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Signs of the past (3)



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Signs of the past (3)

Post by Archivist » Tue May 06, 2014 8:59 am

From: Jimmy Laughlan Salt > USA
To: threetowners@ topica.com
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hi. All, I remember there being a large brick and concrete air raid shelter situated on the wee park between Anderson Drive and New England Road right at Knox place, but no one would use it because of the terrible stink inside, we would all go up past the Border Farm and huddle and cuddle in the hedge rows, that is when it was warm enough, when cold we just stayed in bed.

One night it WAS cold and lying in bed I could hear the planes above, glad they were not too close, suddenly there was loud noise like a crack on the roof, when it was all over and I got up to go to work next morning, (I worked in the shipyard at the time). in the front garden was a pile of broken slates, and, would you believe it, a wee bullet, which I still have to this day, it's a good job it must have lost a lot of velocity or it might have come right through the roof, a close shave if nothing else.

Another time I was working night shift in the shipyard, part of my job was to keep the dry-dock dry with the small pump, if there a ship in it, well I was walking past the launching slips to cross over the dry-dock gate for the last time that shift, about 7 Am. and I noticed some men at the bottom of the slipway, they were picking up what was left of a dead body, it had been washed in when the gate was open to the sea at high tide, I must have passed that poor guy all night without knowing, they said he was a sailor from that carrier that was BLOWN UP BY A MINE in the firth. I was only 16 at the time and I think I shook for a couple of days thinking about it. But I'll never forget it. Ta for now.
Jimmy Laughlan



From: <donna.park@xx.edu>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hello All:
My name is Dave Park, my family left Stevenston 1n May 1953, I was nine at the time. My grandfather's house, Mansebrae is the old cottage at the top of Schoolwell St., next to the church. I remember my father David Park talking of building, with his brothers, a bomb shelter in the back yard, as I remember it was across the yard from the greenhouse, which was on the stone wall of the church. I never got to go in it, always locked. From what I remember my parents spent most of the time outside looking at the planes flying over, rather than in the shelter.

I remember playing on the beach on a old mine, very big, round, with pipes or spikes sticking out of it. I lived on or near Warner St. near the railroad station. We were back over for a visit, first time in almost 50 years, last May, loved it. My wife Donna has been prodding me to get on the site, it brings back memories.


From: <lyons@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

There was a shelter at the Iron Bridge on Ardrossan Rd. almost next door to the Registrar's Office. Also, just beyond that there two stone walls, a chicane (?), built across the road supposedly to stop tanks. The buses had to weave in and out of them. There was another chicane at the War Memorial. The night Ardeer was bombed we were under the stairs, reckoned to be the safest place in the house. I seem to remember a story that when Greenock was hit the streets were running with syrup from the sugar factory.

Everything was rationed, food, including bread for which you needed BU's, bread units, sweeties, clothes and household linens. Most things were marked with a "Utility" symbol. We were all issued with gas masks and carried them to school every day. They had drills where we'd have to put on our masks and get under the desk. I do not remember anyone being afraid, probably we were all too young to realise what was going on in the world.
Margaret



From: "Thomas Logan" <t.m.logan@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hugh McCallum: wrote in part: Hi Penni B, I remember seeing a mine somewhere in the threetowns but it was used for collecting money for returned servicemen,
- - - - - - - - - - -
The only mine used as a collection box was located on the South Crescent outside the summer shelter beside the sunken garden at the Ardrossan end of the shore. At least as far as I remember and I lived in Saltcoats from 1933 to 1978 .

Air-raid shelters in Saltcoats. I know of two. An official one, built in brick and concrete in Ardrossan Road next to the Iron Bridge (opposite South Beach Church). This last a long time after the war, and was converted to a bus shelter, which may still exist. The other was a private one built in the back garden of our neighbour in Argyle Road ( a Mr. Easterbrook). This was used at least twice that I can remember during the Clydebank raids and the Ardeer attack. But most of the time it was a 'den' for my brother and I and our friends. There must have been many more private ones in various back gardens through the town. These private shelters were entirely at the expense of the owners, but the government provided the materials at cost, or possibly less.


From: <dickiemax@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

I recall a time in 1940 while working with Tom Garvie, the coalman in Stevenston. There was myself and a wee guy called Robert Dickie asked to work thru the dinner hour bagging coal. I remember the time as 10 past 12. I was waiting for "wee Dicky" to fill the coal bag but he insisted on stopping to watch an approaching plane...he said " look at the big Gerry plane"...( I just thought he was nuts, but stood watching anyway). It was heading in the direction of Ardeer Factory. I thought it was "one of ours".

Next thing I know is out came four bombs, 20 seconds later, another four, then the plane dropped down, looking like it was going to land on the factory...than I heard the machine gun fire and the plane came back up and took off. Now realizing that it was a German plane, I wondered why the 4 anti-aircraft guns standing where the new Safeway store is now, were letting it get away. The next day in the paper the explanation was this plane had gotten past the radar and was too close to the Ardeer factory to fire on it.

They had no option other than to let it get away and as soon as it cleared the factory, 2 British fighters went up and shot it out the sky over Carlisle. The paper also stated that the workers going to the canteen were fired on by that plane and one woman was killed by machine gun fire.
Dick Maxwell.



From: <scott.mccallum2@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hi Sandra
I was born in Seabank street in 1951 - as you head for the shore beyond Arthur street on the left before esplanade cottages - then lived from 1953 till about 1969 in canal street next door to the maple leaf hotel or the miners' home as was - my folks were there till the late seventies then moved to Eglinton street

The only Anderson shelter I remember was just off Boglemart street in Stevenson

Scott McCallum


From: "Ewan Steed" <genealogy@xx.co.uk>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hi all
In point of fact I remember Warning Notices being posted throughout the 3
towns showing you what these devices looked like and not to touch but to
contact the 'polis'.
Ewan


From: <gjarvis@xx.net>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hi All.
I'm just after talking to my Dad, ack Stewart. He remembers that "jerry' plane. He was home on leave at his Parents in Border Avenue at the time. He knew by the sound of the planes engine it was a German plane, they had a very distinctive engine sound. He thinks the Sand Dunes prevented it from being an even bigger disaster. Sheena.


From: <jamesbarr50@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001

Hi all
Being one of the younger generation (I don't remember the war) I have no recollection of the war but remembering my uncle (johnie Hannah) telling me when he was home on leave (from the navy) and he was getting the train back at Saltcoats station the carriage that he got into had one man in it so they got talking this chap told him he was up seeing his brother who was on the dasher so before this chap got home the dasher as everyone knows was rocked by a great explosion and sunk with great loss of life my uncle did not here of it till he got back to Portsmouth and he immediately thought about this chap there he was just after seeing his brother and the dasher blew up after he had left that very same morning my uncle does not know if that chaps brother was amongst the causalities as he did not remember his name.
jim barr. (blakjak50)


From: "Richard Maxwell" <dickiemax@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@ topica.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

To round off the personal recollection week, here's a 3-in-oner. Can anyone recall 3 aircraft carriers sitting approx. 5 miles off Ardrossan 1940/41?. Sat there idle for 2 months. One morning 2 had disappeared on wartime duty. One sat another month on its own, during the night a German sub got in, must have torpedoed the magazine and blew it to pieces, all hands lost. The beach from the Shellmex to Seamill was 8 inches deep in oil and not in use for months.

Next, can anyone remember the 21 barrage balloons floating above Ardeer Factory to keep enemy planes from flying low. These balloons were connected to a winch on the ground by steel cables. During lightning storms, you could see them being knocked out the sky when lightning hit the cables causing a fire in the balloon.

Lastly, how about the night it rained razorblades in Stevenston? Next morning the streets were covered in strings of razorblades, 30 or 40 blades per string, uncut and unsharpened. German blades dropped in the hopes of fooling the British radar system so that their planes could not be detected. It obviously was not successful as it never happened again.
Any recollections? DM



From: Jimmy Laughlan Salt > USA
To: threetowners@ topica.com
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001

Hi. All, I remember there being a large brick and concrete air raid shelter situated on the wee park between Anderson Drive and New England Road right at Knox place, but no one would use it because of the terrible stink inside, we would all go up past the Border Farm and huddle and cuddle in the hedge rows, that is when it was warm enough, when cold we just stayed in bed.

One night it WAS cold and lying in bed I could hear the planes above, glad they were not too close, suddenly there was loud noise like a crack on the roof, when it was all over and I got up to go to work next morning, (I worked in the shipyard at the time). in the front garden was a pile of broken slates, and, would you believe it, a wee bullet, which I still have to this day, it's a good job it must have lost a lot of velocity or it might have come right through the roof, a close shave if nothing else.

Another time I was working night shift in the shipyard, part of my job was to keep the dry-dock dry with the small pump, if there a ship in it, well I was walking past the launching slips to cross over the dry-dock gate for the last time that shift, about 7 Am. and I noticed some men at the bottom of the slipway, they were picking up what was left of a dead body, it had been washed in when the gate was open to the sea at high tide, I must have passed that poor guy all night without knowing, they said he was a sailor from that carrier that was BLOWN UP BY A MINE in the firth. I was only 16 at the time and I think I shook for a couple of days thinking about it. But I'll never forget it. Ta for now.
Jimmy Laughlan

Signs of the past 4

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