Allan Williams Turrets
The two-man gun emplacements are still visible in three locations around the property:
- One at the edge of the Putting Green next to the Clubhouse
- One next to the shelter beside the 4th tee on Balcomie Links
- One on the coastal path at the 15th hole on Balcomie Links
These metal turrets (or pillboxes) could originally be rotated through a full 360 degrees and were usually set above a steel and brick lined pit.
They were designed for a machine gun to be fired either through the front loophole which was further protected by shutters or through the circular opening in the roof in a light aircraft role.
Apparently these Pillboxes were suitable for Vickers, Bren, Hotchkiss or Lewis machine guns in either a ground defence or anti-aircraft role or for a Boys anti-tank rifle or rifle grenade for ground defence.
The turret could be occupied by a garrison of two men or possibly 3 men, for whom there were folding seats inside. One man could rotate the cupola, which was on roller bearings and required a force of 15lbs to move it.
The Polish Reserve Forces Command occupied the Balcomie Clubhouse during the war so presumably part of their duties was to man the turrets.
Records indicate that around 200 were made and installed during the Second World War but salvaging of metal after the war has resulted in only 33 remaining 3 of which are at Crail. They remain protected by Historic Environmental Scotland although there has not been much conservation work carried out to them in recent years. Luckily they are outwith the playing areas on all holes and the guns have been removed!
The image below is of the turret at the edge of the Putting Green next to the Clubhouse just over the cliff edge. Please be careful when you go for a look.