The Kyles was mined by German aircraft in the first years of the war. To keep a lookout for the enemy a naval station was established where the Craigs now stands and a lookout post established at the Boathouse. The Kyles were mined again, this time by the navy, to deter spies or raiding troops landing there.
About the same time a mock village was built on the northern tip of Bute. It was lit up at night to act as a decoy for the German bombers who were at that time raiding Clyde towns, but none arrived.
Before the D-Day landings Argyll became a training area for the troops about to take part in the landings. Some local people have memories of waking to find tanks lined along the Colintraive road.
Groups of soldiers would act as defenders and others as the invaders – then they would change over and start the fight again. Landings were from landing craft and Churchill tanks disembarked regularly at Braingortan on Loch Striven. Accidents inevitably happened and, at least once, a lorry drove off the landing craft into deep water, unrecoverable until low tide.
Naval warships, firing from off Arran, used Strone Point for target practice and the house at Inverneil and the farm at Glaic were evacuated. Inverneil was returned intact, but Glaic was damaged and not tenanted again. After the war a great deal of unexploded ordinance was regularly uncovered during ploughing. There are probably still many shell fragments buried deep into the heather hillside.
Loch Striven was used as a training area for midget submarines called X-Craft. These were about 15 metres long and had a crew of three or four. They carried two explosive charges strapped to the side of the hull, designed to be dropped below the target and then exploded. On the 11th September 1943 six X-Craft left Loch Striven, towed by ‘mother’ submarines. Their mission was to attack the German battleship Tirpitz, then at anchor in a Norwegian fiord. The attack was successful and the Tirpitz was badly damaged, even though only two of the X-Craft reached their target. The officers who were in command of each these submarines were given Victoria Crosses.
At the end of the war the mines were detonated by M.O.D. The school children were taken out of the classroom in case the school was damaged! Some still remember the enormous explosions, the sheets of water rising up in the air, the debris raining down, including dead fish.