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Ness Battery

Coastal Battery (Second World War), Coastal Battery(S) (First World War)

Site Name Ness Battery

Classification Coastal Battery (Second World War), Coastal Battery(S) (First World War)

Alternative Name(s) World War I And World War Ii; Stromness

Canmore ID 81794

Site Number HY20NW 27

NGR HY 2486 0796

NGR Description Centred HY 2486 0796

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Stromness
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

World War One Audit of Surviving Remains (23 September 2013)

The final decision to make Scapa Flow the main base for the Grand Fleet in the event of war (over the Invergordon dockyard in the Firth of Cromarty) was made only on the eve of war. As a consequence, in August 1914, the anchorage was undefended. It was only in mid-1915 that the anchorage was secured by guns, anti-submarine booms and blockships. In the end there were 13 batteries around the approaches to Scapa Flow.

The three Ness batteries (Nos 1-3) (see HY20NW 27.01, .03 and HY20NW 28), near Stromness, protected the NW entrance to Scapa Flow, Hoy Sound. The strong currents in Hoy Sound prevented the deployment of anti-submarine nets.

Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 23 September 2013.

Archaeology Notes

HY20NW 27.00 24859 07977 and 24886 07946

See also HY20NE 77

HY20NW 27.01 HY 24958 07739 Coast battery, 5.5-inch (WW I)

HY20NW 27.02 HY 24879 07956 Coast battery 6-inch (WW II)

HY20NW 27.03 HY 24866 07926 Coast Battery 6-inch (WW I)

HY20NW 27.04 Centred HY 24855 08067 Military camp (WW II)

A series of World War One and Two gun emplacements and magazines with a camp site.

J Guy 1993; NMRS MS 810/2; WO/192/273.

Both the 5.5-inch World War I and World War II batteries are visible on RAF vertical air photographs (CPE/Scot/UK185, 2439-2441, flown 9 October 2004) in an area on the W side of Stromness Golf course. The World War I 6-inch battery is visible on more recent aerial photography (OS 64.54, 033-034, flown 5 June 1964). The searchlights to the S on the shore are also visible on the aerial photographs and are depicted on the OS 1:10000 scale map.

Visited by RCAHMS (DE, GS, August 2000)

Scheduled as Ness Battery, coast defence battery, Stromness.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 25 October 2001.


Laser Scanning (8 May 2012 - 11 December 2012)

HY 24866 07926 A laser scan survey of the Ness Battery was carried out 8 May – 11 December 2012. Scans were taken of the interior and exterior of the two 6" gun emplacements, their associated gun crew accommodation and the entrance stairwell, corridor and rooms of their associated magazines.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

Mark Littlewood, ORCA


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.

Orkney Smr Note

A series of WWI and WWII gun emplacements and magazines with associated camp site situated on the N side of Hoy Sound guarding the western entrance to Scapa Flow. In WWII 6 inch guns were housed in two massive emplacements with improvised roofs of concrete carried on a network of steel beams to protect the gunners from air attack. Behind them stand a 2 storey observation tower used to control all the western defences of the Flow. Along the shore are the remains of slightly later twin 6-pounder battery and searchlight emplacements.

Information from Orkney SMR [n.d.]


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