- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Miss A Allan
- Location of story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 March 2004
This contribution is taken from the collections of the McLean Museum, Greenock, Inverclyde Council
Miss A Allan
What can you remember about Greenock during World War II?
Very grim.. What I used to enjoy quite a bit during the war was to go to the church canteen you know and help with the service men. It was quite good fun. I think it was once a week we did that. You thought you were doing something for the lads when they were in.
But things were pretty bleak, there wasn't much you could do, you maybe.. you felt if you were out too late it was the getting home and there was no street lamps or anything like that, you had to be very careful. When we went to these kind of things though we used to go in a bunch so we did. We always chummed one another home.
Your house in Crescent Street was bombed. Can you tell me something about that?
It was quite horrendous really. We were in the.. we were all in the shelter at the back and we heard it we heard it coming but luckily it was a landmine actually it hit a washhouse. I don't know whether you would know in old tenements there was only the two tenements where we were.. there was a washhouse at that end and a washhouse at this end and they hit the one at the top end nearest the church. And it so happened the way it hit, we didn't know this, there was a stream underneath and that saved so much blast or the whole place would have been down. But it took away the one end of the furthest up shelter, there was one or two casualties there. No.. not serious ones but there was a few casualties there, there was a lot of incendiary bombs as well which the menfolks managed to get.
It must have been very frightening.
Oh, it was very alarming, very alarming. Of course we came out onto the street, the school was on fire, Cartsburn School was just up the street from us, it was on fire. It was burned absolutely to the ground. And there was gaps here, there and everywhere so there was. The first night of the Blitz in Greenock I went up to.. I was on ARP at the time.. I went up to the Craigienowes School which was my depot. My mother didn't want me to go. she said "you're not going. I said, "the sirens are going, I'm going, mother". So away I went. she wouldn't let me go the second night. The first night was bad enough, you saw some poor sights going in to that place that night. it was a horrible two nights in Greenock.
When you were in the shelter the night your street was bombed, who else was with you?
There was the whole of.. everybody in the two tenements were all in the shelters. There were twelve families.
And what happened afterwards?
Well we were billeted to a house in Finnart Street and that was when after we moved from there we got this house in Bain Street.
How long did you have to wait?
oh not for long. The Blitz was in May and I think it was June 'cos they were just built, they were just new. I think it was June, so we only had about four or five weeks at the very most to wait. We were quite fortunate in that we didn't, although the building was badly blasted, we didn't lose a lot of stuff. Because any incendiaries that came down the men had got them out before they did any real damage. But most of the people in our place managed to salvage most of their furnishings. Although I can remember, you'll not remember this, they had set-in beds in kitchens and the window of the kitchen blew in and if you'd seen the mess the blankets were in because of the shrapnel of the glass they were all. cut. My mother just got up and threw the clothes back and ran. And this was it, the bed clothes were all cut with shrapnel.. It was a terrible night. And of course the distillery got it too at the top of Baker Street.
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