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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The Clydebank Blitz icon for Recommended story

by Tommy Mac

Contributed by 
Tommy Mac
Article ID: 
A1112653
Contributed on: 
17 July 2003

One night in 1941 we were warned by the siren that there was an air raid going on. It sounded so near, we knew it had to be a very big one. We could even see a glow in the sky to the west of Glasgow, where we knew the shipbuilding industry was located in Clydebank, a mere four miles away. We just had to see what was going on, so being young and fearless, we went to see for ourselves.

The only vantage point we could find was the playground of my school, Saint Joseph's. You see, due to the congestion of the nearby tenements, the playground was actually built on the roof of the four-storey building and enclosed simply by a very high net. Everyone, large and small, made their way to this brilliant vantage point as it gave us a panoramic view for miles.

From this height we could see the bombs falling and the buildings going up in flames, lighting up the whole sky like daylight. We could even feel the heat despite the distance from the raid itself.

Things got so serious, however, that we could actually start feeling bits of shrapnel whizzing about our ears; something we hadn't even given any thought to. The policeman on duty had the unenviable job of ushering everyone down from the roof before someone was injured.

The following day, myself and the rest of my pals searched the playground for any souvenirs we might find, and we were amazed at how many pieces had embedded themselves into the walls. Looking back, it is frightening - any of these pieces could have hit any one of us. At the time, however, we thought it was a great adventure, such was the innocence of our youth. It was only when we were told the extent of the deaths and casualties that the fact hit home.

-- Read all Tommy Mac's edited contributions to this website

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