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The Clydebank Blitz

Updated Tuesday, 20th July 2010

What was it that made Clydebank such a tempting target for the Luftwaffe?

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During World War Two, the production of sewing machines at Singer’s was replaced by material for the war effort, including guns, ammunition and components for tanks and other military vehicles. Meanwhile, in the shipyards along the upper and lower Clyde reaches, warship construction was now the order of the day. The presence of such key sectors of the war economy was to make Clydebank a target for the Luftwaffe.

In March, April and May 1941, Clydebank and Glasgow were amongst the key towns and industrial centres of Britain targeted by German bombing. While exact figures are difficult to find, it is estimated that around 1,000 people were killed and a further 1,000 seriously injured in the raids on Clydebank alone. From a housing stock of approximately 12,000 houses, only seven remained undamaged with 4,000 completely destroyed and a further 4,500 severely damaged. An estimated 35,000 people, from a population at the time of around 47,000, were suddenly homeless.

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