The Whins or Blantyreferme Anti Aircraft (AA) Battery was situated to the North of the railway line and West of Blantyre Farm Road.
It was built in response to the threat of Nazi air raids during World War Two. The site consisted of over 20 accommodation and administration wooden huts, an engineering hut, initially four 4.5 inch gun emplacements built in 1941, concrete magazine stores, a barrage balloon station, a command post and a radar mat. The guns were clustered in a horse shoe arrangement around a central command post.
AA Batteries usually were occupied by members of the Royal Artillery, The Royal Engineers or the Home Guard.
As the blitz on London moved to places like Clydebank, a further 2 gun emplacements were added though the documents in the National Archives (Public Record Office) do not record this. By 1943, the Luftwaffe raids on the west of Scotland had sufficiently diminished for the heavy guns themselves to be relocated to more preferred sites away from Blantyre. They were replaced by smaller guns. Designated as part of the Clyde Defences, the documents show that it was equipped with four 4.5-inch guns in 1942-43, but by 1945 had been re-equipped with four 3.7-inch guns. In addtion between 1942 and 1943 a Gl (gun-laying) Mk II radar set was in operation. The battery is visible on an RAF WW II oblique aerial photograph (F309, 3648, flown 6 June 1941), which shows that at this date only four gun-emplacements had been built. Incredibly the guns could reach a ceiling of 32,000 feet.
The early 1941 emplacements were partially built of brick, sourced from the nearby Blantyreferme colliery brickworks.The 2 additional gun emplacements were placed either side of the existing four.
Some of the huts were strategically placed facing directly on to Blantyre Ferme Road and others more sensitive in nature were positioned away, out of sight. From 1943 the battery and camp became more of a training ground for the home guard.
Post War Years
Following the war, the site was decommissioned in 1945 and some of the huts removed. Others received an upgrade in 1948, when residents of Dechmont Camp moved in, until they could be permanently re-housed in the mid 1950s. The huts were demolished in the late 1950s once all residents were rehoused.
The former six gun-emplacements, command post, magazines and a gun store are all still extant by their current ruins although a spoil heap is now encroaching on the site and one or two other buildings are partly buried. As can be seen from this second world war photograph, the site was fairly large and extensive.
In 2008, advance works commenced to prepare and build the new Redlees park, which is now situated adjacent to this field. In late 2012, South Lanarkshire Council announced plans to extend Redlees Park to incorporate this interesting former army site, which can hopefully now be enjoyed for generations to come.
Evidence of the perimeter fence posts can still be seen, but the radar mat and huts positions are all but gone. Only the heavier concrete or brick structures still exist. To the left of the gun emplacements, the gun store and workshop still survives. The small cubicle attached to the rear was once the toilet. Further along from the gun store is the long magazine , which would have been used to store ammunition for the main guns. Construction of the building was segmented, so if an explosion happened, it could be contained. The old 1940’s numbering is still visible on the ruins.
The modern google earth aerial photo shows the field grown over with a rough outline of what once stood there. The picture is evolving fast with Blantyre slowly being built and creeping towards the site. Pictured are the new houses at the exit of Blantyre on to Farm Road.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016