There is a rich history of a military presence in and around south Scotland and north Cumbria particularly around the Solway coast. The quiet, rural surroundings coupled with access from ports such as Stranraer, Cairnryan and Silloth made the Solway coast a perfect location for munitions factories in both world wars, RAF airfields, flying boat bases and bombing target bases.
To find out more about the military heritage around the Solway visit the Solway Military Trail or click on the links below:
Loch Ryan WW2 Leaflet
Much of the physical evidence of WW2 history around Loch Ryan has been dismantled and dispersed. However there are a few publicly accessible sites that still show structures from that period such as the lookout post and flying boat slip ways at the Wig. The Loch Ryan WW2 leaflet below provides more information of sites to visit.
Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum
Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum is a great place for people of all ages to learn about history and aviation. It occupies the airfield of RAF Dumfries which became operational during the Second World War when the Air Ministry needed to establish Aircraft Storage Units in safer areas of the country. The museum now houses a large collection of aircraft, engines and a very rare surviving example of a WW2 RAF control tower which is home to the majority of the museum’s collection of smaller artefacts and memorabilia. Items on display range from aero engines and aircraft armaments to letters and other personal items.
The Devil’s Porridge Museum
The Devil’s Porridge Museum was established 20 years ago and now occupies modern purpose-built premises in Eastriggs. The museum tells the amazing story of how Gretna and Eastriggs were built in WW1 to house many of the 30,000 women and men who built HM Factory Gretna and produced more cordite propellant than all the other UK factories put together. Displays record the experiences of the navvies who worked hard and drank even harder, leading to the government nationalising all the local pubs in 1916. The efforts of the 12,000 women who toiled in hazardous conditions for the war effort are also commemorated.
The volunteer-led museum attracted 18,000 visitors in 2015 and achieved Visit Scotland 5 star status in 2016. The new Military Coast exhibition, exploring the story of our WW2 effort on the Solway Border and its prominent role in the Nuclear Age has now opened.
Solway Aviation Museum
Solway Aviation Museum is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artefacts and displays reflecting Britain’s position as a world leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age. The museum’s primary objective is the preservation of our Aviation heritage, its display and interpretation.
Carlisle’s Museum of Military Life
Cumbria‘s Museum of Military Life tells the 300-year story of Cumbria’s County Infantry Regiment and its soldiers past and present. The museum has a huge variety of items including uniforms, medals, weapons and silver as well as interactive displays and dioramas. This new state of the art exhibition features a First World War trench environment, immersive audio/visual displays and an interactive trail for young people.