Local Defences

Local Defences

With access to the Tay in the north and the Forth in the south, the defences of Fife were vital to the defences of Britain. In 1914 there was real fear of land-based assault on the docks at Rosyth or to take the Forth Bridge from the Fife side, so Kinghorn was heavily fortified. Artillery batteries were established on the northeast Fife coast at Tayport to protect the Tay. Coastal towns were darkened to guard against attack. The Highland Cyclist Battalions patrolled the coast roads and guarded bridges and railways.

The sea was mined and fishing was severely restricted which impacted heavily on the coastal communities. Eventually safe routes through the minefields were established but these were only shared with merchant captains born in the United Kingdom of British fathers.

Fife’s peculiar vulnerability was recognised. Aliens were required to register with the Police (this included Scottish women who had married foreigners) and eventually most had to leave Fife altogether. Fear of spies was very strong. There were attacks on people thought to be in sympathy with the enemy and letters denouncing agents provocateur were sent to the Chief Constable.

The remains of a WW1 gun battery in Fife.