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Greenock Blitz: The devastating attack that claimed 300 lives in 1941

The two-night bombing left the Clydeside town in ruins 75 years ago.

The Blitz: September 7, 1940 - May 21, 1941

1940: The Battle of Britain, the UK's defence against the German onslaught by the Luftwaffe, begins.

That defence and the German bombing campaign that followed mostly happened in England, such as cities like London and Coventry.

The lightning night attacks during the Blitz killed 43,000 civilians across various cities in the UK. In the first month alone the Luftwaffe dropped 5300 tons of explosives on London across 24 nights.

It petered out when Hitler focused his plans on an invasion of Russia.

But Scotland was a prime target for Hitler, with more than more than 500 German air raids on the country - ranging from single aircraft hit-and-runs, to mass bombings by 240 planes.

Greenock attack

Blitz: Homes left in ruin.
Blitz: Homes left in ruin.

Dates: May 6 - 7, 1941

Death toll: 250 lives lost

The Greenock attacks were the the second and last of the German mass bombings in Scotland.

They struck the Clydeside town less than two months after the devastating Clydebank Blitz that claimed over 1000 lives, although the official death toll was 528.

Scotland's centres of industry were prime targets, such as shipyards and factories used for munitions support, including Scotts shipbuilding company based in Greenock.

German bombers dropped 1000 tonnes of explosives on the Inverclyde region.

Over the course of the Greenock raids British night fighters from Ayr, who engaged the bombers, caused the fleeing Germans to drop bombs across south west Scotland too.

John McQuarrie was seven when the German bombers struck, a night he remembers vividly. He pays tribute to those who lost their lives on the 75th anniversary of the Blitz.

I suppose it was exciting in a way - when you're seven years of age you don't have that kind of fear that an adult has. Then it eventually all stopped. The whole place was just glowing red and it was all quiet. The buildings were all ablaze.
John McQuarrie

After the Blitz, an article in the Greenock Telegraph read: "Across the river from Greenock, the darkly wooded Hullaghmore peninsula blots out the flat farmland that was once and ack-ack gunsite-the place where so many of us had our baptism of fire."

Greenock fire service's report on May 6: "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 Street 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."

http://stv.tv/news/west-central/1346206-clydebank-blitz-timeline-of-intense-raid-that-left-4000-homes-in-ruin/ | default

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