|Signs of the past (2)
Hello to everyone, When I visited my
gran in the 50s, I remember being told not to go near the mines on the
beach....They had to be from the war.....any comments...if I remember
right, they looked like large metal
Hi Penni B,
I remember seeing a mine somewhere in the threetowns but it was used for
collecting money for returned servicemen, can't recall where I saw it
though. I do remember around 1948 the North Shore at Ardrossan was
covered with lots of incendiary bomb casings that had been washed
ashore. They were about 9 inches long and were hexagonal ended; they had
a white mushie substance inside some of the casings. They were badly
rusted and were a hazard to us young ones in barefeet. This was next to
the Shell-Mex oil refinery. Betty my wife recalls the same at
I, on behalf other saltcoatonians,
feel somewhat left out. According to this group there seems to have been
no shell casings washing up, no unexploded bombs and no bomb shelters
remembered in Saltcoats. in fact the stories I had heard about the
bombing of Ardeer were about the locals grabbing the weans and running
up the country. Was Saltcoats a safer place to be? Did the inhabitants
lose their memory? Do we need more members from Saltcoats?
"Sam Bukka" wrote in part about
I used to play in the one which is now "Millglen Caravan Site"
Ardrossan, on the backroad to West Kilbride, back in the 50's.
- - - - - - - - - -
Sam I remember that place too. further up on the opposite side of the
road was the camouflaged underground petrol tanks where Jock Shearer the
policeman lost his boy. Anyway there is mention of an old caretaker
looking after the curling rink there in the 1841 census or could have
been the 1851 census - wish I'd written down the description of the
place at the time. Maybe the ghost of that auld caretaker was watching
you back then. lol
BEING A KID AT THE TIME WHEN THE SIRENS WENT OFF MY GRANNIE WOULD PUT
US UNDER THE STAIRS SHE SAID THAT WAS THE ONLY THING EVER LEFT STANDING
AFTER A BOMB HIT. ONCE WE WERE ALL EVACUATED AND HAD TO WALK INTO THE
COUNTRY THERE WAS A BOMB BURIED IN THE ROAD THAT DID NOT GO OFF AND WE
WALKED THROUGH THE FIELDS THE A.R.P. MEN WERE TRYING TO DEFUSE IT. WE
LIVED NEAR ARDEER AT THE TIME.
I REMEMBER THE MINES USED TO WASH UP ON THE BEACH BETWEEN STEVENSTON AND
SALTCOATS AND THE POLICE USED TO CHASE US OFF THE DUNES ITS AMAZING WHAT
WE TOOK FOR GRANTED MY GRAN USED TO TELL US WE WERE BAIRNS WI NO BRAINS
WE WENT SWIMMING ANYWAY.
BETTY I AM FROM STEVENSTON WENT TO STEVENSTON HIGHER GRADE I941 THRU
MAIDEN NAME MCINNES RING ANY BELLS.
I am delighted to tell you that in fact there is or was an air raid
shelter in the back garden of the first 4-in-a-block houses in canal
From: "Sandra Haley" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001
I'm glad to hear that there were some.. when I was little after the
war I used to live in Seabank street just round the corner from
canal street where you say there was one does anyone on the list
know who was responsible for building these things? from what were
they made? how many did they hold? yes and I wonder if they were
put to good use after the war? I also wonder if anyone has heard of
any experiences which proved they were in any way effective.
having missed the end of the war by 6 weeks, my only recollections
about the effects of the war (apart from the thousands of stories my
family continues to tell to this day) is that sweeties were rationed
until 1952. I can remember looking in sweety shop windows and seeing
replicas of mars bars, crunchies etc. and wondering why the
shopkeeper wanted to advertise dusty empty wrappers of chocolate
bars. probably, because of this rationing, my teeth were saved.
Hi Hugh and all
over the past few days its been marvelous reading. Dick, as a pupil at
the higher grade in the fifties I could trace your every step in your
bomb story, most enjoyable, keep them coming.
Alistair I bet your mum is at you constantly to check your email we had
a air raid shelter in our back yard built into the pun hill on the way
up to the High Kirk she may remember .
Sandra I remember my mother telling me every time she heard the sirens
she would grab my older brother and run for the country as she didna
trust grandfathers home made shelter.
This brings the question. was anyone responsible for providing a
shelter or did you have to build your own? someone out there knows !!
sharing the i.d.
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
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.
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
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
In point of fact I remember Warning Notices being posted throughout the
towns showing you what these devices looked like and not to touch but to
contact the 'polis'.
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.
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)
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
Any recollections? DM