When people talk about 'the Blitz', they often mean the air raids on London or Coventry. But lots of other places in the UK were bombed during World War II. Scotland came under attack from German bombers. Glasgow and the Clyde, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee were bombed as well as towns and cities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Why was Scotland bombed?
Scotland had factories, coal mines, engineering works and shipyards. These industries were important to the war effort. Scotland's industrial areas were important targets for German bombers. German planes flew across the North Sea to drop bombs on Scotland.
Glasgow had many factories. There were shipyards along the River Clyde and cargo ships gathered in the river to form convoys.
Many people in industrial areas lived near their workplaces. When factories and shipyards were bombed during Scotland's Blitz, hundreds of people were killed. Many more were left homeless.
The Clydebank Blitz
The town of Clydebank, not far from Glasgow, had shipyards and ammunition factories making bullets and bombs. One big factory made aircraft engines. Most of the people who worked in the shipyards and factories lived in tenement flats nearby.
Over two nights on 13/14 March 1941 about 400 German planes dropped bombs on Clydebank. RAF fighters shot down two German bombers. Even so more than 1,000 bombs fell on Clydebank.
528 people were killed and over 600 injured on Clydebank over the two nights. Many fires were started by incendiary bombs. About 4,000 homes were destroyed. More than 40,000 people were made homeless.
The Polish warship Piorun
The ORP Piorun ('Thunderbolt' in Polish) was a Polish navy warship. The ship had been built on the Clyde for the Royal Navy. It was given to the Polish navy in 1940. Many Poles had come to Britain to help fight the war.
When the German bombers attacked Clydebank, Piorun was being repaired in the John Brown shipyard, the most famous shipyard on the Clyde. The warship's crew fired its guns at the bombers to defend the town. Near Clydebank Town Hall in Solidarity Plaza is a memorial plaque to those brave Polish sailors.
Raids on Greenock
On 6/7 May 1941 about 50 German planes bombed Greenock. 280 people were killed and 1,200 people were injured. Cars drove through the town with loudspeakers to tell people where to go for help and shelter. Some people were covered with soot and dust from the fires started by incendiary bombs.
Fire fighters came from as far as Edinburgh. Sailors from ships in the Clyde also helped fight the fires. Three firemen were awarded the George Medal for their bravery during the Greenock Blitz.
The Aberdeen Blitz
Aberdeen on Scotland's east coast was another target. German bombers flew across the North Sea from Norway.
On the night of 21 April 1943 between 40 and 50 bombers flew over Aberdeen. In this surprise attack 98 civilians and 27 soldiers were killed. Around 10,000 homes were destroyed or damaged. Low-flying German planes fired their machine guns at people in the streets.
The German bombers flew so low that many bombs did not explode. 'UXBs' or unexploded bombs were very dangerous. Bomb disposal teams had to 'defuse' the bomb to stop it blowing up.
The 1943 raid was so swift that all the bombers got away. But in an earlier raid in July 1940 a German bomber was shot down by an RAF fighter. It crashed onto a new ice rink!