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Walking on Glass: The Clydebank Blitz

by threecountiesaction

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Dorothy Jean Roberts nee Smith
Location of story: 
Glasgow West End
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
28 September 2005

My sister Mary and me (on right)carrying our gas masks - 1940s

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Dorothy MacKenzie for Three Counties Action on behalf of Dorothy Jean Roberts nee Smith and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

In 1941 I was 16 years old and worked at Templeton’s Carpet Factory in Glasgow, which was a munitions factory during the war. On March 13th 1941 my Mother and I visited my sister Mary and her husband at their house in Ruthven Street, off Byres Road, Glasgow. At about 9 o’clock, before we came away to go home, the sirens went, so we had to stay. Unfortunately it was a big raid so we stayed overnight. As the Luftwaffe flew over, I remember their planes made sounds that were particular — a kind of throbbing. We didn’t know where or what was being bombed but we knew it was bad. The bombing went on all night until the morning. I was a bit frightened and we didn’t get any sleep due to the noise. The next day when Mother and I left to get the tram home to Dennistoun, walking up Byres Road was like walking on glass as most of the shop windows had been blown out with the vibration of the bombings.

When we got home the neighbours were all worried as to what had happened to us. Father who was a policeman in Glasgow came home shortly after us. He had done a shift on 13th March from 2pm until 7am the next day due to the bombings.

We later heard that my Uncle John in Aberdeenshire watched the sky being lit up on the night of 13 March and thought Aberdeen was being bombed. It wasn’t until the next day that he discovered that it was Clydebank.

A few days later we took a walk around the west end of Glasgow where there was quite a lot of bomb damage and discovered a house that had been demolished except for one wall which still had the picture hanging as straight as it had been put up!

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