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Wartime

 

The headlands contained within some of these woodland areas became part of the extensive defences protecting the shipping of the Forth.

 

Extract from RCAHMS (Canmore Database):-

Forth Defences Inner Downing Point Battery

World War One Audit of Surviving Remains

Permission was given in September 1914 for the construction of a battery of two 4.7-inch guns at Downing Point, with a budget of £450. Two guns, which had been mounted at Kinghorn for 'drill and practice' were moved to Downing
Point in October. A map of 1915 shows the layout of the battery. The main part of the battery occupied a very compact site only about 100m by 110m within which were the two guns (with firing arcs from ENE to SSW) and, to the north, the barracks and other accommodation for the officers and men, as well as an engine room for the Defence Electric Lights (see below) a
magazine and an ammunition store.

It was important to ensure that coast defence batteries were not put out of action by enemy troops landing and attacking them from the landward side. The Downing Point battery was surrounded by a plain wire fence but also by a
barbed wire entanglement that ran out onto the beach along the northern side. There were also four blockhouses within the perimeter.

A long finger of rock runs eastward from the main battery area and on this were built two Defence Electric Lights - powerful searchlights to illuminate targets for the guns at night. One DEL was of the kind where the light could be moved to follow a target; the other produced a fixed beam, lighting an area on which the guns were already pre-targeted. The DEL emplacements were at NT 15939 82455 (fixed beam) and NT 15960 82459.

The battery was defended by an outer line of six blockhouses between 250 and 400m from the battery. Drawings on a War Department file (The National Archives WO 78/4396)show plans and cross-sections of the blockhouses - they were built of wood with pitched wood and felt roofs; there were bunks and a stove for the 10 men who lived in each. The blockhouses were made bulletproof by the erection of walls made of sandbags around the walls, about a metre away from the wooden walls.

When the defences of the Forth were re-worked the two 4.7-inch guns were sent to Inchcolm, while two 12-pdrs from Inchcolm were moved to Downing Point, in June and July 1917.

Most of the battery has escaped the construction of the town of Dalgety Bay and the gun emplacements are still visible.

 

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

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