Holy Loch


The Holy Loch is the little sea loch just to the north of Dunoon – but with a big history.

The Holy Loch was used during the Second World War as a Royal Navy submarine base. The Navy had a depot ship in the bay, HMS Forth, and used the loch as a submarine trial playground. They also used to hide ships in the loch, which is geographically not far from Glasgow, and yet out of sight and the normal course of navigation up the Clyde which the German bombers had become too familiar with, as they headed up to drop their bombs on Clydebank and the British shipping effort. An anti-submarine boom was also installed near the Holy Loch as a defence against German U-Boats.

Two submarines – HMS Vandal and HMS Untamed – sunk in accidents in or near to the Holy Loch.

The US Navy has also had its share of the fill in naval activity in the Holy Loch. The US Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile Refit Site One was located at the Holy Loch between 1961 and 1992. Their Submarine Squadron in the US Atlantic Fleet was also based here.


The Holy Loch at sunset.

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