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Clyde Defences, Cloch Point Battery

Coastal Battery (20th Century), Coastal Battery (Second World War), Coastal Battery (First World War)

Site Name Clyde Defences, Cloch Point Battery

Classification Coastal Battery (20th Century), Coastal Battery (Second World War), Coastal Battery (First World War)

Alternative Name(s) Cloch Lighthouse; Cloch Caravans; Cloch Road; Gourock

Canmore ID 106364

Site Number NS27NW 21

NGR NS 2050 7585

NGR Description Centred NS 2050 7585

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Inverclyde
  • Parish Inverkip
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Inverclyde
  • Former County Renfrewshire

World War One Audit of Surviving Remains (3 July 2013)

This coast artillery battery, situated on the opposite bank of the estuary from Dunoon, was one of five used during the First World War to defend the important port and ship-building centre on the Clyde. This was a powerful battery of two 6-inch naval guns, capable of tackling a large enemy warship coming up the river. This battery was paired with one, a little to the south on the other bank of the estuary, at Ardhallow (NS17NE 6). The estuary is about 2.7km wide here, but the guns had a range of almost 11km, firing an armour-piercing shell weighing 45kg.

The battery, unlike that at Ardhallow (built 1901-05), was built during the First World War, in 1916. Plans were made in 1899-1905 and the land was actually bought, at what seems a very high price: £13,050 - about £750,000 at modern prices - and then sold back to the original owner, from whom it was re-purchased in 1915. The construction was undertaken by Messrs J & D Meikle of Ayr, but their problems in getting labour resulted in much of the work being done by Royal Engineers and infantry.

The Fort Record Book states that the two guns mounted at Cloch Point were those removed from Portkil Battery in September 1916. The Battery Control Post and the magazine were built in 1917. The guns were both replaced in 1924 and were equipped with new shields in 1931. The mounting and replacement of the guns, and the replacement of the shields, are described in detail in the Fort Record Book (with many photographs of the last operation).

Plans dated 1916 exist for two Defence Electric Lights but the remains of three have been identified on the site; it is not known when the third searchlight was added.

In the First World War the garrison was accommodated in wooden huts, with a cookhouse and ablutions. The camp was electrically lit. The battery remained in use between the wars and was fully mobilised on a war footing in the autumn of 1938 and again in August 1939. Permanent quarters for troops and officers, and brigade and battery offices, were completed in February 1940. Two unrotating projectile anti-aircraft weapons were emplaced in 1943 and removed in 1944. The battery was put on a care and maintenance basis on 27 November 1944.

One of the functions of the battery was to cover an anti-submarine boom strung across the river from Cloch Point lighthouse (NS27NW 137, the eastern anchoring points of which are scheduled monuments). The boom seems to have been in the same location in both First and Second World Wars (WO 192/106; WO 78/5185).

Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 3 July 2013.

Archaeology Notes

NS27NW 21.00 centred 2050 7585

NS27NW 21.01 NS 20295 75793, 20307 75838 and 20448 76021 Searchlight Battery

NS27NW 21.02 NS 20498 76047 Hut

NS27NW 21.03 NS 20432 75599 Control Buildings

NS27NW 21.04 NS 20944 75395 Reservoir

For Cloch [Point] Lighthouse (NS 20319 75877), see NS27NW 16.

A World War I and II coastal battery situated within what is now Cloch Caravans in Cloch Road, Gourock.

The two concrete gun-emplacements have been infilled and now have caravans placed on top. Several other associated brick and concrete buildings are extant.

The two 6-inch guns (numbered 2406 and 2384) came from Portkil Battery (NS28SE 39) and were installed during October 1916. The battery was placed on a care and maintainance basis in November 1944 and the guns removed during December 1956. (information from PRO document WO/192/106)

J Guy 2001; NMRS MS 810/11, Part. 2 76-7; Vol.2 (appendix), 5-6

Three searchlight platforms (NS27NW 21.01) survive along the N side of the A 770 both N and S of the Cloch Lighthouse. At NS 20498 76047 (NS27NW 21.02) is a hut base now used as a picnic area.

Information from Defence of Britain Project recording form, (J Locock and J King), 1998.


Note (3 July 2013)

A set of plans for the site of the proposed battery date to 1915 (The National Archives WO78/5185). It appears that the actual layout of the battery did not follow the plans. The roads up to the gun emplacements appear to have been replaced by a tramway system with an inclined plain annotated Haulage Railway on a later plan (The National Archives WO 192/106. The battery observation post was repositioned closer to the battery. It could be that the accommodation camp did not follow the original plans.

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 3 July 2013.

Project (March 2013 - September 2013)

A project to characterise the quantity and quality of the Scottish resource of known surviving remains of the First World War. Carried out in partnership between Historic Scotland and RCAHMS.


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