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Innes Links, anti-invasion defences, Kingston to Lossiemouth

A Scheduled Monument in Fochabers Lhanbryde, Moray

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Latitude: 57.6929 / 57°41'34"N

Longitude: -3.1954 / 3°11'43"W

OS Eastings: 328838

OS Northings: 867638

OS Grid: NJ288676

Mapcode National: GBR L8GD.BYT

Mapcode Global: WH6J2.WWLX

Entry Name: Innes Links, anti-invasion defences, Kingston to Lossiemouth

Scheduled Date: 13 August 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13572

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Anti-landing obstacle

Location: Urquhart/Urquhart

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Fochabers Lhanbryde

Traditional County: Morayshire


The monument is an anti-invasion defence line dating to the Second World War (1940-41). It forms part of a defensive system known as the 'Defence Sector'. This stretch is known as the 'Right Sector' and runs for approximately 8km, stretching from Kingston in the E to Lossiemouth in the W. It is visible for most of its length as a series of pillboxes with connecting anti-tank blocks, with the remains of an emergency coastal battery and accommodation camp at Boar's Head Rock. The Moray Coast was identified by Home Command as a vulnerable area for enemy invasion following the fall of Norway in April 1940, which resulted in a widespread construction project to protect Moray's coastline and the five airfields in the county from assault and invasion from sea and air.

The pillboxes generally alternate between two types: the FWD3 Type 24 pillbox variant, which is six-sided with gun loops on all sides, except for the rear wall which has two smaller loop holes and an entrance covered by a blast wall; and a more unusual rectangular pillbox, approximately 2.9m long by 4.25m wide and 2.25m in height, again with an entrance at the rear protected by a blast wall. The anti-tank blocks along this sector measure 1.07m square and are 1.6m high, with a 1.2m interval between the blocks with a few variations to take account of the terrain. The remains of an emergency coastal battery are located approximately 5.2 km to the SE of Lossiemouth, by Boar's Head Rock. The battery consists of two gun emplacements, two searchlight emplacements, three engine houses, two magazines, two machine-gun nests and various other earthworks and concrete bases. The remains of the accommodation camp for the battery are visible as concrete hut bases and a converted 19th-century fishing station. The fishing station was extensively altered during the construction of the battery and played an important role in the accommodation camp, probably as a mess hut or signal station. There is a 19th-century firing range centred at NJ 328 659, which was also in use during the Second World War. There is a break in the defence line between NJ 273 682 and NJ 269 684 where the sand dunes are steep and high enough to form a natural tank barrier.

The scheduled area consists of two linear stretches, approximately 10m wide and centred on the defence line, and a number of other discrete areas of irregular shape focused on the following features:  the old firing range (located at NJ 328 659); four pillboxes at the W end of the line (located at NJ 2687 6854, NJ 2589 8684, NJ 2575 6836 and NJ 2557 6814), and a roadblock, associated anti-tank blocks and a pillbox (centred at NJ 2558 8681) close to the Innes Canal. The scheduled areas include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use is expected to survive, as shown in red on the attached map. The scheduling specifically excludes all above-ground elements of the Moray Coastal Trail footpath, all forestry roads and access tracks to a depth of 30cm, and all elements of the Innes Canal, to allow for routine maintenance works.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has the potential to add significantly to our understanding of the defence of Scotland in a key period during the early stages of the Second World War, namely, the response to the 1940-41 threat of invasion by German forces. It can enhance our understanding of defensive strategies, the design, planning and construction of anti-invasion defences, the use of the landscape in defence, and the lives of the soldiers who trained on and manned the defences. The 'Right Sector' is one of the best preserved examples of anti-invasion defences in Scotland and Britain. A significant number of elements of this defence line survive in their original positions and can provide detailed insights into contemporary military strategy and tactics, particularly in an area where few plans and records are available. This defence line was a key link in a defensive chain stretching from the Northern Isles to the south coast of England and has a place in the national consciousness given society's collective memory of and interest in the Second World War. If this monument was to be lost or damaged, our understanding of the defence of Scotland in the Second World War would be greatly diminished.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



AOC Archaeology Group, 2009, Lossie Forest, Moray: Desk Based Assessment, unpubl report by AOC Ltd for Forestry Commission Scotland.

Barclay, G 2013, If Hitler Comes: Preparing for Invasion: Scotland 1940, Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd.

Fox, S 2012, Defending Britain's Back Door: An Archaeological Analysis of Morayshire's Second World War Defence Landscape, unpubl MLitt thesis, Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, University of Glasgow.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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