A short summary of the Appin ROC Post
During the Second World War an ROC Post was built on the top of Knapp hill. It had been suggested by the Ministry of Defence on behalf of the RAF, for the purpose of providing a system for detecting, tracking and reporting aircraft
The Post was built by local men, even school boys helped to carry materials up the hill. It was built of stones and turf, arranged in a circle and lined in timber. It was heated by a paraffin stove and equipped with a telephone, binoculars, radio and many cards with pictures of aircraft. The radio call sign was “Charlie Four”.
It was operated 24 hours daily in 8 hour shifts by local men, over and above their normal work. Anyone over the age of sixteen and able to climb the hill were eligible, the pay was £1/6.
One of the identifications made was on the 13th March 1941, when they followed the flight path of around 300 German Luftwaffe down the Caledonian Canal, heading for Clydebank.
On the 6th of May 1941, Donald Carmichael was returning home to Tigh Buidhe (today’s Strath of Appin House), after finishing his shift at the ROC. While walking up the brae to the house, he saw the front elevation light up and flicker but heard no sound. Later that evening, he realized that what he had witnessed was the light-shed from the Greenock Blitz.
Although, at times, it may have been very tedious work, Bobby MacNiven of Knapp Cottage trained his collie dog to sit by the railway line. As the train past, a guard would know to throw a newspaper and the collie would delivery it up to the men on duty at the observation post.
One evening, a bright light was observed from the ROC post coming from behind a hill. This information was radioed to control. The men on the shift were told to be vigilant, and radio back with updates.
A short while later a second message was sent, informing that the bright light was indeed the moon!
The ROC Post was continuously manned until 12th May 1945.
Wartime ROC members:
Ronald Black Tynribbie
Duncan Cameron Portnacroish
Donald Carmichael Tighbhuidhe
Ewen Ferguson Appin House
Douglas Gray Appin Hotel
Elliott Gray Dallens
William Mowat Inverfolla
Donald MacDonald Appin Railway Cottages
Sandy MacDonald Appin Railway Cottages
Campbell MacGilp Portnacroish
Robert MacLellan Port Appin
Robert MacNiven Knapp