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Bellsmyre, Brackenhurst

Anti Aircraft Battery (20th Century)

Site Name Bellsmyre, Brackenhurst

Classification Anti Aircraft Battery (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) N6; Cd9; Clyde Aa Defences; Clyde Postwar Aa Defences; Kilmalid

Canmore ID 107533

Site Number NS47NW 25

NGR NS 4000 7705

NGR Description Centred NS 4000 7705

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/107533

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

  • Council West Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Dumbarton
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Dumbarton
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes

NS47NW 25 centred 4000 7705

Area also falls on sheet NS37NE

A four gun-emplacement heavy anti-aircraft battery with associated accommodation camp was situated immediately W of the Stirling Road (A813). The battery mounted 4.7-inch guns with at least two light anti-aircraft positions located on the perimeter of the radar false horizon hexagon. The GL mat (gun laying radar) was unusually, situated within the arc made by the accomodation camp.

Information from RCAHMS (DE) July 1997

This World War II heavy anti-aircraft battery is situated to the W of Bellsmyre and N of the modern A82(T) road. Four concrete gun-emplacements, command post and engine room still survive in a field immediately N of the dual-carriagway. The concrete hut bases of the accommodation camp can still be seen to the N. Some buildings have possibly been removed when the dual-carriagway was built and a drainage ditch now runs through the middle of the battery. Records show that the battery was armed with four 4.5-inch guns.

J Guy 2001; NMRS MS 810/11, Part 3, 155-6; Vol.2 (appendix), 15

Information provided to RCAHMS (Information via e-mail from Mr J Bamber 19 March 2008) has provided evidence that this battery was converted to mount postwar developments in gun technology, either upgraded 3.7-inch or 4.5-inch calibre. The emplacements were altered from their WW II configuration as was the control position and a possible engine room or magazine added immediately outside the arc of gun positions.

Construction of a new roundabout off the dual carriageway is now encroaching on to the site.

Large scale (1:5000) vertical air photographs taken in 1946 and 1949 show the alterations to the WW II battery (106G/UK 1317, frames 5130-5131, flown 27 March 1946 and 58A/419, part one, frames 5130-5132, flown 19 June 1949). On the images from 1946 it can be seen that on only two of the gun emplacements have the additions been made along with a new building (engine room/magazine?) on the SW side of the four gun positions. There is also some evidence to show that the gun mountings have been fitted, but possibly without barrels. In addition there are alterations to the command position are visible. By the date of the 1949 images, three of the four gun emplacements defintely show the modifications, whilst the evidence from the photograph on the fourth would appear unclear. There would also appear to no guns mounted and many of the huts in the accommodation camp have been removed. A further series of air photographs taken in 1954 (f22 82 RAF B 64, frames 0337-0338, flown 5 March 1954), show that the battery had by this date been adandoned, but there was also some late developments with the addition two large concrete buildings immediately to the E, both of which survive (RCAHMS 2008).

The evidence would appear to suggest that this battery was being developed from an existing WW II AA site possibly as part of the post war Rotor programme, under Army AA Command.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), 20 March 2008; e-mail J Bamber 19 March 2008

The battery and all ancillary buildings immediately N of the dual carriageway and new roundabouts have now been removed in advance of development, which has cleared and levelled the site. The remains of the accommodation camp to the N remain in the form of some concrete hut bases.

Information to RCAHMS via e-mail from Mr J Bamber, 10 October 2008

Activities

Archaeological Evaluation (7 September 2009 - 12 September 2009)

NS 4000 7705 An evaluation consisting of 29 trenches totalling 2200m2, was undertaken 7–12 September

2009 prior to a proposed development on a c4.37ha greenfield site. The majority of the trenches contained no

archaeological features and only a few modern artefacts were recovered from the topsoil. However, the southern fragment of the development area crossed the site of an accommodation camp associated with a mid-20th-century anti-aircraft artillery battery and evidence of this was identified in trenches 28 and 29. A Level 1 historic building survey also recorded a series of surface features related to the accommodation camp.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Aggreko

Martin Cook – AOC Archaeology Group

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