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Graemsay Battery

Coastal Battery (Second World War)

Site Name Graemsay Battery

Classification Coastal Battery (Second World War)

Alternative Name(s) Graemsay Low Light

Canmore ID 81765

Site Number HY20NW 26

NGR HY 24679 06634

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Hoy And Graemsay
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY20NW 26 24679 06634

Orkney SMR Reference: OR 2478, OR 2955

This battery is situated adjacent to the site of St Colm's Chapel (HY20NW 18) and consisted of an open twin 6 pounder emplacement, magazines, engine room, OP tower and searchlight platforms.

J Guy 1993; NMRS 810/2; WO/192/268.

HY 246 065. Graemsay Battery: WWII battery, structures and searchlight emplacements.

Sponsors: Historic Scoland, Orkney Archaeological Trust.

G Wilson and H Moore 1997.


Field Visit (August 1997)

Graemsay Battery was constructed in 1943 to provide additional anti-motor-torpedo-boat cover for Stromness harbour. It was armed with a twin six-pounder gun. The lack of an overhead cover to the gun emplacement and the design of the twin searchlight structures are unusual features. The remains comprise the gun battery, the two searchlight emplacements and a range of buildings built to the rear of the battery against the perimeter wall of Hoy Low lighthouse. The camp buildings for the battery were located inside the perimeter wall.

(i) The battery is constructed from both mortared stone and concrete and lies 2m from the cliff edge.

(ii) The searchlight emplacements are located 95m and 160m, respectively, to the S of the battery. They are identical in plan; two bays, each accommodating a searchlight, are located at the N and S corners of the structure. They measure 7.5m long by 6m wide and are entered via a door to the S side.

(iii) To the rear of the gun battery, backing onto the perimeter wall of the lighthouse, lie the directing tower and the concrete footings of the engine room, shelters and magazine.

Moore and Wilson, 1997

Coastal Zone Assessment Survey

Orkney Smr Note (1999)

Built in 1943 to strengthen the anti-motor-torpedo boat defences of Stromness, the layout of the Graemsay Battery remains almost intact. Most of the structures survive only as far as their footings, like the battery camp within the perimeter wall of the lighthouse. However the unusual style of gun emplacement (no overhead cover) and the unique twin searchlight structures survive intact along with the direction tower and the magazine. The engine room to the S of the main structures is possibly built on the site of St.Colm's Chapel, OR1910.

Information from Orkney SMR, 1999


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