Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Clydebank Blitz - On this day in Scottish Military History - 1941

To cover the whole horror of the two night blitz on Clydebank by the Luftwaffe over the nights of 13th and 14th March 1941 would be impossible in a blog post.

Instead I'll quickly summarise the terrible facts of that night exactly seventy years ago:
  • Out of a population of 47,000 people 35,000 people were made homeless
  • One third of the buildings in Clydebank were destroyed
  • Only eight houses in the town were left unscathed
  • 528 people were killed and 617 were wounded
  • 22 bodies were unclaimed or unidentified
  • 1,000 bombers attacked Clydebank
  • Only 2 bombers shot down

It's a night which still haunts those living in the town today. The scale of the attack on the factories and shipyards meant many of the nearby houses were hit instead.

The town couldn't cope with the huge number of bodies and those who died on those two nights were buried in a communal grave.

At first a simple large headstone marked their grave but after many years research the names were added on bronze panels in March 2009.

Over the next day or so there is bound to be a fair amount of media coverage. We'll be sure to update this post with links to any articles.

BBC Scotland are also showing a documentary on the Blitz. This is only being shown in Scotland but it should be possible for those outside Scotland to view on the BBC iplayer.

There are also a number of web resources where you can learn more. Tom McKendrick has a site with some recollections and a list of casualties, and the Clydebank Restoration Trust has some material on their page.

You can also read our review of the recent book "River of Fire", as well as enter the competition to win a copy of the book.

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