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Loch Of Strathbeg, Seaplane Base

Seaplane Base (First World War)

Site Name Loch Of Strathbeg, Seaplane Base

Classification Seaplane Base (First World War)

Alternative Name(s) Rattray Head

Canmore ID 107257

Site Number NK05NE 22

NGR NK 08260 57620

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Crimond
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Banff And Buchan
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

World War One Audit of Surviving Remains (5 June 2013)

The military seaplane station on the Loch of Strathbeg was established in 1917 as a response to increased German submarine activity in the North Sea. It was intended to base large flying boats here, but although the Loch is the largest body of fresh water in the North-East, its depth could at times drop to around 1m, which was too shallow to operate from. When that was the case seaplanes were to operate from Peterhead, where maintenance would also be carried out. Construction was under way early in 1918.

The seaplane station at the southern end of the loch covered an area of 11.3 hectares and comprised a single seaplane shed and a workshop, both being 21m square, and a range of store sheds. There was a slipway and a pier onto which a light railway ran. The establishment of the station was 62, of whom seven were women, accommodated in huts in the southern part of the base. Although there had been ambitious plans to base 18 large seaplanes here, the RAF air station survey of the autumn of 1918 note that only six float seaplanes were based here. The station closed in March 1919. The loch was not re-used in the Second World War, but floating obstructions were placed across it in 1940-41 to prevent enemy seaplanes from landing on it.

Only the pier and an area of hard-standing survive.

Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 31 May 2013

Archaeology Notes

NK05NE 22 08260 57620

Not to be confused with nearby Crimond airfield (centred NK 070 580), for which see NK05NE 16.

Strathbeg, Grampian. NK 083 577. Seaplane base opened here in 1916 and was the base of 400 Flight of 249 Squadron in 1918.

D J Smith 1983.

Now a nature reserve.

NMRS, MS/712/8.


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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