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> March 13th, 1941 In Glasgow., Bombs on Govan
dugald_old
post 2nd Dec 2005, 12:07pm
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I chose to write the following story in the 3rd person since I wanted to include the Glasgow dialect in an effort to get a more realistic 'verbal ambiance' of the setting. The author's Christian names "John" and "Dugald' are used.

Bombs on Govan.

John jumped up on a chair by the large window and, pausing to look at the glow of the furnace fires clearly visible through the open doors of the giant Harland & Wolff's foundry, pulled the blackout curtains tightly shut. In the glow of the coal fire in the living-room, the lad in short trousers jumped from the chair and nipped smartly over to switch on the light and wireless with what appeared to be one flick of his wrist. With the same dexterity the blackout curtains in the kitchen were drawn, the light lit, the kettle filled, the gas lit and set for a quick boil. The boy was participating in his usual weekday evening race to organize himself with a slice of bread covered with Tate & Lyle syrup, a cup of tea, and a liberal helping of whatever biscuits he could scrounge from the variety of tins which his stepmother hid throughout the house, before the BBC news brought forth the sad but exciting, happenings of a Europe torn apart by war.

John lived in a two-bedroom flat with his father, stepmother, and older sister, on the top landing of a three-story tenement building of recent vintage, located on the fringe of Govan's many war-busy shipyards. John could expect exclusive use of the reasonably comfortable house for another hour or so, and intended to make full use of this time by reading his recently acquired copy of Sir John Hammerton's War Illustrated.

It was Wednesday night, March 13th , 1941, dry with a cool temperature, and a sky marred only by a slight scattering of light cloud. The normality of the noise of industrial Govan lent an air of quietness to the ears of someone like John, long resident in this shipbuilding region on the south bank of the River Clyde.

Comfortably seated on the carpeted floor in front of the glowing fire and eating his supper with a haste even exceeding that with which it had been prepared, the boy scanned the pictures in his magazine, while devoting most of his attention to the BBC 9-o'clock news.

"Ah ha, whit's this, whit's the matter", muttered John to himself as the wireless went dead. "Looks like there must be a 'standby' on. Ah'll jist away and have a wee peep 'n see if the caurs' lights are oot.".

The lad switched off the light and peered out of the window to await the arrival of a tramcar at the nearby corner. A 'stand-by' was simply an alert which indicated that an air-raid was possible within a short time, and during this period public transportation continued to operate, but without the usual wartime lighting. Sure enough, a tramcar rounded the bend and confirmed the lad's knowledgeable suspicions.

"Ach well, we've hud these before and nothin's happened, but ah hope we're in for a good yin the night 'n ah won't have tae go tae school in the morning.", thought John as he returned to the fireplace and continued trying to read, finish his supper, and listen to the wireless which had come on again. But the possibility of an air-raid had detracted the boy somewhat from concentration on his variety of endeavours and he sat looking into the fire, day dreaming. "We never get a real raid here in Glesga. Why kin we no hiv some nights like London or Coventry ; aw' we ever got was the auld 'Sussex' wi' a bomb doon its funnel 'n they widnae even let us in tae see it!".

The wail of the air-raid sirens brought the daydreaming to an end. Not abruptly since it had been half expected in the boy's mind, and he returned to his reading with music now having replaced the news broadcast, more than just a little convinced that it was just another of Glasgow's many false alarms.

It may have been that John was deep in concentration or it may have been the suddenness and frightening intensity with which the still, sooty, night air of Govan was rent asunder ; but no matter what, at about half-past nine the boy was abruptly and most assuredly forced into a reappraisal of the night's potential for a real raid. A series of deep, hollow-sounding tremendously loud ear-shattering explosions reverberated across the Glasgow sky and brought the boy in a single dash to the blacked-out window. With the thumping of his heart seeming as loud as the explosions he peered out between the two curtains and viewed a jumping darkness interspersed with bright yellowish-orange-centred billowing puffs of white, immediately identifying the bursting brilliance of exploding antiaircraft shells.

Momentarily shaken, more by his vigorous reaction than the explosions, he dashed for his bedroom and grabbed the steel helmet he'd obtained from the cruiser "Sussex". Donning the helmet at the run and switching off all the lights, he was out of the house and on his way down the stairs umpteen at a time. But with each leap came the realization that perhaps this was the night he'd been longing for, and his initial concern gave way to a tingling excitement at the expectation of what was to come..

The tingling excitement was one thing, but the tinkling glass was another, and it was the latter with which the leaping lad was more immediately concerned when he ran past the lower stair-head landing window.

"Oh my shattered nerves!", he exclaimed as he slid among a shower of broken window pane while making his turn to descend the last flight of stairs leading to the close below. " A bomb must have fallen on Harland's, ah must have a look at this."

Picking up his helmet which had fallen on the hard concrete landing with a rattling metallic din, he moved very gingerly over to the gaping window and peered out ; but alas, nothing around Harland's works suggested a bomb had fallen, and the continuing intensity of the thundering of explosions convinced him that the shattered glass had resulted simply from the blast effects of antiaircraft shells bursting overhead. Three more leaps brought Dugald to the lower landing, the actual close of the tenement.

It was no mysterious instinct which had driven the young boy to evacuate his house so hurriedly and seek the shelter of the close: air-raid precautions was a subject very difficult to avoid in view of the warning posters plastered all over the city and the instructions given at school. The close, he had been informed, was the safest part of the building. Of course there were proper air-raid shelters near at hand in the back court, but the use to which Dugald and his pals had put them since they were constructed at the beginning of the war had nothing whatever to do with air-raid precautions. To enter the dark, damp, smelly, structures of red brick and red-leaded iron girders presented as much of a challenge as facing the German bombers. Besides, the warm dry comfort of the hospitable Mrs. B's. house was to be found at the foot of the stairs from which Dugald now leaped with an expertise born of long practice.

Mrs B's door was already open when John reached the close, and a small group of people were standing at the close mouth all talking at the same time. Inside the lobby of the house all of the children from the houses upstairs, including John's older sister, were sitting on the floor laughing and joking excitedly as if they were at a birthday party. Mrs. B. and her daughter were busy working in the kitchen preparing tea and buns. Young John happily joined the rest of the children , but was somewhat puzzled at the sight of all that was going on : here were children of different ages and interests who had their own circle of friends quite remote from those of their next-door neighbour, all joined in a common, and what appeared to be, a jovial interest.

"Where've ye been, John?", asked Dugald's sister. "And where's ma daddy?", she continued with just a touch of concern in her voice.

"Ah've been up in the hoose readin' an when the siren was oan ah could'nae be bothered comin' doon, but when ah heard the guns ah thought ah better get oot. Ah don't know where ma daddy is, but he's no in the hoose.", replied John, anxious to get into the chatter concerning the air-raid.

The guns continued to bark and the distinctive steady pulsating drone of the German bombers flying overhead could be heard quite clearly. John nudged up to a couple of his pals, Wullie and Bobby, and whispered: "Let's get oot tae the close mooth and see what it's like."

The three of them made their way to the close and pushed their way to the front of a group of two or three adults. They now had a perfect view of the sky around them and stood enthralled by the flashing and bursting of shells and various other pyrotechnics in the now dark sky. The metallic sounds of falling shrapnel were clearly audible between the bangs and booms of the explosions in the night air. The tenement building and factories of Govan appeared dark and silent, and then, momentarily, would be sinisterly silhouetted against a lightening brilliance of illumination from shell fire or bomb explosions.

The young lad viewed his surroundings and muttered aloud: " The streets, I've never seen them so white in colour...so much wider...clean, yes they seem to be so clean...is this because there are no shadows from lights?...oh what a load of shrapnel and bullets out there just waiting to be picked up!". No one answered ; the sound of running feet echoing through the intermittently quiet streets and the sight of a man running, held everyone's attention.

"It's Mr A.!", someone yelled, as the huffing and puffing tenant of the other house in the close dashed over the last hundred yards or so and stumbled into the close as if he had a pack of hungry wolves on his heels. Everyone piled out of Mrs. B's. house and into the close to find the cause of the commotion created by Mr. A's apparent timely arrival.

"Oh...ah tell ye...it's bliddy awful! These puir bliddy gunners on the boats at the docks are hauf deed, drooned in there ain bliddy sweat frae firin' the guns...wi'thoot a break...for the past two hours." , stammered the middle-aged Glasgow shipyard worker as he struggled to find breath with which to answer the multitude of anxious questions. "Thur's nae caurs or buses runnin', an' ah heard the 'Co' buildings on Morrison St. were blown tae smithereens", he continued, sipping a cup of Mrs B's tea.

Young John stood in open-mouthed silence, at once shocked by the language and anger with which the normally sedate and reserved Mr A. told his story, and enthralled by the realization that Glasgow, finally, could boast a real blitz.

Regaining his composure, the shipyard worker continued, "Did ye hear aboot Blackburn St., a terrible thing happened therr. A crowd o' people staunen in a close mooth saw a parachute comin' doon an' they thought it was a German airman. Some young fellas had run oot tae get him when the German chute hit the building and blew it, along wi' aw' the young fellas, to blazes.". And, pausing momentarily to let his eager audience grasp the horror of the story, " Aye, it wis a bliddy great land mine!".

As the night wore on the blitz continued with ferocity, but a weariness crept over the younger tenement dwellers, and they were firmly shoo'd into the more palatial comfort of Mrs B's living- room and told to sleep in front of the fire. Here, John thought a lot about the young sailor in the picture on Mrs. B's mantle-piece. This was Mrs.B's son, Leading Signaller Johnny B, RN, the sailor whose semaphore signal from atop the Empire Exhibition Tower in 1938 had set in motion the great parade that would bring King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, to open the gates of the Second City's magnificent exhibition.Young rosy-cheeked Johnny B., 43 Crossloan Rd., Govan, went down with all his shipmates aboard H.M.S.Exmouth, torpedoed in the Cromarty Firth, on Jan 21st, 1940.

John lay on the floor, his mind racing to savour all that had happened: The sirens...the booming of the guns...the shattering of the glass...the thud of the German bombs...Morrison St... Blackburn St...the parachute that killed all these people. His mind was a swirling hodgepodge of events which, although dreadful in reality, were to him a manifestation of a year and a half of war: if there really is a war he should feel it, see it, be a real part of it and suffer tribulations greater than ration-book queues and blackouts. The flickering lights dancing on the ceiling in harmony with the flames of a red-glowing fire, seduced John's stubborn resistance, and he succumbed to sleep. John probably slept for about four hours, but when he awoke to the sound of voices he felt as if he had, luckily, only dozed off for a few minutes

"Something's different", thought John, stirring and sitting up. "What happened to the air-raid?", he asked of no one in particular, "Is it all over; did the 'all-clear' go?"

"Wheesht, or you'll waken the whole hoose" came a voice from the lobby which John recognized as that of his father. "No, it's no' all over, it's only a lull we think; they've probably run oot o' bombs 'n thu'v gone back for more", continued the boy's father.

John was on his feet and asked his father," Where've ye been? Ah thought you wid've been hame long before noo."

"Oh, we were up at the Haufwey 'n we couldnae get a caur hame, 'n these air-raid wardens kept chasing us intae shelters while we wur tryin' tae walk hame." answered his father.

"Ye, forgot tae turn off the gas in the kitchen before ye left the hoos John, 'n the tea was aw' stewed when we got hame", chimed in Dugald's step mother.

"What time were ye hame at?" asked John, feeling a slight touch of guilt, not because of the tea, but because of his stupidity at leaving the gas turned on during the raid.

"Oh, a couple of hours ago. It wis these poliss, they widnae let us oot the shelters", she replied, as she furtively passed the boy a couple of caramels.

John speedily disposed of the caramels, secretly feeling a great deal more secure now that his father was at home, and already a plan was formulating in the boy's mind to see what 'blitz-booty' in the form of souvenirs was available out on the streets.

" Let's go 'n git some rolls at Jack's Bakery", suggested someone in the bunch of sleepy-eye children sitting up around the still glowing fire, "There's a lull in the raid the noo, so we're a' right". The children eagerly approached the group of adults standing in the lobby and put forth their idea.

"Ach yur daft! D'ye no know there's a raid on, there's been nae all-clear...it could start again any time noo.", came a reply to their suggestion.

"Ach, let them go, they'll be aw' right. Bill'll go wi' them, 'n it'll be nice tae get some nice hot rolls for a cup o' tea.", answered someone else.

Most of the parents agreed and the bunch of enthusiastic wide-eyed children donned their jackets and set off on their journey of half a mile down the street to the bakery, safe presumably in the company of 15-year-old Bill. The streets were no longer quiet. Footsteps of people scurrying hither and thither echoed from building to building as stranded workers and others took advantage of the lull in the bombing to make their way home.

"I've seen the streets like this before; noo whits'it remind me of?" pondered John, relaxing in his search for shrapnel just long enough to survey the strange scene around him. "Ah-ha, now ah know whit it is--it's jist like the streets were last Hogmanay right efter the bells; there were a lot of first-footers wi' thur bottles tucked under their arm dashing along the streets.", thought John, with a feeling of triumph at having identified the scene surrounding him.

"Ah've found a bit!", cried john excitedly, " 'n it's still hot; here feel it.", he continued, passing a little round rough-edged piece of antiaircraft shell among his equally excited souvenir seekers. But John's feeling of elation abated somewhat with the realization that everything he had found was readily identified as AA material: where was the bomb shrapnel; where were the incendiary tail-fins; and where were the burning bombed houses and factories? Govan it seemed, his Govan, had not been bombed at all.

The rolls were collected and the small group of children ran all the way home. They ran not only to make sure the rolls were still hot when they got home, but for a much more pressing reason: the firing of the AA guns had started again with a fierceness rendered all the more frightening since they were now running out on the street under the wide open heavens ...a hunk of speeding red-hot ragged steel could kill instantly.

Hot rolls and hot tea in front of Mrs.B's fire at 3 o'clock in the morning lent a festive spirit to the small party of children again, and not even the loud steady drone of more German bombers could dampen their spirits. The rattling of the windows and thundering of shells and bombs might well, understandably, have worried the adults in the house, but for the children it still meant no school in the morning and the possibility of a bombed-out Govan, London style. It did not occur to the young people that at any moment Mrs. B's living room could be a terrible , indiscriminate, exploding inferno of destruction--London style.

The barummp, barumpp, barummp, of the blitz continued with brutality that brought fear and foreboding to the hearts of the more mature blitz-companions, in the comfortable, but frighteningly flimsy, house in the close of a three-storey Glasgow tenement at 3 o'clock in the morning. And, infectiously, the fear that was the mothers' and fathers' crept into the hearts of the children. Thoughts of souvenirs, school holidays, and pride in having a London-style blitz dwindled with each expression of alarm overheard from the adjoining lobby, as the festive spirit of the children gave way to the realism of what really was happening. But, in their peer company, trembling upper lips were not to be seen.

After the rolls and tea another sound filled the fire-lit living room as the young ones joined in a rousing singsong of all the songs made favourite by almost two years of war. It was a spontaneous outburst of spirited singing, perhaps even a defiant singing, with all of the children, the quiet ones and the rowdy ones alike competing with each other in a volume that sought to silence the booming of a sky now fraught with terror.

"Mr. T. from next close has just come in.", shouted someone from the lobby and brought the singing to an abrupt end. "And he says aw' the Egans fae the fruiterers on the Langlands Rd. are deed". The children stood around the living-room door listening to Mr. T. answering the questions. They were all familiar with the Egans family mentioned in the sad news. "Aye," said Mr. T., "their hoos in the building across the street form Stephens' engine shoap on the Govan Rd.in Linthoose got hit by a bomb or land mine, 'n they're aw' deed along wi' aw' the ither folk in the buildin'... whit a bliddy shame."

In the sombre silence of the tenement lobby the next-close neighbour developed a picture of death and destruction in a part of Govan with which all of his tense audience were familiar. " Ah jist came back fae Linthoose a wee minute ago. Thur's rubble 'n debris strewn across the road 'n aw' the hooses are burnin'. The firemen 'n ARP are there 'n thur bringin' oot bodies; it's a terrible thing.", he continued, with his eyes staring wide to add credulity to his sad tale. "Ah had tae come hame to see if ma ain hoos wis aw' right.", he added, by way of explaining why he had left the bombed building in Linthouse, and his movement towards the door of the lobby.

A quiet thoughtful audience of children and adults watched the bearer of the sad news make his hurried way to the next close. Singing did not start again, neither did the hum of idle conversation fill the lobby. Mr. A's news of disaster and death at Morrison St. and Blackburn St. had been news of other places--sad news certainly, but not the Govan of Mrs. B's lobby. Mr. T's terse, but meaningful tidings were of the Govan whose streets had been walked on that very day by the people sheltering in the lobby.

In this saddened and somewhat fearful house in the close, the children were ushered in to sleep in front of the fire once again, all noticeably silent in their own world of thoughts. "Geez, ah was therr only last Sunday for turnip...", thought John, "...'n that's where Donald bought me 'n Cathie the fruit when we were goin' tae the Evacuation.", he pondered, as the news of the well-known fruiterer sifted through his jumbled thoughts.

The constant wail of "all clear" sirens sounded muffled to the ears of the children stirring in their sleep on the living-room floor. But, as siren stations close at hand joined the welcomed chorus, reaching a crescendo with the wailing of the local Harhill siren, the children were on their feet and, buoyed by the bright sunlight streaming through the windows no longer draped in black, they chattered excitedly about what lay ahead.

"The raid's been on about ten hours.", shouted someone," 'n the schools'll all be closed today so we've got aw' day tae go 'n see whit happened in the raid."

"Git up the sterrs you two, 'n get tae bed!", commanded Dugald's father as he motioned to the young boy and girl, "Ah'll away doon the road 'n see if ah can get a bus tae work. "Your breakfast is ready up the sterrs. See 'n behave yourselves; cheerio the noo."

The young boy and his sister scooted up the stairs, and after some breakfast and the departure of his step mother for work, he scooted back down again, and was gone by himself, at a run that didn't stop till he was at the close of his pal Angie. The streets were busy with people going to and fro, but there were no trams and the noises of the factories and shipyards were noticeably unlike their normal clanging and banging of industrial Govan. The sky stretched endlessly in pale blue and the sun shone unusually bright for an early March morning.

Before John could enter the close where his pal lived, the undulating whine of the air-raid siren stopped him in his hurried tracks, and his head swung up to scan the clear blue sky above Glasgow in search of antiaircraft shell explosions or bombers. The sky was clear save for the big silver-gray barrage balloons strung intermittently across the sky of the great industrial city. However, with Linthouse still fresh in his mind he beat a hasty retreat to the tenement building whence he had just so lightheartedly come.

In the back-court back home, John heard someone shout," Ah see an aeroplane away up therr.", and a finger pointing up to the west of the big Harland's foundry directed a multitude of keen eyes in search of the spotted plane. The spotter had not been wrong. A shining silver speck hovered high in the pale blue depths of the sky, its extreme altitude giving it the impression that
it was simply suspended in the air and making no movement.

"Ach, naebidy's worried aboot it; it's jist takin' photies o' last night's damage.", uttered someone apparently knowledgeable in the ways of German bombing practices. " It'll go away in a wee minute.", he added, by way of offering his listeners a comforting thought. The speaker must indeed have known about which he spoke, as the plane did in fact go away. It didn't speed away amid a sky filled with shell bursts and a bevy of spitfires on its tail; it just quietly disappeared into the blue sky far to the west of smoking Clydeside.

Epilogue:

The Germans came back again the next night, Friday, March 14th 1941, and it was pretty well the same type and length of raid and Clydeside was again heavily battered. The major damage over the two raids was at Clydebank which was really flattened and suffered by far the greatest number of casualties. The Daily Record headlines around this time said there had been 500 killed, and this proved to be just about correct: 528 were killed and 617 severely injured. There were almost 500 tons of high explosives dropped and out of 12000 tenement-type buildings in Clydebank, only 7 remained wholly undamaged (not a misprint ...only 7!) . The Civil Defence, or the A.R.P.(=air-raid precautions) as it was called, was not perfect, but the job they did was rated by the pundits as superb and second only to London's. All was back to normal in a matter of days. Even the surviving absentees at John Browns' were all back to work within a couple of weeks.

The Luftwaffe bombers had come from Norway, and of the 439 bombers involved both nights, none as far as I know, was shot down. Their bombing was pretty accurate. The bombing in Clydebank was of course right beside the biggest yard on the Clyde, and the building hit in Linthouse where the Egans family perished (the Egans are mentioned in the British Commonwealth War Graves Commission records), for example, was right beside Stephens' engine shop. The bombing had not been indiscriminate.

This was the only really heavy raid that Glasgow suffered. There had been five raids between mid March and mid May. The Germans pretty well left the Clyde alone after May 6th, 1941. Aside from the March blitz, the only other raid that I recall in particular was one of those hit-and-run raids after which it was rumoured that a plane had been shot down and landed in the
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dugald_old
post 7th Dec 2005, 06:07pm
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Wartime Changes to Govan.

The war had of course resulted in a number of important changes in the appearance and way of life in Govan, and after the Mar 13/14 blitz there were further improvements made. There was another evacuation, known as 'The Second Evacuation'.This time the Greenfield School evacuees went to the Kirkcudbright region down on the Solway Firth...but they went without me this time. I, again along with my sister, toddled off to spend the summer in Campbeltown, each of us staying with an aunt. A great summer! The food rationing became, gradually, more severe, but never any really great hardship.

There were many baffle walls in Govan. Some were built of bricks, while others, with rectangular frames, were structures of corrugated-iron and filled with sand. They were situated at the mouth of the reinforced closes and I recall hearing of people walking into them in the dark. I don't know if they ever did serve a useful purpose, and I have never read or heard whether they did or not.

Many closes were reinforced by means of sturdy tree trunks, like pit props, built up the walls and the ceiling of the close, with a baffle wall at the mouth. Not all closes were reinforced, only in these tenements which had no air-raid shelters in the back courts. Some streets also had shelters built right in the middle of the street. Crossloan Road, near the Thermotank between Golspie St.and Elder St., for example, had shelters built in the middle of the street, no doubt to accommodate the many workers who used this street to get to their work.

I lived on Crossloan Rd., and I recall once when one of my brothers, was on leave from the Royal Navy, and awakened by a terrific noise, jumped up thinking he was at sea and his ship had been torpedoed. The noise was that of a double-decker bus running at speed, smack into a mid-street shelter early in the morning. (At this time buses were running from Govan Cross via Crossloan Rd. to the Rolls Royce factory in the Hillington Estate). The kids on the street spent the rest of the day looking for money that had fallen out of the conductor's money bag when he got thrown off the bus. By the way, the shelter withstood the force of the bus without any substantial damage.

Water tanks, 20' by 12' by 4' ( a guess) were another sight which appeared in wartime Govan. They were located in various places around the borough. There were a number of tanks for example on the vacant land on Crossloan Rd. between the Vogue Cinema and "wee" Uist St. These tanks were meant to be used in the event of an incendiary bomb attack. To cope also with such an attack, wooden ladders were stored permanently on the upper landings in the tenements ( I had many a great day's entertainment using these ladders to get up on the roof to look for shrapnel). These ladders (rough 2" by 4"s) were for the purpose of enabling fire-fighters to get onto the roof of the tenements to extinguish incendiary bombs. A stirrup pump and pails of sand were also readily available. I know of no occasion around the west end of Govan, when either the tanks or the ladders were used in earnest.

The air-raid warning siren intended to warn the west part of Govan and located on top of the "baths/steamie" complex on Harhill St. between Elder St. and Golspie St was made louder. As before one could still get an idea as to the possibility of an air-raid by watching the tram-cars--if all the car lights had been extinguished there was a 'stand by' in effect. The cars didn't stop running until such times as a the sirens sounded.
This location of the siren on Harhill St. was at the local headquarters for the ARP (Air Raid Precautions). The swimming pool was closed down and I believe, used as a casualty clearing station. A bank of wooden stretcher shelves was installed along the outside wall of the bath's building. The 'steamie' was not part of the ARP centre. All the ARP vehicles, a real hodge-podge of makes, were parked on Harthill St. then latterly, on a piece of vacant ground on Elder St. directly in line with Harthill St. There was a permanent crew on duty all the time. This post was in action during the Clydeside blitz in 1941.

After the bombing got under way around 40/41, all factories and warehouses had to have fire-watching crews. These crews were employees, selected on a rota system, and were paid for their fire-watching duty. They did their regular work as well as the fire-watching, so it was a source of additional income. A room had to be provided with camp cots for use of the fire-watchers. When the Co-op Fruit Dept. warehouse on Morrison St got hit in the blitz, all of the fire watchers perished. I think there were 8 of them. One of the stories around at the time told us that one of the 'watchers' who had black hair when he went on duty, had totally white hair when they found his body... gory thought, but that was one of the rumours of which there were always lots available. Helmets were provided for the 'watchers', but I don't think they ever wore them...they were tinny things and not like the military head wear.

I think there was a good feeling about Govan's preparedness at the outbreak of the war, and the people seemed to take to its somewhat demanding regime. And, while the ARP types were often the butt of music hall jokes, not to mention the disparaging comments frequently heard on the street, I think the feeling prevailed that they fulfilled a comforting need.
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George Muir
post 8th Dec 2005, 04:26am
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Hey Dugald, here is a picture of the tragic scene in Nelson Street, Tradeston just a few days after the Govan bombing you described above. If I remember rightly Nelson Street was a continuation eastwards of Morrison Street. My father was a fire watcher on the roof of the Co-op in the latter part of the war. The high tenement building seen in the background was Wallace Street, and my late wife lived there, she was not yet 4 years old at the time, and remembered that night vividly all her life. I lived on the Paisley Road near Weir Street, just a couple of blocks west of where the tram bombing occurred. Would you believe that the tram was later rebuilt!

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dugald_old
post 8th Dec 2005, 12:14pm
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Thanks very much George, for the note about Nelson St., and the picture. I must have seen what's in the picture as I visited Tradeston on the Saturday following the blitz. We couldn't get right up to it but we did get pretty close--there were hundreds of spectators there. What a mess it was! I could be wrong, but I thought Neson St. was at right angles to Morrison St. Ach, forget it, I'm not sure, my Glasgow geography's pretty weak. i just examined the picture again and you must be right...I mean how could we have cars on Nelson street if it was at 90 to Morission st.! I wonder what building your father was a fire-watcher in? The Fruit building was gone for years, so it must have been either 95 Morrison st ( the SCWS head office) or around there. Yes, George, I'd believe the tram was rebuilt. Glasgow boasted car-builders who were rated among the very best in the world...just recall their magnificent Cunarder cars! Interesting stuff! Cheers, Dugald.
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**marilib**
post 3rd Nov 2014, 10:36pm
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I was wondering if Nethan Street, Govan, where Thermotank people worked. My Mother was 13 during the war, but she never told me anything about it. Thermotank survived as I left Nethan Street in1959, it was still there. It must have been very scary being there, but the boys seemed to think it was a giant adventure. I'm due to go back to the Mitchell Library in 2 weeks time, so your site has whetted my appetite for more info. Marie McIntosh.
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Samjohn
post 4th Nov 2014, 12:20am
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Hello Marie McIntosh, and welcome to GG. I lived on Crossloan Rd at the time of the Blitz and the Thermotank did of course survive the war, as did Nethan St. I'm sure you'll find a great deal of information relating to the Clydeside Blitz at the library. There is lots of information about it on GG as well. Here’s a couple of sites you might find worthwhile:

http://www.hyndl.demon.co.uk/hyndland/d ... ndmine.htmhttp://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/sco ... /index.asp
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Dylan
post 4th Nov 2014, 08:06am
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The 13th. March 1941 was my Birthday.

I was born in a red sandstone flat in Mitchell Avenue Renfrew.

One hour later our home took a direct hit as a consequence of the Clydebank Blitz.

I was taken to an air raid shelter by the midwife and some neighbours carried my Mother.

My Father had been on his way home from work and spent the next hour trying to find my Mother and I.

.They were left with the clothes they stood in,they lost everything .

The following day we went to my Grandfathers home in Rutherglen and his Sisters gave my Mother clothes to wear.

Shortly after they received 20 grant for essentials. My mother spent a large portion of this to buy a

large " Silver Cross " pram.

Well she was a new Mum and she was only 21 !.


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Samjohn
post 4th Nov 2014, 01:22pm
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Dylan, I cannot imagine what your mother must have gone through one hour after giving birth and being bombed out; indeed, I cannot imagine what the midwife must have gone through along with her ( to say nothing of your dad!)! And the involved neighbours too must have had a hair-raising experience through it all. A truly frightening experience for all of them! Nah, it wouldn't have bothered you any. When I think of the long time all the people up my close spent in the crowded ground floor neighbour's house and then imagine a mother with a brand new baby being there... No, I can't imagine it. What an experience!

You do have a real story to tell.
Cheers, Dugald.
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Dylan
post 4th Nov 2014, 08:35pm
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Thank you Samjohn .

My intention was to simply give a snap cameo of the things some people experienced but I have sanitized

from the things I was told when I got elder .

The Mothers, Sisters and Wives held the fabric of Britain together during the war .

We shall remember them !.

.


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andypisces
post 5th Nov 2014, 06:52pm
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Hi Dylan my birthday march 13th too. Two years before you right enough.
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Dylan
post 5th Nov 2014, 07:07pm
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Right auld yin, cheers laugh.gif



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angel
post 5th Nov 2014, 07:23pm
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I'm saying nothing , laugh.gif laugh.gif


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Dylan
post 5th Nov 2014, 07:48pm
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andypisces
post 6th Nov 2014, 12:38am
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tongue.gif tongue.gif
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faegovan
post 15th Mar 2016, 12:18am
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Remembered with Honour

Those who died at 1249 & 1259 Govan Road on 13th March 1941
  1. Brown, Jane, age 39.
  2. Burns, John, age 25.
  3. Cameron, Henry, age 64.
  4. Clark, David, age 31.
  5. Clark, Mary, age 29.
  6. Clark, David, age 9m.
  7. Duthie, Rebecca, age 39.
  8. Egan, John, age 35.
  9. Egan, Catherine, age 31.
  10. Egan, Catherine, age 4.
  11. Egan, Mary, age 3.
  12. Egan, Sarah, age 21m.
  13. Egan, Rose, age 5m.
  14. Fiddimore, Eileen, age 26.
  15. Fiddimore, Robert, age 3.
  16. Frew, James, age 32.
  17. Frew, Martha, age 25.
  18. Kendall, Cissie, age 34.
  19. Langmuir, Caroline, age 68.
  20. McCaskill, Sarah, age 60.
  21. Murray, James, age 45.
  22. Murray, Maude, age 33.
  23. Murray, James, age 10.
  24. Murray, Norman, age 8.
  25. Murray, Sylvia, age 4.
  26. Murray, Gordon, age 3m.
  27. Nicolson, Isabella, age 65.
  28. Paterson, Maureen, age 10m.
  29. Reid, Thomas, age 58.
  30. Spence, Cecilia, age 33.
  31. Thomson, William, age 66.
  32. Thomson, William, age 24.
  33. Thomson, Helen, age 24.
  34. Williamson, Mary, age 34.
  35. Wilson, John, age 30.
  36. Wilson, Jean, age 29.
  37. Wilson, Marjery, age 4.
  38. Wilson, Robert, age 19m.


Those who died at Blackburn & Craigiehall Street on 13th March 1941
  1. Bell, Martha, age 30.
  2. Bell, Maureen, age 11m.
  3. Bullemor, Anita, age 14.
  4. Bullemor, George, age 12.
  5. Cadden, John, age 17.
  6. Campbell, Wm., age 16.
  7. Cleary, Edward, age 26.
  8. Cummings, James, age 34.
  9. Donohoe, James, age 17.
  10. Dunlop, Rosina, age 27.
  11. Dunlop, Rosina, age 2.
  12. Hannah, Peter, age 54.
  13. Harrison, Myre, age 32.
  14. Kerachan, Wm., age 36.
  15. Kerachan, Jane, age 33.
  16. Kerachan, Agnes, age 12.
  17. Kerachan, Jane, age 10.
  18. Kerachan, Helen, age 7.
  19. Kidd, Adam, age 30.
  20. Lochhead, Arch., age 52.
  21. Logan, James, age 57.
  22. McGeehan, Denis, age 35.
  23. McGeehan, Eliz., age 32.
  24. McGeehan, Margt., age 11m.
  25. McGowan, Annie, age 62.
  26. McGowan, Josephine, age 25.
  27. McGuigan, Thomas, age 70.
  28. McIntyre, Matthew, age 43.
  29. McIntyre, Malcolm, age 39.
  30. McIntyre, Mary, age 36.
  31. McIntyre, Matthew, age 16.
  32. McKinlay, John, age 27.
  33. McKinlay, Jean, age 4.
  34. McNee, Margaret, age 26.
  35. McNee, Christina, age 19.
  36. McNee, Duncan, age 3.
  37. McNee, John, age 15m.
  38. McWhinnie, John, age 6.
  39. Mercer, Francis, age 5.
  40. Ritchie, Duncan, age 18.
  41. Ross, Margaret, age 29.
  42. Ross, Elizabeth, age 3.
  43. Ross, David, age 21m.
  44. Sheridan, Mary, age 34.
  45. Sheridan, Sarah, age 14.
  46. Sheridan, Daniel, age 10.
  47. Sheridan, John, age 6.
  48. Sheridan, Alex., age 3.
  49. Tully, Thomas, age 22.
  50. Watson, John, age 17.
  51. Wilkie, Malcolm, age 39.
  52. Wilkie, Alvera, age 2.


The above casualty list comes from Govan Reminiscence Group Casualty List

The GRG also say the following about the list:
QUOTE
The above list has been compiled from the Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) and may not be complete, it is reported that there were 69 casualties in the bombings at 1249 & 1259 Govan Road, however the CWGC only lists 38 casualties.
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