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Wartime Childhood in Clydebank

by Hartlepool Central Library

Contributed by 
Hartlepool Central Library
People in story: 
Alistair Renfrew
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
09 February 2004

I was living in Clydebank,Scotland in 1939. The first indication of war was the building of the "Anderson Shelter" in the garden at the back. One night the sirens blew, and incendiary bombs were coming down in their thousands, the garden was ablaze. My Father and I were going around with sand bags to put the fires out. High explosive bombs, I could hear them screaming.

The next door neighbour shouted to my dad as a landmine was coming down on a parachute! It exploded, Dad safe!

A car came round to warn us that the Germans were coming back the next night so we took blankets and pillows to the hills so we could rest. About 8p.m. the bombs were coming down again, while we watched about a mile away lying in bomb craters in the hills. In the morning after the "all clear" we made our way back to the house - a bungalow, not a lot left!! Looking across the town, I couldn't see many houses or buildings left standing. Second night back to the hills. Similar to the first night. Bombs came down and a plane came to the hill firing machine guns at us. Missed!! Back home to not much, to clear up some debris.

Some friends came looking for us and took us to a town in Ayreshire for 1 year then we moved to my Grandparents in Leeds until our house in Clydebank was restored by the Government.

We had shipyards where the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were built. Singers Sewing Machine Co. was also in Clydebank but it was the houses which suffered the most damage. Rebuilding took 6 months. We stood and watched the school in flames, so I was transferred to a Leeds Primary School and College. Life has gone on from there.

Written by Alistair Renfrew

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - wartime Childhood

Posted on: 09 February 2004 by greenhill2

Hi Alistair
You might be interested in the first paragraph of "my involvement with the luftwaffe Ref A2224333.I remember stories of people camping out on the Campsie Fells after Clydebank
Great story


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This story has been placed in the following categories.

The Blitz Category
Childhood and Evacuation Category
Glasgow and Argyll Category
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