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Rosneath Naval Base

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Rosneath Naval Base was located in the area of the Rosneath Peninsula, Argyll and Bute. Almost nothing survives to mark its existence. It was also known as the Rosneath and Kelorragan Anchorage.

The base headquarters were located at Rosneath House, which has also been lost.

The base began as a secret operation in July 1941, when civilian workers were sent from America to carry out preparatory work on the site at a time when America was still neutral. The need for secrecy ended unexpectedly on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbour. Funding for construction of the base was to be provided by both the British and the American governments, in accordance with Lend Lease agreements reached in March 1941, which gave the USA the right to set up shore bases in exchange for warships and supplies. On completion, the base was initially used by the Royal Navy for the repair and maintenance of Atlantic convoy support vessels. In 1942, the Americans took control, and the base became a training centre for amphibious operations in advance of the attack on north west Africa, Operation Torch. In the nearby woods at Greenisle, camps provided accommodation for some 6,000 men. With this operation completed, the Americans returned the base to the Royal Navy, while still retaining a number of areas for use by United States Navy operations: Clachan House, Seabee (Construction Battalions of the United States Navy) base; docking for the submarine depot ship USS Beaver; the boats of Submarine Squadron 50 and the Portkil hospital complex. In preparation for D-Day, the Americans once again took control of the base, in August 1943, for preparatory operations. In June, 1945, the Americans de-commissioned the base, and control finally returned to the British Navy. In 1946, proposals to use the base as a Combined Operations facility were cancelled, and by 1948 the base was closed.

Other than the tank farm area and adjacent land to the north, originally retained by the Admiralty to house new sheds for inshore minesweepers, the former base and Clachan House accommodation section around Rosneath village were eventually cleared to make way for new housing, including a church and school.

Little evidence now remains of the existence of this former naval base, which housed extensive machine tools, a tank farm holding 200,000 gallons of fuel oil, a 600 bed hospital, an ammunition dump, and facilities some 6,000 men. Only some rusty sheds and oil tanks have been reported.

Overlooking Rosneath Bay, a memorial cairn was erected in 2000, in memory of those who served or trained in the area.

More detail can be found on the story of the American naval base at Rosneath from 1941-45, in a book written by a Rosneath resident: United States Navy Base Two by Dennis Royal. The Douglas Press, 94 pages, (2000), ISBN: 1 902831802.

Postwar development

Rosneath now hosts a QinetiQ facility which carries out Electro Magnetic Signature Services, offering harbour entrance ranging (HER) and open sea ranging (OSR), complemented by a similar installation in the Firth of Forth at Burntisland, Fife.

It has one harbour entrance range and two open sea ranges with depths of 9 metres and 20 metres respectively. The two open sea ranges can accommodate mine counter measure vessels (MCMV) or other vessels up to 1,000 tonnes and submarines or other vessels up to 20,000 tonnes respectively. Interestingly, the site address is given as DG Range, Greenisle, which appears to reflect its operation as a degaussing facility during World War II. [1]


1 United States Navy Base Two Retrieved April 20, 2011.

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