Report - - Bandeath Munitions Depot - Stirling - October 2015 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Bandeath Munitions Depot - Stirling - October 2015

The Lone Ranger

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Bandeath Munitions Depot - Stirling



The site of the former Bandeath Munitions Depot lies within a meander of the River Forth, north of Throsk, three miles east of Stirling. The facility began as an Admiralty Depot during World War I, with a nearby PoW camp, after which it remained in use and became a Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) during World War II. Historically, Bandeath was once an estate of the Abercromby family. The original layout of the site and its railway (on which the munitions were delivered) are not clear, as, for security reasons, the Ordnance Survey maintained the polite fiction until well into the 1950s.

The depot was supplied via the main railway line, which connected to the site's own internal railway, which would distribute the munitions to the 36 warehouses arranged in regularly spaced rows across the site. The stores were enclosed within protective earth blast walls, intended to direct the effects of an accidental explosion upwards, and away from the surrounding stores. From the warehouses, the railway allowed the munitions to be delivered to the rail mounted crane on the Admiralty pier, where they would be loaded on to puffers or Victualling Inshore Craft (VIC), which would carry them along the river and out to sea, where they supplied the British fleet.

The railway branch line ran to the site from the Larbert to Alloa line at Throsk, where it crossed the river to link with the lines running W to E towards the naval installations at Rosyth and Crombie. The railway bridge could open to allow these ships to pass up the river to Bandeath.

The Northern magazines are built from breeze blocks with what looks like whin aggregate, and then harled. On the front elevation, at the side of a concrete loading dock, is an identifying number, a phone symbol on some of them, and a patch of chemical-sensitive paint which reacted to the presence of poison gas – this was apparently standard on wartime military buildings. Each store had a capacity of 380,000 pounds of explosives, and blackboards at the side of the main doors indicated how much Cat X, Cat Y or Cat Z explosives were being stored. As you’d expect, all the electrical gear was mounted externally, in flameproof boxes, and a handful of indicator lights remain.

On the south side of the site are brick-built facilities like the guardhouse and training centre, plus various large corrugated-iron-clad warehouses. They were used for handling shells and depth charges and the like, and although I'm not sure how much filling was done at Bandeath, the ammunition was fused here. The theory with the crinkly tin buildings is that they’re frangible, and would blow out in a blast, rather than containing it within an earth blast embankment.

Having lain derelict for some years, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) sold the former depot site to Central Regional Council in 1978. It was lightly refurbished in the early 1980s, and became Bandeath Industrial Estate, with timber kit manufacturers in the southern part, and mainly empty stores in the northern half. After local government reorganisation in 1996, Stirling Council appears to have used it as a dumping ground for old school equipment.

More 36 of the original warehouse buildings survive on the site, together with their associated emergency water tanks, air-raid shelters and watch posts, although their blast walls appear to have been levelled at some time. The crane still remains on the former Admiralty pier, which is now privately owned, but the crane is an empty shell, and the pier is a ruin. Only a few sections of the internal railway remain, the majority have been lifted following closure of the main line in 1978. A pillbox can also be found in the southern part of the site. There may be more, but only this one is listed.

There are also some more unusual buildings at Bandeath. Of no use as defensive pillboxes, their thick walls, tiny observation window, highly angled roof, and undefended entrance indicate their function as protective retreats for observers or firewatchers in the event of an incident at the depot, possibly an explosion within the depot, or an air raid. Further indications of the use of these structures is indicated by the positioning of the window above head height, meaning an observer would only be in danger of being struck by flying debris if actually using the window, and not just sheltering in the building, and also by their orientation, said to be set at an angle to, rather than square on to the stores. This would mean that flying debris would strike at an angle, glancing off the wall, and would also be less likely to fly straight through the window.

My Visit

As usual I was looking for a suitable venue to break up my long drive from Englanshire to Aberdoom, a couple of photos of Bandeath have cropped up recently and after a bit of research the munitions depo looked as if it fitted the bill. Many derelict buildings, a small crane, not too far off my route and best of all lots of sheep!

On setting off things didn’t look too promising, it pissed down for the full 250 mile drive to reach Stirling. It didn’t get much better once there, heavy rain turned into heavy windblown drizzle; first thoughts were to turn around and just continue up to Aberdoom. However I decided just to pop my head into the first building, I could always come back the next time I drove up and I did need to stretch my legs.


This was on the Southern half of the site, where redevelopment work was meant to have been undertaken, not much evident, but the building were obviously used for storage.



All the buildings are essentially the same design, unfortunate the sheep have access to most, so given a wet day and the shear number of sheep it wasn't long until my shoes were covered in sheep shit.


More evidence of storage and sheep beds.


Although the buildings are more or less the same, each one has it's unique remains on the walls or stored within.


This is either just a lot of chairs being stored or a possible meeting hall for the local gay community, they can get 4 on a chair with this arrangement!


Not too sure what these are/were, but probably left by one of the companies based here in the 80/90's.


This was more easily identifiable, a classy toaster alas no power.


More storage, this stuff did look as if it came from a school.


This is one of the unusual structures dotted around outside, possibly a blast shelter, but appears no one can say for certain.


Just about every building still had one of these signs on the wall.


I only found this in one of the building I visited, but there are probably more.


At this point several thousand geese took to the sky as I approached the Northern half, it was an amazing spectacle and sound, alas they didn't manage a proper fly past for me.


This was the remains of a strange machine in one of the buildings.


And then it was onto the pier where all the munitions were loaded onto a small boat and sailed down to the waiting ships.


That's it really, a couple of hours here was no where near enough. About 50% of the main buildings visited, but didn't manage to go to the outlying buildings, pill box, tower or find the air raid shelters. I was wet, tiered, covered in sheep shit and still had a 2 hour drive.


Somewhere I'll no doubt call in again and have a better look around, well worth a visit if in the area and you like sheep.



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