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Port Edgar

(Redirected from HMS Lochinvar)

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Port Edgar naval building, 2005
Port Edgar naval building
© Richard Webb

Port Edgar is a small harbour and marina located on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, in the shadow of the Forth Road Bridge, and about half a mile (1 km) west of South Queensferry.

History

The harbour is said to have acquired its name after the English King Edgar Aetheling landed there in 1068, in order to take refuge at the court of King Malcolm III Canmore of Scotland, following his escape from the Normans. His sister Margaret, the future Saint Margaret of Scotland, was to marry the Scottish king the following year.

The site is believed to have developed as a small port for the transport of industrial materials relating to the Dundas alum and lime works. It later became the rail ferry link to Fife, prior to construction of the Forth Bridge.

It remains notable for its late 19th century role as a ferry port, and its use as a naval engineering and service base during both World War I and World War II. Many of the remaining structures, and the associated residential accommodation have been protected by statutory listing, including the rare survival of a much of the fabric of a World War I naval base.

See also the former Royal Naval Victualling Depot, the Royal Elizabeth Yard, at Kirkliston to the southeast.

  • 1810, pier erected, and harbour begins to operate as a fishing, ferry and coal-bunkering harbour.
  • 1850, Royal Navy begins regular visits.
  • 1822, August 22, King George IV embarks after visiting the Earl of Hopetoun.
  • 1881, HMS Caledonia berths as a training ship, remains for 15 years.
  • 1916, Admiralty acquires harbour as site of new naval base. Royal Naval Hospital at Butlaw receives casualties landed at harbour from Battle of Jutland. The dead were interred in the cemetery at South Queensferry.
  • 1917, December, HMS Columbine is commissioned as a Depot for Torpedo Boat Destroyers of the Grand Fleet, the harbour was upgraded to berth 53 destroyers, both breakwaters strengthened, and the depot operated in conjunction with Rosyth Naval Dockyard across the firth.
  • 1928, HMS Columbine and the Royal Naval Hospital at Butlaw were closed.
  • 1929, December, Admiralty attempts to auction the site, but fails.
  • 1930s, the buildings of the former naval base were used as a holiday camp for unemployed people from Glasgow and Edinburgh. It was later reported to have been used as a temporary camp for Czechoslovakian refugees fleeing German occupation.
  • 1939, reactivated as HMS Lochinvar, a minelaying and minesweeping facility, also described as a training establishment for the Royal Naval Patrol Service. Crown Prince Olaf of Norway was one of a significant Norwegian contingent based there, in exile after escaping the German invasion of his country.
  • 1943, October 25, HMS Lochinvar relocated east to Granton, and HMS Hopetoun was commissioned, a Combined Operations Training Centre where British and Allied navies carried out landing craft and minesweeper training for the D-Day landings.
  • 1946, February 28, HMS Hopetoun paid off. HMS Lochinvar returned to become the base for Royal Navy minesweepers clearing wartime minefields from the Firth of Forth and east coast of Britain.
  • 1948, Minesweeping Trials and Experimentation Establishment formed. The base also continued to function as the Royal Navy's minesweeping training centre, serving as a Torpedo Anti-Submarine School and base for the Vernon Minesweeping Trials Section which was joined by the Fishery Protection Squadron in 1958.
  • 1958, Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron joined HMS Lochinvar.
  • 1958, the eastern part of the site was used for storage and assembly of materials used in construction of the Forth Road Bridge until 1964.
  • 1960, the port became Navy’s only minesweeping training establishment.
  • 1975, HMS Lochinvar closed, the final closure of naval facilities at Port Edgar. All its operations moved across the Forth to HMS Caledonia in the rebuilt naval base at Rosyth. Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron moved to HMS Caledonia in Rosyth, and later, in 1994, to Portsmouth).
  • 1978, the former Lothian Regional Council acquired the facility and made it into a marina, however many of the former military buildings remain on the site.
  • 1988, the Algerines Association unveiled a memorial at Port Edgar to the minesweepers and fishery protection vessels based at Port Edgar and Granton between 1939 and 1975

Port Edgar is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and is a marina for pleasure craft and a base for other watersports, and has become the principal marina on the Forth, with 300 serviced berths and a sailing school.

World War II

In 1939, the naval base was reactivated as HMS Lochinvar, tasked with minelaying and minesweeping operations. It has also been described as a training establishment for the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

Crown Prince Olaf of Norway was one of a significant Norwegian contingent based there, having escaped in exile when his country was invaded by Germany.

On October 25, 1943, HMS Lochinvar relocated east to the harbour at Granton, and HMS Hopetoun was commissioned on the Port Edgar site, which became a Combined Operations Training Centre where British and Allied navies carried out landing craft and minesweeper training for the D-Day landings.

On February 28, 1946, HMS Hopetoun was paid off, and HMS Lochinvar returned to its former site to become the base for Royal Navy minesweepers clearing wartime minefields from the Firth of Forth and east coast of Britain.

In 1948, the Minesweeping Trials and Experimentation Establishment was formed at Port Edgar. The existing base continued to function as the Royal Navy's minesweeping training centre, serving as a Torpedo Anti-Submarine School, and base for the Vernon Minesweeping Trials Section.

In 1958, the Fishery Protection Squadron arrived to become part of HMS Lochinvar.

In 1960, the base became the Navy’s only minesweeping training establishment.

In 1975, HMS Lochinvar closed, marking the final closure of naval facilities at Port Edgar. All operations moved across the Forth to HMS Caledonia in the recently rebuilt Rosyth Naval Base. The Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron also moved to HMS Caledonia, and later, in 1994, to Portsmouth.

In 1978, the former Lothian Regional Council acquired the facility and made it into a marina, however many of the former military buildings remain on the site.

In 1988, the Algerines Association unveiled a memorial at Port Edgar to the minesweepers and fishery protection vessels based at both Port Edgar and Granton between 1939 and 1975.

HMS Lochinvar

HMS Lochinvar was a Royal Navy shore establishment, sited at Port Edgar, about half a mile (1 km) west of South Queensferry on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. The facility saw service in both World War I and World War II, became a research establishment after the war, and served as a training centre until it was paid off.

Port Edgar had already been commissioned as a significant naval base in 1917, HMS Columbine, a torpedo boat destroyer depot which closed in 1928. The site was also home to the Royal Naval Hospital at Butlaw.

The buildings remained in use as a holiday camp (possibly more likely an unemployment camp), during the depression of the 1930s, when it is described as having been used to provide holidays for families of the unemployed from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

HMS Hopetoun

HMS Hopetoun was a Combined Operations Training Centre established at Port Edgar on the Firth of Forth during 1943, where British and Allied navies carried out training for the D-Day landings.

The harbour served as landing craft and minesweeper base, and was commissioned October 25, 1943, and paid off February 28, 1946.[1]

While HMS Hopetoun was at Port Edgar, HMS Lochinvar, which was the incumbent establishment, moved east to the harbour at Granton, from where it operated until HMS Hopetoun was paid off.

References

1 HMS Hopetoun on Combined Operation web site

External links

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

 

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Aerial views


Map

HMS Lochinvar at Granton

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