MHG8373 - Coastal Battery - South Sutor


First and Second World War Cromarty defences at South Sutor consisting of three Coastal Batteries, a Navy Port War Signal station, a controlled Minefield and associated military camps and installations. See also MHG32426 for Radar Station.

Type and Period (1)

  • BATTERY (First World War to Second World War - 1914 AD to 1945 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Military coastal battery; bunkers
20th century; WW1 & 2
Seen fair condition
Assessed dring the Inner Moray Firth Coastal Survey by CFA/MORA in 1998. <1>

A large group of brick and concrete buildings which make up the World War One and Two coast batteries at South Sutor. In addition, there are accommodation camps, a Chain Home Low Radar Station (see MHG32426), Submarine Mine Field Control Station, Royal Observor Corps post (see MHG36392), Fire Command Post, the now demolished Port War Signal station and Mine Watching Post.
The main WW I and WW II elements of the site are still discernable and many of the structures remain substantially intact.
Manning of 242 battery was undertaken by 501 Regiment (Public Record Office ref: WO 192/247; WO 199/2627).
The coast battery is visible on RAF vertical air photographs (106G/UK/751, 6035-6037, flown 31 August 1945) and the images show the full extant of the WW II installations including the Chain Home Low radar station. The air photographs also show that the battery had been provided with anti-aircraft cover in the form of Unrotating Projectile (UP) mounts and light anti-aircraft gun positions.
Visited by RCAHMS, (DE, GS, SW) August 2000

A survey of Scotland's 20th century defences was commision by Historic Scotland and undertaken by J A Guy. At South Sutor a 4 inch Coast Battery, Radar Chain Home Low (See MHG32426), ROC Post (See MHG36392), 9.2/6 inch Coast Battery, Fire Command Post, Port War Signal Station, Army Camp, Extended Defence Officer's Post and Mine Watching post were recorded. <2>
See Associated Documents and associated child records for extensive details.
A M Fox, Highland Council, 10.10.01.

Fort South Sutor, South Sutor Cromarty - report compiled by M Ross, 2004. See Assoc. Docs. File.

The anti-invasion defences of Cromarty, including at South Sutor were noted in HS and RCAHMS World War One Audit Project. <3>

Plans were drawn up in the spring of 1913 for the construction of coast defences on the South Sutor to protect the fleet anchorage in the Cromarty Firth. The main armament on the South Sutor was a single 9.2-inch gun (MHG35185), the calibre of coast gun intended to tackle the largest size of enemy warship that might attack. There was also a battery of two 4-inch Quick Firing guns (MHG36173), intended to tackle smaller, faster-moving enemy boats, such as destroyers or fast motor boats.
The gun emplacements on the South Sutor were constructed in 1913. In a unique case the batteries at the South and North Sutors were built not by the army, but by the Admiralty and manned by the Royal Marines. As a result the batteries have a very different design to those at other coast batteries in the UK. There are two First World War batteries on the South Sutor and two on the North Sutor numbered 1-4 on the construction plans (The National Archive WO 78/5192). The main site on the South Sutor (site no.4) comprised a single 9.2-inch gun. The second battery (site No. 3) was for two 4-inch quick firing (QF) guns. Each battery had its own accommodation, power houses, searchlights and cook house. Access to site No. 3 was particularly difficult as it lies at the bottom of an extremely steep hill.
In 1939 the main South Sutor battery (site No. 4) was completely rebuilt with new buildings, a new access road and two 6-inch guns replacing the earlier single 9.2-inch gun. One gun (No. 2 gun) made use of the First World War magazine, but a new gun house was built to the north of the original 9.2-inch emplacement. A new gun emplacement was built to the south of the First World War emplacement, and comprised a gun house and new magazine. The magazine is identical to the 6-inch emplacement at Ness Battery (see HES Canmore record HY20NW 27). The buildings within the battery were mostly new and a large Battery Observation Post (BOP) built. The battery, according to the Fort Record Book (The National Archives WO 192/248) was constructed during 1939 and the guns were operational on the 11th November 1939 and the searchlights completed by end of December 1939.
The 4-inch QF battery (site no. 3) was not re-used in the Second World War, although a brick building, possibly of Second World War date may suggest some activity here, however it was out of use and unroofed on a 1945 vertical air photographs (106G/UK/751, 6035-7, flown 31 August 1945).
A Royal Navy Port War Signal Station, Mine Watching Service and associated Naval camp site was established above the Second World War Battery.
The Battery was protected on the landward side in both the First and Second World Wars. In the First World War a system of trenches and barbed wire stretched across the headland from Marquis's Cave to the coast road below Newton of Cromarty Farm. In the Second World War 1945 vertical air photographs (106G/UK/751, 6035-7, flown 31 August 1945) show a system of barbed wire fences and firing positions enclosing the radar station and the battery.
After the war the battery was placed in care and maintenance and closed in 1956. It was used as a TA centre after that for a period of time.
See associated child records for details of individual installations.
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 23 July 2013. <4>

GIS spatial data copied from data supplied by AKK from the RCAHMS World War One Survey project. <5>

Parts of the site were scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland with effect from 29/04/2019. The monument comprises the remains of four coastal artillery batteries with associated accommodation camps and ancillary structures. Construction began in 1913 and the site was used in both the First and Second World War. It is visible as an extensive series of concrete and timber structures, hut bases and earthworks. The battery is located on the South Sutor headland, lying between 10m and 115m above sea level overlooking the Cromarty Firth. The site comprises one First World War 9.2 inch gun emplacement, two First World War 4-inch QF (quick-firing) gun emplacements and two Second World War 6-inch gun emplacements. Other structures supporting the emplacements include two battery observation posts, four magazines, one engine house, two searchlight emplacements, one mine-watching observation post, a large water tank and at least twelve other accommodation, storage and maintenance buildings in varying degrees of survival, with the traceable foundations of further buildings around the site. Together with the batteries at North Sutor, it forms part of the defences of the Cromarty Firth in both world wars. The site was abandoned in the inter-war period and finally closed in 1956. <6>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 8100 6707 (432m by 470m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH86NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish CROMARTY

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