Firth of Forth

Posted on September 17, 2020 / 30
Listing Type : Naval Port or Anchorage
Location : Scotland

The Firth of Forth assumed growing importance from March 1903 when work commenced on the new Rosyth Dockyard.  Work on the dockyard did not start for six years and it was just being completed by 1914.

Designated as an A Class A Harbour by the  Home Ports Defence Committee, later the Home Defence Committee with defences designed to withstand attack from Battleships.

By the end of the 19th Century there were six coastal defence batteries guarding the Firth of Forth.  These were:


Inchkeith Island.  Four 10-inch RML batteries were built on the island between 1879 and 1880.  In 1892 a single 9.2-inch gun was mounted.  Between 1893 and 1895 additional emplacements were built for a battery of two 4.7-inch Q.F. guns.  These two 4.7-inch guns were later replaced by 9.2-inch guns.

Kinghorn Battery.  Between 1879 to 1880 a battery to two 10-inch RMLs was mounted in this battery.  Two 4.7-inch Q.F. guns were added by 1892.  In 1899 a further two 10-inch RMLs guns were added.  Between 1903 and 1905 the old RML batteries were developed to mount a 9.2-inch Mark X gun, and two 6-inch Mark VII guns.  The 4.7-inch battery was left as a practice battery.


Cramond Island with two 12-pdr QF guns built in 1914

Inchmickery Island with four 12-pdr QF guns built by 1915

Inchcolm Island with eight 12-pdr 18 cwt QF guns mounted by 1915. By 1916 the defences had been upgraded to two 6-inch Mark VII BL guns, two 12-pdr, four 4-inch Mark V QF guns and four 4.7-inch QF guns

Breafoot Battery with two 9.2-inch BL Mark X guns

National Archives Records

Cramond Island WO 192/253 & WO 78/5164

Inchmickery WO 78/5163


Dalmeny Battery with two 4.7-inch Q.F. guns, built between 1900 and 1902.

Inchgarve Battery with two 12-pdr Q.F. guns, built between 1900 and 1902.

Carlingnose Battery with two 6-inch Mark VII guns, built between 1900 and 1902.

Coastguard Battery with two 12-pdr Q.F. guns, built between 1900 and 1902.

Downing Point with two 4.7-inch QF built in 1914

Hound Point Battery with two 6-inch Mark VII, completed by 1914. Rearmed with 12-pdr QF in 1916

One the link button to the right you can download an excellent paper by Gordon J Barclay and Ron Morris on “The anti-invasion defence of the Forth and Tay estuaries, eastern Scotland: 1900-1919”. Downloaded from Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and also available on

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