MHG52575 - House and Naval Base - Ravensdale, Corpach


A late 19th-century villa which was used by the US Navy during the First World War.

Type and Period (3)

  • VILLA (Built, 19th Century - 1872 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MILITARY BASE (First World War - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • ROYAL NAVAL BASE (First World War - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Martin Briscoe has identified this house in a photograph featured in a book about The Northern Barrage, published by the US Naval Institute in 1919. The Northern Barrage was a large minefield laid across the North Sea. The works were based at Inverness and Alness. Mines were brought in to Kyle of Lochalsh for shipment by railway to the east coast and to Corpach for shipment through the canal to Inverness. The book features many photographs, including a large number of US naval personnel photographed outside a house in Corpach. From the distinctive tracery on the porch, this building has been identified as Ravensdale. <1><2>

In 1917 it was decided that the United States and Britain would jointly create a barrier of mines between Scotland and Norway to restrict the movement into the Atlantic of German submarines.
The United States Navy established two naval bases, at Inverness (Naval Base 18) and Invergordon (Naval Base 17), where mines, shipped in pieces from the United States to the west coast of Scotland, were assembled, by US naval personnel, prior to being loaded onto American mine-laying ships. Two bases had to be established because Inverness Harbour was not large enough to accommodate enough mine-laying ships at once.
The mines were landed from the United States in pieces at Kyle of Lochalsh (from where up to 2,000 mines a week were moved by train to Invergordon) and Corpach (from where up to 1,500 mines a week were shipped through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness).
A small base was established at Corpach, at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal. The site of the base is unlocated but the house at Ravensdale was requisitioned as the HQ and accommodation for the United States detachment at Corpach, in 1917-18. The mine landing station was provided with protection in the form of a coast defence battery at Corran Ferry.
Recorded as part of HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project, 2013. <3> <4> <5>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NN 09288 76823 (22m by 14m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NN07NE
Civil Parish KILMALLIE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

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