one is listed.

There are also some more unusual buildings at Bandeath. Of no use as defensive pillboxes, their thick walls, tiny observation window, highly angled roof, and undefended entrance indicate their function as protective retreats for observers or firewatchers in the event of an incident at the depot, possibly an explosion within the depot, or an air raid. Further indications ofthe use of these structures is indicated by the positioning of the window above head height, meaning an observer would only be in danger of being struck by flying debris if actually using the window, and not just sheltering in the building, and also by their orientation, said to be set at an angle to, rather than square on to the stores. This would mean that flying debris would strike at an angle, glancing off the wall, and would also be less likely to fly straight through the window.

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