Thursday, July 23, 2015

GREENOCK BLITZ


On May 6 and May 7, 1941, German bombers targeted shipyards around the Scottish town of Greenock, killing 280 people and injuring more than over 1,200.

Bombs set ablaze 
Ardgowan Distillery on Bakers Brae and the flames acted as a beacon for waves of attackers.

In an oral history on the website Remembering Scotland at War, survivor 
Alex Hunter said:


"The east end of the town which had all the major industries, well there was a bomb fell, say the tanworks, the ladyburn engine sheds, Scott’s shipyard, both sugar refineries, Rankin and Blackmore’s and the distillery. These were major targets. And they hit them."
  


Margaret Chatters, another survivor, said:

"
The Westburn sugar house got a direct hit. Our house was damaged and all the windows blown out. My mother’s washing was out in the road."

For gallantry during the raid,
Firemaster A.S. Pratten, Sub-Station Officer William Neill and Fireman James Berry were awarded the George Medal.


The men entered a burning building and contained flames that threatened to destroy  material essential to the war effort, according to Wikipedia.


Firemaster's Report


Air Raid 6th May 1941

The Air Raid Warning “Red” was received at 00.49 and the Air Raid Message “White” at 03.25.

During the period of the raid 25 incidents were recorded at Headquarters.

These were expeditiously dealt with and with the exception of the undermentioned, presented no particular difficulty although serious damage was caused in several instances.

The most difficult fires to handle were at Belville St. (incident No.15) where, shortly after the arrival of the Brigade, a high explosive bomb destroyed the water main, (eliminating water pressure over a wide area), and the 5000 gallon steel dam provided for the area.

This circumstance necessitating relaying water from Victoria harbour, a distance of about half a mile.

The raid, although on a fair scale, was well within the scope of the local service.

A. S. Pratten
Firemaster
Fire Brigade Headquarters
Greenock
15th May 1941

Firemaster's Report provided to website Remembering Scotland at War by Graeme Kirkwood