Dechmont Firing Range

Who remembers the Dechmont Firing Range? This great picture was taken by Edward Boyle from his Cameronian days. Shown recently on Halfway memories page, Dechmont is close enough for many Blantyre people to remember the firing range. Whether it was avoiding it, or listening to it, lots of people were aware its there due to the fencing and signage, but perhaps not many have seen what it looked like.

Several years ago, Secret Wiki Scotland wrote, ” The Dechmont Range lies south east of Cambuslang, to the south east of Glasgow.

The range dates back to the turn of the century with Dechmont Rifle Range House, built onto the five room range pavilion. At either end were the Officers’ Mess and the Other Ranks’ Mess. Three central rooms were occupied by range messengers who carried information to each of the three rifle ranges then in use: Dechmont, Flemington and Gilbertfield. Records indicate 17 huts visible in RAF aerial photographs taken in 1941.

The site covers some 150 acres (60 ha), and is generally known as Dechmont rifle ranges. There are two firing ranges, together with a small dry training area. The facility is used by the Territorial Army (TA), cadets from local units, the police, and was formerly used by Glasgow gun clubs, until a major shooting incident occurred in Dunblane (March 13, 1996), resulting in the imposition of a UK handgun ban, and other changes to UK gun law. Clubs continue to use the facilities, now for field target shooting using air rifles.

Given its urban location, a question was raised in the House of Commons when Mr Ingram asked then (1992) Secretary of State for Defence Mr Archie Hamilton for details of the number of incidents involving stray bullets in the past ten years. The reply was only one proven case in 1986. A board of inquiry found that the incident, involving two stray rounds, was caused by a soldier failing to follow the correct drills, and compensation was paid to those who had property damaged as a result.

A number of interesting features remain, and can be found easily. These includes a number of small buildings from the original site, together with the pulley system once used to raise and lower the targets, now disused and neglected.

Access to the area is unrestricted unless the ranges are in use, in which case warning flags will be flown around the site and on top of Dechmont Hill, from the flagpole adjacent to the trig point.

The range house remains in place, still occupied by the Range Warden. As of 2010, we have been informed by the occupant that the range is in use, and that there are proposals to build a new range on the site, pending the availability of suitable funding.”

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