Clydeside bombed again

Fires burning fiercely at the height of the bombing of Clydseside, seen from the hills outside the town.

Mary Haggerty was 22 years old in 1941, she had endured the terrifying ordeal of the first night of the the Clydeside Blitz.

Soon it would be night again and with it the Luftwaffe would return to finish the job they started the night before. We didn’t know where to go but knew we had to get away from the tenement buildings that had taken a terrible pounding. I thought that if another bomb falls on our street all the buildings will collapse, for there was a massive crack running all the way up our close to the top flat.

We decided to spend the night up on the hills north of the town. We walked along the road to the hills, meeting other people who were as likeminded as us, as on the previous night everyone in Clydebank had been taken by surprise being caught in picture houses, dance halls or out on the streets and decided to get out of town.

I remember walking along the canal bank with the moon shining brightly once again and lighting up the pathway we could plainly see many fires still burning, a perfect target for the Germans. Then the sirens started up, their wailing sound warning us that the bombers were on their way once more. Some people lay under hedges at the side of the road but we kept on walking towards the open ground. Agnes was carrying a white blanket under her arm and my father said “you’d better put that blanket out of sight, Agnes, if you don’t want a bomb to hit you”.

We came across a stone hut which must have been a shelter for cattle. Well this was our shelter for the night and we were glad of it. I remember it was very noisy, as we were quite near an Ack-Ack battery and the guns were firing all night. The night seemed endless but at last we realised that the guns had stopped and the “all clear” was sounding.

We started our journey home, walking down onto the Great Western Rd. where we had to be careful where we walked as it was full of large craters. I noticed that the park which ran alongside was also peppered with bomb craters. Later on I heard that the bombers had, in the moonlight, mistaken the wide road for the waters of the Clyde. If this was true, and I think it was, then this saved us from a massive knockout blow. If all the bombs that fell on the Great Western Rd. had landed on the town there wouldn’t have been a house left standing and the casualty rate would have been horrendous.

Read Mary Cairn’s (nee Haggerty) full account of the Clydeside blitz on BBC People’s War.

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