During World War II Oban Bay was an important base for the assembly of Arctic Convoys and for the War in the Atlantic. There was a complex set of signaling stations and submarine detectors, but a raid in December 1940 by German bombers, which resulted in the loss of at least one ship, convinced the government that there was a need for comprehensive air cover.
As described in Donald Black’s book “A Tale or Two of Lismore”, part of the protection was provided by anti-aircraft batteries set up at Achnacroish, Baligrundle and Balimakillichan.
Most of the buildings were removed after the war but there are still visible remains at Achnacroish and Balimakillichan. There is an urgent need for this archaeology to be mapped before memories are lost.
The ships were also fitted with hydrogen-filled barrage balloons, whose bulk and cables were designed to interrupt the flight path of incoming aircraft and force them to attack from a greater height.
After the war, Donald Black salvaged a piece of one of these balloons, a fragment of rubberized textile, now permanently folded, and he donated it to the CELM collection in 2009.
Fragment of a World War II Barrage Balloon. LISDD:2009.153. 50cms across