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Bute, Scalpsie Bay, Aircraft Immobilisation Posts

Anti Glider Posts (Second World War)

Site Name Bute, Scalpsie Bay, Aircraft Immobilisation Posts

Classification Anti Glider Posts (Second World War)

Alternative Name(s) Firth Of Clyde

Canmore ID 300814

Site Number NS05NE 113

NGR NS 05823 58328

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/300814

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kingarth
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NS05NE 113 NS 05823 58328

The sites recorded at Scalpsie Bay include a series of posts set in a lines which were part of WW2 invasion defences (Ann Spiers pers comm). 112. Scalpsie Bay, NS 06015 58244, NS 05907 58286, NS 05823 58328, NS 05723 58363, NS 05608 58370, Anti-glider landing posts, fair condition, WW2.

This site was noted during a coastal zone assessment survey undertaken by CFA Archaeology Ltd to characterise the state of coastal erosion and the threat it poses to cultural heritage sites. A gazetteer in the report included a note of existing records and new sites when discovered. Where the site was located, notes included condition, period/date and recommendations.

Commissioned by The Scape Trust and Firth of Clyde Forum on behalf of Historic Scotland.

Cressey and Johnson 2004

These anti-glider posts are visible on RAF vertical aerial photographs taken on 21 August 1946 (106G/SCOT/UK161/3050-3052), and held at RCAHMS.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 22 October 2009.

Activities

Field Visit (December 2003)

The sites recorded at Scalpsie Bay include a series of posts set in a lines which were part of WW2 invasion defences (Ann Spiers pers comm). 112. Scalpsie Bay, NS 06015 58244, NS 05907 58286, NS 05823 58328, NS 05723 58363, NS 05608 58370, Anti-glider landing posts, fair condition, WW2.

This site was noted during a coastal zone assessment survey undertaken by CFA Archaeology Ltd to characterise the state of coastal erosion and the threat it poses to cultural heritage sites. A gazetteer in the report included a note of existing records and new sites when discovered. Where the site was located, notes included condition, period/date and recommendations.

Commissioned by The Scape Trust and Firth of Clyde Forum on behalf of Historic Scotland.

Cressey and Johnson 2004

Desk Based Assessment (22 October 2009)

These anti-glider posts are visible on RAF vertical aerial photographs taken on 21 August 1946 (106G/SCOT/UK161/3050-3052), and held at RCAHMS.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 22 October 2009.

Field Visit (2009 - 2010)

During World War II both Scalpsie Bay and Ettrick Bay were thought to be possible sites for landings by German forces, and they were protected by gun emplacements overlooking the bays and by a system of wire support posts, designed to frustrate any attempt at landing by gliders or other aircraft. Substantial wooden posts, set into concrete bases, were arranged in a grid pattern extending well beyond the low water mark. The Ettrick Bay posts are no longer there but a considerable number still survive at Scalpsie. Our survey plan records the defences which were visible in February

2010.

The following notes are by Ian Marshall, who with Gerry Hearns and the late Bruce Henry carried out the EDM survey:

As with other bays in Bute, Scalpsie Bay appears to have been used for a variety of military purposes in WWII, of which the main visible evidence is the remains of 24 anti-glider wire support posts which can be seen at low tide, set out in a grid in the intertidal zone. It is likely that all these posts are set in concrete bases, but only four are now readily visible.

These standard features consisted of wooden posts, embedded in concrete bases and originally 5-6m in height, which supported a grid of wires designed to disrupt and immobilise attempted beach seizures by paratroops delivered by gliders. These defences would probably have been supplemented by barbed wire, pillboxes and machine gun sites.

The ACFA survey indicates what many be the dumped evidence, or perhaps the site, of now destroyed pill boxes (see Feature 49 below).

There is evidence that like Ettrick Bay to the north, Scalpsie was used for D-Day training beach landings for opposed landing craft assaults, so perhaps the installations were designed as much for training purposes as serious defences.

Further information on Bute in WWII and in the Cold War can be found at www.isle-of-bute.org.uk/hist.shtml (Gorra, no date)

Jess Sandeman’s book Bute’s War (Sandeman 2000) gives an interesting account of wartime on Bute and refers to Ettrick Bay, Scalpsie and Dunagoil beaches being ‘festooned with barbed wire and booby traps’ (p.41)

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