- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Joseph Gorman
- Location of story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 March 2004
This contribution is taken from the collections of the McLean Museum, Greenock. Inverclyde Council
Joseph Gorman recalls:
"Yes, well, as I have said already the night of the real Blitz ~ you know we had an earlier warning with the Clydebank Blitz - and we followed on the following night. So when the sirens went we headed immediately for the air raid shelter which was a government scheme at the time of two types - they had the corrugated iron type and that was what we had. They were pretty damp, not very comfortable but I suppose preservation was the main object of them so we spent the night there or possibly two hours or thereabouts until the 'all clear' went.
It was pretty obvious even then that the town was taking a pasting. We didn’t actually have anything dropped around us but we could see the flames coming from the distillery in particular - even reflecting on the panes of glass. At one stage I thought it was our own house that was ... When we got down into the house it was like - I think it is a well known fact that strange things can happen with blast - and we found a mirror down off the wall and various things had come down and yet externally we were not even a pane of glass out."
"What was it like being in the shelter?"
"Well it was a pretty cold miserable place to spend an evening but my wife always took time to grab a few warm things and it was at least comfortable. I think our own personal feelings were possibly forgotten in the - all the excitement that was going on around us with the searchlights, and the guns going off particularly from ships in the river lying at the Tail of the Bank. But with neighbours in with us, talking and my own personal reaction was more one of wanting to know what was going on outside. Much to the annoyance of my wife at times going out and looking around at the sky lit up from the flames from the sugar house and the distillery. But certainly time, time did not drag with us now that's for sure."
What about going to work the following morning?"
"Well, the first reaction was to see - was to get a closer view of what might have been happening.
On my way along Dunlop Street, I did discover that there had been a land mine dropped there. A house, one of the corporation houses, certainly had been demolished and we understood at that time that there had been loss of life. The further east as we walked damage seemed to be heavier - the sugar house, as I have already mentioned, the distillery and most industrial premises and houses as one got to Drumfrochar Road and Ingleston Street in which the foundry was situated. Damage there was really heavy.
And then when I arrived at our own foundry in - which was situated just off Ingleston Street - then, the foundry was still there - there had not been a great deal of damage although the school across the road was only a burnt out shell. Thanks in many ways to the volunteers that we had on that night - they had obviously made a very good job of handling the incendiaries. Of course, they were fortunate in this respect that in most establishments you had to keep pails of sand to cope with incendiaries but needless to say in the foundry they had hundreds of tons of sand at their disposal. Nevertheless, they had done a first class job. We went into production within a day or two.
Of course everyone was in the same position getting to work and I had to smile at my manager who appeared in the work shortly after me. On asking him how he had got along, he said, "Well, I brought my bike and by the way, can you go a bicycle, because I would like very much if you would take mine back?"
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.