Clydebank Blitz 14 March 1941

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Colin Campbell
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Location: Glasgow

Clydebank Blitz 14 March 1941

Post by Colin Campbell » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:14 am

Found this historical piece and thought it worth saving here.

"The oil tanks at Old Kilpatrick set on fire by incendiary bombs and a large Norwegian tanker FERNCOURT was moored at the oil wharf.The river was completely closed to all traffic owing to the large number of unexploded mines.
On 15/03/1941 the wind changed putting the tanker in grave danger of catching fire. WARRIOR, CHIEFTAIN and RACIA (?) dispatched from Greenock. Faulty liasion prevented them from proceeding further than Dumbarton by the river patrol. After returning to Greenock however, were once again dispatched to assist FERNCOURT and arrived alongside on a strong ebb tide.
Owing to flames across the wharf it was not practicble for the pilot to board the tanker from the shore.Thereupon the master of the WARRIOR, skipper Malcolm McIntyre, volunteered to to pilot the vessel to a berth in Glasgow. His offer accepted, WARRIOR and RACIA made fast.The CHIEFTAIN under the command of skipper Thomas McKeague made fast astern. Soon after they sailed at about 5pm, when off Renfrew, a land mine exploded under WARRIOR lifting her almost clear of the water, The CHIEFTAIN let go to assist WARRIOR , but the RACIA having also suffered damage was able to keep ahead of the ship which had sheared violently under the impact of the explosion and was making for the Renfrew Ferry slip.
Skipper McIntyre , using the ships engines cleverly steered clear of the slipway and proceeded upriver to berth safely at King Georg V dock.
FERNCOURT 450ft long. No mean feat of seamanship in the handling of the vessel under the circumstances.
CHIEFTAIN assisted WARRIOR alongside the collapsed pier at Renfrew where she sank after her crew were taken off.
Eventually lifted and re-floated on 25 March and after being examined in Queens Dock it was found that machinery was completely wrecked and for the most part not repairable. Her hull also suffered severely from the blast.
She was towed to Port Glasgow and after extensive repairs returned to service 12/10/1941. Steel & Bennie January 1957. "

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Re: Clydebank Blitz 14 March 1941

Post by Brianh » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:45 pm

That is quite a tale, had the Ferncourt caught fire and probably sunk it would have blocked movement on the river for some time.

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