• MySTV

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

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.