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Rattray Head Anti-Tank Line

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Rattray Head anti-tank line. An anti-tank stop line which ran south from St Combs to Annachie Bridge, along the north east coast of Scotland. There were two main sections of the anti-tank ditch, one beginning at Starnakeppie, on the south east corner of Loch of Strathbeg, and running south to Annachie Bridge, and a second running running from the north end of the loch, to St Combs. The southern part of the ditch runs for approximately 6.5 kilometres, inland of the dune system, to Annachie Bridge. Postwar RAF aerial photographs (1946) show the ditch was generally provided with a pillbox at each vertex, and that these were surrounded by barbed wire enclosures. After the war, a number of ditch sections were incorporated into farm drainage systems.

The following summary attempts to concentrate some thirty pages of reports and locations, and present the information in pictorial form on the map at the foot of the page, with links to the data source for anyone seeking further information. The locations plotted are as given in the reports, and it should be noted that lines shown to indicate features are only representative of the path between the point, and do not attempt to depict the true ground course of any given feature.

Rattray Head

Tillyduff Hill

To the south of St Combs, a short, straight section of ditch was cut through Tillyduff Hill, possibly linking with a drain/ditch cut to drain Loch of Strathbeg. This drain/ditch may also have been used to protect the area north of Loch of Strathbeg. Two short lengths of anti-tank blocks, (10.02A) and (10.02B), and one pillbox (10.01) within a barbed-wire enclosure can be seen on RAF aerial photographs (1946). The pillbox stands on a narrow trench running from NK06016259 to NK05976285, and merges into a second line of anti-tank blocks (10.02B).

Rattray/Crimond airfield

Rattray airfield, 2006
Rattray airfield 2006
© Adrian and Janet Quantock

A line of coastal defence pillboxes protected the approach to Crimond airfield, and formed part of the anti-tank stop line that ran along the north east coast. A canal/ditch runs north from the Loch of Strathbeg to Gallow Hill (NK06176185) and may be part of the same line. See RCAHMS NK06SE, Loch of Strathbeg canal.

Pillboxes are also noted by Grampian Regional Council (GRC) at the following locations, however it is unclear whether any of these duplicate those recorded by RCAHMS NK05NE 17.00).

North Blackwater

A major section of the anti-tank stop line is described between NK10025500 and NK10555315, and comprises an anti-tank ditch running north south, inland of the dunes. Between this ditch, and west of the high water line, there is a further series of anti-tank landing ditches in the dunes, running east west. Gaps in this system were protected by short lengths of anti-tank blocks, with a short section of approximately 150 m lying on the north side of the Annachie burn outflow (NK15SW 6.05). Pillboxes were located to the west of the ditch, one of which (pillbox 6.01) appear to have been provided with circular platforms, protected by a barbed wire enclosure, which could have served light anti-aircraft guns, or a searchlight battery.

External links

Where available, individual links are provided after each item listed above.

The links above all centre on the airfield.

Aerial views

The views above all centre on the airfield.



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