Tag Archives: weapons


WWII sea mine discovered under gravel on the Sandaig shore in August 2016. Visible are the locations of the detonation horns and the hole where a time-sensitive self-destruct mechanism was installed. Hundreds of pebbles and shells are fused onto its surface. Tens of thousands of similar mines were laid around the Hebrides and the North Sea during the first and second world wars.


Black & white photograph of RAF Serviceman Cliff Barrett inspecting a sea-mine that has washed ashore on a beach in Lewis during WWII. A vast array of sea-mines was installed across the northwestern approaches to Britain in WWII to deter German U-boats. Occasionally, one would break free from its anchor and be washed ashore. Several arrived on the beaches of Tiree, and are still being found to this day.


Medieval bronze scabbard tip from a collection of around 200 bronze objects found by amateur archaeologist George Holleyman at Balevullin in 1941-43, when he served at RAF Tiree during WWII. Identified by Dr Colleen Batey, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Glasgow University and David Caldwell, retired Keeper of Medieval Department at the National Museum of Scotland during a visit to An Iodhlann on 29th April 2016.


WWII mine installed at An Iodhlann

mine at an iodhlannA sea mine recently discovered under gravel on the Sandaig shore, is now on display outside An Iodhlann. When a Bomb Disposal Team dug up the mine on the 3rd of August, it was found to be empty of explosive, safe and reasonably intact. We have positioned it so that its innards are visible, as well as the locations of detonation horns and the hole where a time-sensitive self-destruct mechanism was installed. Hundreds of pebbles and shells are fused onto its surface. Tens of thousands of similar mines were laid around the Hebrides and the North Sea during the first and second world wars.


Anti-aircraft shell, 1955

Brass 4mm Mark 4 Bofors anti-aircraft shell manufactured by RLB (Royal Laboratory, Birtley) in 1955, and found in the refuse dump at Sandaig. Possibly originated from military presence on Tiree during the Cold War.


Rifle bayonet from the late 1800s

British pattern Martini-Henry socket bayonet and ply-wood & brass scabbard found hidden in the thatched roof of `Cnoc Bhiosta`, Kilmoluaig, by Ian & Sue Atkins during re-thatching around 2005. For use with the .450″ calibre Martini-Henry single-shot rifle made famous during the Zulu Wars. Manufactured in 1876 and used into the early 1900s. The bayonet has a triangular blade which was banned by the Geneva Convention after WWI because of the irreparable injury that it inflicted. It is not known how the bayonet came to be hidden in the thatch, although the brother of Calum Iain `Bhan` MacKinnon (who once lived in the house) was in the Canadian army in the early 1900s, and may have brought the bayonet to Tiree during a holiday with Calum. Texts identifying the bayonet are stored in filing cabinet 9, drawer 3.