Hyndland DACT Local History
Landmine in Dudley Drive, March 1941
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Clydebank Blitz March 1941 - Landmine in Dudley Drive
March 13th 1941 had been a pleasant, sunny spring day. Dusk fell on a quiet evening with a clear sky. There had been very few air raids on Glasgow, yet that evening saw the start of a series of devastating bombing raids on the west of Scotland, forever printed on people's memories as "The Clydebank Blitz".
There were three explosions nearby in all. One demolished a row of houses in Peel Street, opposite the West of Scotland Cricket Club, killing fifty people. Another blast destroyed a house at the corner of Lauderdale Gardens and Turnberry Road where two people were wiped out without trace.
However, the third and most devastating blast hit Dudley Drive, killing thirty six people and injuring twenty one, most of whom had been sheltering in the back closes. A mine had exploded on tenements between 8, 10, and 12 Dudley Drive, totally destroying them. Numbers 6 and 9 Dudley Drive were later demolished. Three people were trapped in 5 Airlie Street.
The grim task of digging through the rubble continued for many days, many residents being critical of the authorities for their "incompetence and lack of urgency". By Janette Stewart. Read the Full Story
A Landmine described ...:
- Metal canister, like a large metal dustbin
- Canister 8 feet high, 2.5 feet across
- Landmine typical weight at least half a ton
- Designed to give large lateral blast
- Only one landmine carried per Heinkel 111, plus incendiaries
- Parachute to give canister a controlled landing
- Packed with high explosive
- Detonated on contact or by a timer.
Stanley Ewing dug out of debris after 2 days
Many recall the story of schoolboy Stanley Ewing who was reportedly dug out of the debris after two and a half days. He claimed to have survived due to the fact that, shortly before the blast, his mother had sent him to the front room cupboard for some cube sugar. Entombed by the falling masonry, he stayed alive by eating the sugar and drinking the water from the fire hoses which dripped down through the wreckage!
Emergency Repair to Telephone Kiosk
On the night of the landmine, a telephone repair engineer on emergency duty was called to restore communications to the kiosks in Dudley Drive. He traced the problem to the cable under the grass in the middle of Dudley Drive. He quickly repaired it and hooked up his emergency handset for the Fire Officer. Before leaving, he learned from a local resident that these were private rented flats, and within a few months he and his young wife had moved in. They stayed for the next 55 years!
Our Youth is Undaunted
Daily Record and Mail, August 2nd 1941: Article and Pictures
In August 1941, a mobile canteen, donated by the Canadian people, was handed over to Hyndland in a small ceremony. The devastation in Dudley Drive is only too obvious. A huge gap is left where once there were tenements. The kitchen windows at the back of the flats in Dudley Drive can be seen through this gap. Local children and adults are shown watching the proceedings. One of them, who still stays here, came forward with the information about this article.
Rebuilding after the Destruction
Although the plans for the new tenements were passed in April 1948, the building was not completed until 1954. A search in the City Archive located the plans for these tenements.
The new design matches the old in general terms, using similar building materials, and more or less the same layout of windows, except that the stair windows, while still facing the street, are mid-way between floors. While this new pattern rather interrupts the original, perhaps it provides a quiet reminder of the tragedy which struck in 1941.
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