Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Socceroo » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:04 pm

Roxburgh wrote:I grew up in the west end of Glasgow and, in the early sixties, we would play on two sites which we knew as "bomb bee one" and "bomb bee two".

"Bomb bee one" was opposite Notre Dame primary on Victoria Crescent Road (where the terrace has now been rebuilt).

"Bomb bee two" was at the intersection of Crown Circus and Hyndland Street where there are now modern flats.

I always wondered if these were really caused by bombs.


Roxburgh, as far as i am aware both of these locations were bomb sites. Notre Dame and around it was hit, and also casualties were recorded at Victoria Crescent Road. Crown Circus at Hyndland Street i think was also due to Bomb damage.

I'll need to dig out the map to be quite sure on the Crown Circus one.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby HollowHorn » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:38 pm

Socceroo wrote:I'll need to dig out the map to be quite sure on the Crown Circus one.

What map might that be, Socceroo?

(Please don't tell me to search through this thread again) ::):
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Socceroo » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:51 am

HH the map is one i put together with all the bomb sites known from various bits of research. Still working on it.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby HollowHorn » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:29 pm

Are you intending to publish it?
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby escotregen » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:57 pm

In re-reading the more recent postings here it strikes me that for some people their recollections based on what were the experiences of children in an adults' world and the anecdotes and folklore of their families are understandably important to them, and I think maybe these recollections are salted a little with a mixture of nostalgia and a kind of patriotic pride. But it is important that the historical facts are squared up to or at least respected.

It is important that where facts are demonstrated to run contrary to recollections or personal impressions (for example continued assertions that there was no experience or knowledge of mass bombings on civilians before the outbreak of WW2)... the facts should not be just side-stepped, belittled or plain disbelieved. For example it is just not correct to dismiss things like Guernica by saying they were exaggerated, nor that this or things like Japan's pathfinder use of mass bombing earlier in the 1930s were far away things and that Glaswegians had other things on their plate.

Glasgow was one of the top strategic military-industrial complexes of the world at that time and was a highly politicised city. World affairs such as the Japanese expansion and Spanish civil war were much to the forefront of intellectual thought and popular agitation in Glasgow at the time. As pointed out earlier, experience in the UK of significant bombing of civilians extended back to WW1.

There was nothing great or good about being in a society that had bombs raining down on it. Our authorities were plainly underprepared to contend with what happened, indeed they were sometimes ill-disposed (as were some employers as shown here by another poster). Just as people behaved well and bravely, people also behaved badly and even criminally. All-in-all WW2 was a terrible tragedy for Britain and the British people - maybe that is one of the reasons that people of the war generations need to hold onto particular beliefs of what the experience was actually like in order to take some value out of it all. My interest in WW2 is about that tragedy and what the Bombs over Glasgow reality was.

The excellent facility of Hidden Glasgow can allow us to dispassionately collate and examine the mix of facts, impressions and personal anecdotes; but with historical fact given precedence - all with the aim of recovering and preserving the true history of Hidden Glasgow. An important element of that 'Hidden' bombs over Glasgow history is that official propaganda (essential at the time), popular nostalgia and plain old myth have buried much of it. In this Bombs over Glasgow thread and in uncovering the truth, we have a thread that is particularly valuable and important as well as entertaining.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Socceroo » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:25 pm

Superb post Escotregen. For me the fascination with the bombing of Glasgow is not a morbid one, but the realisation of the amount of bombing, wanton destruction and sheer terror that occurred in Glasgow and which is pretty much forgotten about.

Every day tens of thousands of Glaswegians and visitors walk or drive past areas of Glasgow totally oblivious to the death and destruction that occurred in the early 1940's. Oblivious to that worst kind of demonstration of mans inhumanity to man which occurred, that of dropping HE bombs indescriminantly on a civilian population from the skies.

These are the lessons that we should never forget.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Roxburgh » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:52 pm

I agree with much of your post. But ... and its a big but ... you have to think yourself into the mindset of 1939 and not look at this from a 2008 perspective. One aspect of this is, I think, a lack of understanding about how big the world was in 1939. It was not the global village we know today.

People certainly knew of Guernica and the RAF's experience in Iraq weighed heavily in the minds of Britain's military planners. I am not sure that the same is true for Japan's war in China or for London's WW1 experience. I suspect that this latter memory was swamped by the more general and awful memory of WW1 in its totality.

There was certainly a great fear of bombing before the war broke out but this was allayed after the start of hostilities by the failure of allied bombing raids on Germany and the lack of large scale raids on the UK.

I think the "preparedness theme" is more complex than either "prepared" or "under-prepared". It could be argued that the authorities initially over-prepared by evacuating all the children out of the cities as they expected catastrophic bombing raids. The mass evacuation is a historical fact. It was when nothing happened that they screwed up and they probably were complacent and under-prepared for the bombing when it finally started. Given that the initial expectation of mass bombing had not happened, did they really know what to expect?

On the subject of employers, the information we are lacking is whether John Browns (and others) offered hot meals before the war. Are they being castigated for not doing something that, in fact, they had never done?
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Dexter St. Clair » Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:28 am

On the subject of employers, the information we are lacking is whether John Browns (and others) offered hot meals before the war. Are they being castigated for not doing something that, in fact, they had never done?


There's a whole load of information required including what other manufacturers did. However Shipyards till their deaths were not known for comforts offered to their manual and workforce.
"I before E, except after C" works in most cases but there are exceptions.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Dugald » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:45 am

Socceroo, in your last post you speak of the bombing of Clydeside as "wanton" and "indiscriminate". I'm not at all sure those are really valid descriptions of the Luftwaffe attacks on the Clydeside. I don't think for example, the placing of an explosive device about 40 yards from the Stephens' shipyard, or a direct hit on the Harlands' Yard, or a direct hit on the Beardsmore yard, were the result of indiscriminate bombing. I feel rather, that these air-raids were well-planned, and coordinated, and bent on damaging the war production capability of "...one of the top strategic military-industrial complexes of the world..." (not my words). Indeed, on this very thread one can find aerial pictures of Clydeside which were taken by the Luftwaffe even before war broke out... hardly to be expected if the purpose of any such raids was meant to be wanton or indiscriminate.

Certainly there would have been examples of explosives etc., hitting places far removed from military targets, but these happened for a variety of reasons, the most common of which, I'd guess, to be the result of the explosive devices being jettisoned by aircrew (this happened frequently in Bomber Command).
Last edited by Dugald on Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Dugald » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:55 am

Dexter St. Clair wrote:
On the subject of employers, the information we are lacking is whether John Browns (and others) offered hot meals before the war. Are they being castigated for not doing something that, in fact, they had never done?

There's a whole load of information required including what other manufacturers did. However Shipyards till their deaths were not known for comforts offered to their manual and workforce.


Ah Dexter, it's so refreshing to find a measure of corroboration for something i said, in something you wrote...good stuff! What am I on about? Well, I mentioned on an earlier post that when Clydebank was hit, 'it was still very much an era of the "piece in the pocket 'n tea can" lunch-time dining" '.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Socceroo » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:23 pm

Dugald wrote:Socceroo, in your last post you speak of the bombing of Clydeside as "wanton" and "indiscriminate". I'm not at all sure those are really valid descriptions of the Luftwaffe attacks on the Clydeside. I don't think for example, the placing of an explosive device about 40 yards from the Stephens' shipyard, or a direct hit on the Harlands' Yard, or a direct hit on the Beardsmore yard, were the result of indiscriminate bombing........


Dugald, i do not doubt for a minute that when the Luftwaffe Bombers left their bases in Northern France, Denmark, Holland and Western Germany, that they did so with planned targets in mind.

The type of bombing strategy that the Luftwaffe used in bombing the Clydeside is fairly well documented. Initially Pathfinder Bombers came over the City after being guided in using crossed Radio Frequency beams. They would then drop Incendiaries on the target area to identify it to the follow on Bombers. These Pathfinders also dropped a small amount of HE bombs with the intention of making the population take cover.

Image

Luftwaffe 1Kg Thermite Incendiary Bomb

Trying to get the population, including the Fire fighters to take cover was not a benevolent act. The intention was that the fires caused by the incendiaries would have time to take hold unchecked and act as a guide for the follow on Bombers which would arrive over the target area some 15 – 20 minutes later.

Incendiary Bombs dropped from 10,000 feet and above could spread out well over 1000m from one cluster drop.1000kg+ Luftmines in Parachutes dropped from Bombers at 10,000 feet + could drift from 500m to 1000m from where they left the Bomber. These Luftmines could destroy just about every structure around their point of impact in a 150m radius. If you were standing in the open anywhere in the region of less than 500m from them on impact, then the likelihood is that you would be killed.

Fulwood Avenue, Caldwell Avenue, Blairdardie Road, Turnberry Road, Airlie Gardens and Chelmsford Drive in Glasgow were all hit by Luftmines resulting in multiple fatalities at each location. They are all in residential areas of Glasgow.

Image

Luftwaffe 1000Kg Luftmine

For me if you drop a 1000kg Luftmine on a Parachute over a City in the hope as much as the expectation that it hits its target, then that is fairly indiscriminate.

The point i was making in my last post, or was trying to, was that i believe that the majority of Glaswegians who live and work in the City are unaware as to the extent of the bombing which happened over the City during the War. For many the Second World War is something that happened in Europe and Air Raids are something that happened in London. For some they are aware that there were Air Raids in Clydebank, but the knowledge of the Glasgow Air Raids for a number of reasons is limited.

We are all acutely aware that Glasgow in the early 1940’s was a different time and very much a different place, but today there are still parallels to be drawn and lessons which can be learned.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby HollowHorn » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:55 pm

Roxburgh wrote:On the subject of employers, the information we are lacking is whether John Browns (and others) offered hot meals before the war. Are they being castigated for not doing something that, in fact, they had never done?

In times of flood, drought or firemen's strikes, facilities that were not on offer beforehand, become available. I fail to see your point.
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby HollowHorn » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:01 pm

Dugald wrote: I feel rather, that these air-raids were well-planned, and coordinated, and bent on damaging the war production capability of "...one of the top strategic military-industrial complexes of the world..." (not my words). Indeed, on this very thread one can find aerial pictures of Clydeside which were taken by the Luftwaffe even before war broke out... hardly to be expected if the purpose of any such raids was meant to be wanton or indiscriminate..

And with all of the above, they still missed most of their industrial targets in Clydebank. We'll just put it down to pilot error. ::):
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby Dexter St. Clair » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:06 am

HollowHorn wrote:
Roxburgh wrote:On the subject of employers, the information we are lacking is whether John Browns (and others) offered hot meals before the war. Are they being castigated for not doing something that, in fact, they had never done?

In times of flood, drought or firemen's strikes, facilities that were not on offer beforehand, become available. I fail to see your point.



and one wonders was there a (white collar) staff canteen?
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Re: Bombs over Glasgow in WW2

Postby escotregen » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:34 pm

HollowHorn, ‘pilot error’ indeed… as ever, your better side comes out and you are generous to the Luftwaffe:

In addition to socceroo’s excellent posting I would add that all bombing of urban targets well into WW2 was, off course, to an extent wanton and indiscriminate because the aiming and sighting technology was so primitive. As previously covered by posters, some wartime historians (and local residents of the time) argue that the Clydebank blitz tragedy largely arose out of the Luftwaffe pilots being easily led astray by moonlight on roadways that they took to be the Clyde (naked eye observation still being largely relied upon). That certainly could explain the horrible seeming 'accuracy' and consistency with which the crowded tenemental areas to the north of the river were pounded.

I think it was in 1940 that RAF observations of target bombing in occupied France demonstrated that only a tiny percentage of bombs got within a mile of the intended target and that getting within 5 miles was not uncommon. This inaccuracy was a major factor that persuaded the RAF’s 'Bomber' Harris to successfully argue for mass bombing of German Cities – he argued it’s better to pulverise whole city areas if that was the only way to be sure of hitting your intended target somewhere in amongst all that... just a pity about the civilians. It was lucky for the British that the Luftwaffe never did develop a heavy bomber such as the RAF's Lancaster that would have been capable of meting out the same treatment to our cities.

Even later in WW2 target finding, sighting and aiming was so primitive that the British and Commonwealth forces in North Africa were able to completely disguise an entire Egyptian port and protect it from night-time ariel bombing.
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