MHG60103 - Submarine Mine Depot - United States Naval Base 18, Inverness


A Naval Base at Inverness was established in the premises of Glen Albyn distillery during WWI.

Type and Period (1)

  • SUBMARINE MINE DEPOT (First World War - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

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, see NH66NE 23), 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 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).
Using production line methods copied from the car industry, a total of up 1,340 mines a day was assembled at the two bases. The bases came into being in February 1918, the first mines arrived at Corpach on 5 April, and the first mines were assembled on 29 May. By the Armistice on 11 November the mine barrage was complete from Norway to within 10 miles of Orkney. 56,760 US mines had been laid in just over 5 months, and 16,300 British ones.
The Naval Base at Inverness was established in the premises of Glen Albyn distillery, strategically placed at the end of the Caledonian Canal and adjacent to Inverness Harbour. Existing buildings, including the manager's house, were used for accommodation and the base HQ, and large structures were built for the assembly and storage of mines. New railway tracks were laid to allow the rapid movement of material across the site.
The site seems to have been cleared fairly quickly after the war.
Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 8 August 2013. <1> <2>

GIS spatial data copied from data supplied from AKK from the RCAHMS World War One Survey Project. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 6548 4620 (209m by 863m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH64NE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.