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greengalloway

As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Monday, September 19, 2016

WW2 mystery in Castle Douglas UPDATED

Mystery Object


UPDATE
After posting this I spoke to my brother Ian this morning and he said he had asked our father about the mystery object in Lochside Park a few years ago.

Dad told Ian that his father, Jim Livingston, had practiced using it when he was in the Castle Douglas Home Guard in WW2. There was a trench round about it and it was designed to be fired at German tanks/ troops entering town on the Gelston/ Auchencairn road on the far side of the loch.

Ian said dad's description perfectly matched a photo of Home Guard soldiers using a spigot mortar/ Blacker Bombard. Since my father was later in the RAF if it had been an anti-aircraft gun emplacement that is how he would have described it.

Original post...
Most of the local history I have researched has been old history, but this is about events still- just- within living memory.

On 25 September 2016 there will be a showing of six archive films in the town. The first two are about World War 2. I have been asked to join a discussion about the films.
http://madeonourland.com/castledouglas-25-september/


I don’t know much about Castle Douglas in WW2 and when I tried researching online I found very little- apart from a chapter in a book about the 92nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment which was stationed in the town March 1943- April 1944. See Chapter Five of this
http://www.trueloyals.com/regimental-history-1/

This was very helpful since it confirmed that troops were billeted in Nissen huts in Lochside Park during the war. This made me wonder about a mystery object in the park.



After much searching online I found photographs of similar objects in this article- spigot mortar/ Blacker Bombard anti-tank weapons.
http://www.pillbox-study-group.org.uk/other-wwii-defensive-structures/spigot-mortar/

Home Guard using spigot mortar

I found the Pillbox Study Group on Facebook, posted one of my photos of the mystery object on their page and got a reply saying it was the base of a spigot mortar/ Blacker Bombard.

I looked to see if it was listed anywhere as a WW2 archaeology feature but could not. However  Dumfries and Galloway Council archaeologist Andrew Nicholson was giving at talk in the town on Sunday 18th September. I  asked him about the spigot mortar base and he said it was actually the base for an anti-aircraft gun…

The 92nd regiment were equipped with mobile 40mm Bofors guns so the mystery object so the mystery object was not used by them. I have found a photograph of a small, fixed anti-aircraft gun base. But it is square and has a circle of bolt holes for firmly fixing it down.

Possible 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun base

Photo found here
http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/rubha-nan-sasan-loch-ewe-emergency-coastal-defence-battery.t26047

For the present then, the object remains a mystery…


























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