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Project Title: Waterways & Recovery Bays

Exhibition: Port Number One

"It was the most important sea port in the country". The Ports of Greenock and Gourock were very busy throughout the war with landings of survivors from ships sunk by enemy action, American troops and convoys. One of the first arrivals was the SS Athenia – the first ship to be sunk in the War. It was a passenger liner carrying 1,103 passengers. The steam passenger ship “The City of Benares” was full of children who were being evacuated to Canada. It was sunk on the 17th September 1940, only 13 of the 100 children on board survived, 175 adults were killed. The survivors were brought back to Gourock. Between May 1942 and December 1944, 339 troop-ships arrived in the Clyde from the USA. They brought with them 1,319,089 GI’s.

Assets in this exhibition:

Port Number One

Exhibition Image One

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Description

"It was the most important sea port in the country".

Transcript

Port No. 1

Isobel Hamilton
The Clyde was a very, very busy place, it was Port 1. It was the most important sea port in the country. It was important because it was far away from great populations like London. It was considered safe because we had a boom across the Clyde which prevented foreign warships from Germany coming in.

Alf Heaton
The boom defence went across from the Cloch Lighthouse across to a point across on the other side of the river. There was a big net strapped across there and two bar boats operated it from the middle. When the ships were leaving, they opened it enough to let the ships through and closed it up again after because submarines could slip through very easily especially in high tides.

Margater Chatters
It was fantastic. It was fantastic. I’ve seen the whole fleet out there on the Clyde.

Alex Hunter
The town was busy because there was a lot of servicemen came into the town. There were a tremendous amount of service people, Navy, Army, Airforce. Generally the town was quite crowded, quite busy. But there was always (…) boat maybe sailing in from the tail o’ the bank and getting sunk. There was a sadness to it. Great spirit of comradeship.

Archie McPhee
Canadians, Norwegians, Americans, of course and pretty well any ally country you care to name were represented in Greenock. They generally got on very well although there was the occasional clash on West Blackhall Street on a Saturday night.

Margaret Gaffney
Working in the post office was a great memory because we had people from all over the world coming into the post office, from all different countries and it was a very interesting place to be, the post office.

Nell McFadden
At Pierhead in Gourock, where the gardens are now, not many people will remember it; they built a flat concrete building which was used by the soldiers who were stationed locally. Down at the pier it was ongoing all the time. It wasn’t just soldiers going out it was some coming back. The American soldiers, there used to be the WRVS on the pier and these ladies were always there 24 hours a day, to my knowledge, with cups of tea as soon as they came off the boat or before they went on the boats or on the trains.


Margaret Cochrane
You see, there used to be a place up there for the Navy and the WRENS and the Navy personnel. It was called the HMS Monk in Port Glasgow. They had a monkey and it sat beside the guard man that guarded the gate and you called him the monkey was called Nelson. He had one eye and an arm.

Alex Hunter
I actually met a German spy. He was dressed like a plain clothes policeman. You know what a plain clothes policeman is? A detective. Well they were as well wearing a uniform because they wore a soft hat and a long coat and you could see that was a polis. He was dressed like that but he also spoke funny. He asked me about the Ladyburn Engine Works. Now we never knew it as that. We knew it as the Ladyburn sheds where the trains went in to get their fires lit etc…steam trains. We knew about that but we didn’t know about engine works, that was alien to us. He also asked me about the tannery. Now we didn’t know such a word as a tannery, we knew about a tan works – we passed it going to school actually. So when I went home I must have told my mother; I can’t mind my father being alive at the time, so I must have told my mother. The detective came up and spoke to me, interviewed me I suppose, as a wee boy. I never heard anymore of it until lately, within the last year, I met somebody who said the spy that I’m talking about was arrested in Gourock.

Margaret Chatters
You’ve seen sometimes a whole fleet at the tail o’ the bank. We had a boom defence right across the Clyde that U-boats couldn’t get up. When the Luftwaffe came over they were trying to get the ships at the tail o’ the bank and all the works, Scott’s Shipyard, Rankin and Blackmore’s and all them. But there were so many ships at the tail o’ the bank firing guns it kept them up to the top of the town. They weren’t allowed to go home with any bombs on board, they had to drop them so the bombs were all dropped on houses – Dunlop Street, right along Drumfrochar Road where I lived, all the bombs were dropped there.

Alan Jubber
Seeing all those convoys coming in and watching the ships get together to go out, take troops out…I used to spend quite a lot of time looking out a window at what was going on the river. It was quite interesting then.

Archie McPhee
Standing at the top of Lyle Hill before the Cross of Lorraine was there, it would have been about 1943, I counted the ships in the estuary there and I counted over 300. At this very moment I find it hard to believe that I did that but that’s the figure that has stayed with me over all these years. 300 ships – war ships, merchant ships, small ships, big ships, battle ships, perhaps even one or two of the transatlantic liners like the QE and the QM. The strange thing is it gets very little mention, that I’ve seen anyway or heard post war years when they’re reminiscing about the battle of the atlantic and the convoys and all that sort of thing. It’s always Liverpool, always Liverpool. It rarely gets a mention.

Margaret Chatters
One of my friends, who now lives down at the bank at Skelmorlie, she just got married to Russell Kirk and they were only married I think about 8months when he was blown up with the Hood. The only thing that was left of the Hood was a marine’s cap floating in the water and do you know we said that might have been my Russell’s. And that was out biggest ship, supposed to be unsinkable. The Bismarck sank the Hood and the HMS Sheffield sank the Bismarck.

Alistair Alexander
The U-33 was a second submarine sent by Admiral Donitz to lay mines in the Clyde. He had originally sent U-32, commanded by Paul Buchel and it left Wilhelmshaven just before New Year and arrived at the mouth of the Clyde on the 5th of January 1940. But, because of strong Royal Navy patrols and difficult situation, he couldn’t lay mines where he wanted to and he had to return and Donitz was exceedingly angry with him and really relieved him of his command and said, ‘I must send another boat’. He was desperate to lay mines to try and catch a British capital ship, say the Hood or the Warspite or the Barham and of course the Queen Elizabeth was still at Clydebank and if he could block the Clyde that would be a big coup for the Germans. The U-33, commanded by Hans von Dresky, arrived on the Clyde on the 12th of February, 1940. At 2am in the morning they were sailing up near Ailsa Craig. HMS Gleaner, a Royal Navy minesweeper, was on a triangular patrol. It was like a gatekeeper. A look-out, a very sharp eyed look-out, spotted a wisp of water and it was in fact a periscope which was up and then down again. They realised, because they had ASDIC, that there was something there. They thought it was a submarine. Lieutenant Commander Price ordered an immediate attack and they turned round and they shadowed the submarine and immediately dropped depth charges on U-33. Von Dresky took the submarine down to the bottom. At that point in the Clyde it was roughly about 100ft deep and they thought, well if we just don’t make any noise and we just stay here we’ll maybe throw them off the scent. But ASDIC was there and Gleaner wasn’t going to let go. More depth charges led to U-33…suddenly water was leaking in and they realised that there was no way out. Von Dresky decided he would abandon ship. He blew the tanks and the submarine came up to the surface. Gleaner was ready to go into action with her 4 inch gun but the Germans had their hands up and they jumped into the water. Now you can imagine, February, 5 o’clock in the morning, bitterly cold, waves, darkness. A lot of the men would die very, very quickly because of the cold. As it was, almost half of them died and the rest were picked up by the Royal Navy. U-33 was scuttled, Von Dresky scuttled the submarine because the enigma machine, the coding machine was on board and they had to try and prevent it from falling into the hands of the Royal Navy. But within a couple of days HMS Tedworth, a diving ships, was there and it went down and retrieved enigma rotors from the ocean bed and also other documents and information from the submarine, because they actually went into the submarine. This was taken to Bletchley Park in the highest of secrecy, nobody knew anything about it, and it was there to try and help Bletchley Park crack the enigma code and it helped to play a small part in winning the war. The submarine is there, it’s still in a 100ft of water. It’s roughly between Arran and Ailsa Craig and it’s still sitting there upright. It’s gun is still in position and diving teams have been down to have a look at it and they say there are still spots of oil coming up from the submarine which, as I say, 70 years in February it will have sunk.


Clyde River Patrol

During 1938, the Royal Navy envisaged that in the advent of war,voluntary able bodied fulltime and part-time help would be needed for river patrols on the Clyde to act as a kind of marine Home Guard. They would relieve experienced seamen for duty on the high seas. Consequently, the Clyde Anchorage Naval Service (CANS) was established and yacht clubs advised that there would be a special wartime role for middleaged yachtsmen with good experience in handling motorboats and in marine engines willing to provide a minimum of 24 hours continuous service each week. Recruits only had to allow their names to go on the members’ roll – there was no formal rank structure, naval discipline or training periods and no pay.Yacht club members responded enthusiastically, 500-700 people signing on its roll, as everybody had been assured that the country would have to be in really desperate straits before they were asked to provide their services. Second World War call up to the Clyde Anchorage Naval Service, soon renamed the Clyde River Patrol (CRP) came earlier than anyone expected in the autumn of 1940 as a result of establishing the Clyde Anchorages Emergency Port.

All sections of the CRP were manned 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. A spell of duty lasted 24 hours usually starting at 1700 each day. People had every fourth week off duty. Each section had 2 or 3 patrol boats. One of these craft would be on 24- hour duty, another on 12-hour overnight watch and the third – if any – was the standby boat or undergoing repair.

One main purpose of the patrols was to maintain control of the river – keeping a watchful eye on things, investigating anything untoward and responding to instructions from base such as checking an unidentified vessel. The other duty was to mark, with dan buoys, the position of parachute mines dropped into the river by German aircraft and pass these locations to HMS Spartiate (base ship) after which they were destroyed by the Royal Navy’s minesweepers.

In the event of any aircraft being sighted, a close watch was kept on them and their movements towards and over the river had to be reported by radio to HMS Spartiate (base ship) and noted in the patrol boat’s log book. The aircraft activity to be recorded were their direction, height, general movements and actions. On the occasion of a plane being observed dropping a mine or other object into the river or dipping over the water, a bearing of the position was to be taken by the patrol boat or boats observing it. Thereafter, the vessel or vessels were to proceed with all speed and mark the position by placing a red and white buoy
on the east and west sides of the location.

Extract from: Inverclyde's War (McLean Museum & Art Gallery)


Canadian Troops arriving on the DUCHESS OF ARGYLE

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing Canadian Troops on the DUCHESS OF ARGYLE.

Source

Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer
Location: Unknown
Original Source: A6363 Imperial War Museum


Prime Minister Churchill's return from the Quebec Meeting

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing a view from aboard the tender which brought them ashore, Mr and Mrs Churchill acknowledge the cheers from the ship's company of HMS RENOWN, the battleship on which he sailed from the USA . With them is their daughter Mary. Dated 20 September 1943.

Original caption: MR CHURCHILL'S RETURN, 20 SEPTEMBER 1943, GREENOCK. HMS RENOWN, THE 23,000 TON BATTLE-CRUISER BROUGHT MR CHURCHILL HOME AFTER HIS LONG STAY IN CANADA AND THE US. Mr Churchill acknowledging welcome home cheers from the tender which brought him ashore. With him is Mrs Churchill.

Source

Date: 20 Sep 1943
Contributor: Beadell, S J (Lt) - Royal Navy official photographer
Location: Greenock
Original Source: A19209 Imperial War Museum


Lord Mountbatten at Greenock

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing Lord Mountbatten at Greenock addressing sailors on deck.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer
Location: Greenock
Original Source: A17302 Imperial War Museum


US Senator visiting US Troops at Gourock

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Imperial War Museum collection showing US Senators visiting US Troops at Gourock in 1943.

Source

Date: 1943
Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer
Location: Gourock
Original Source: A18377 Imperial War Museum


General Jacob Devers at Gourock

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Imperial War Museum collection showing General Jacob Devers, Commander-in-Chief, Allied Theater Operations and US forces at Gourock.

Source

Date: 1943-45
Location: Gourock
Original Source: HU92548 Imperial War Museum


Arrival of the Third Canadian Contingent

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Description

Newsreel rushes showing the third big contingent of troops from Canada to arrive in the United Kingdom since December 1939 disembarking at a Scottish port after an uneventful sea voyage across the North Atlantic. Canadian troops cram the decks of a Clyde paddle steamer as they arrive at Gourock .

Source

Contributor: Gaumont-British


QUEEN ELIZABETH in wartime livery

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing QUEEN ELIZABETH in wartime livery

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer
Location: Greenock
Original Source: A17862 Imperial War Museum


QUEEN MARY in wartime livery

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing QUEEN MARY in wartime livery.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer


HM Queen Elizabeth visiting the KING GEORGE V at Greenock

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing HM Queen Elizabeth walking along the focsle of HMS KING GEORGE V at Greenock followed by Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth during a farewell visit before the battleship left to join Britain's East Indies Fleet. The twin and quadruple 14 inch gun turrets can be seen in the background.

Source

Date: 29 Oct 1944
Contributor: Allen, E E (Lt) - Royal Navy official photographer


Blindfolded U-boat prisoners disembarking from HMS ORIBI or HMS ORWEL

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Description

Blindfolded U-boat prisoners disembarking from the destroyer HMS ORIBI or HMS ORWELL at Greenock on their way to internment. They are survivors of U-Boats sunk by coastal command aircraft and picked up by destroyers.

Sixty more U-Boats were destroyed by the Allies in August September and October 1943 - tangible proof of Mr Churchill's statement that we have broken the back of the U-Boat war.

Source

Date: 1943
Contributor: Beadell, S J (Lt) Royal Navy Official Photographer


German POWs

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing German Prisoners of War.

Source

Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer


The Royal Navy during the second world war

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Description

U-boat prisoners at Greenock, Scotland transferring from HMS REVENGE to board a tender en route for internment. Note the pith helmet being carried by the first of the prisoners.

Source

Date: 1943
Contributor: Beadell, S J (Lt) Royal Navy Official Photogrpher


Troops and Supplies Going onto Ships

Exhibition Image One

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Description

Australian troops boarding small ship (probably Clyde steamer), snow on quayside. Troops with food, eating sandwiches. Gourock Pier.

Source

Contributor: London Midland and Scottish Railway Film Unit (possibly shot by Ralph Beck)
Location: Gourock Pier
Original Source: Imperial War Museum BTF 222


View of the River Clyde

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Description

View of the Clyde taken during World War 2.

Source

Date: 194-


SS Athenia

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Description

SS Athenia was a passenger ship, who's trade was between the River Clyde and Canada. Her accommodation consisted of 400 cabins and 1000 berths for 3rd class passengers. The 1st ship master was, Captain J. Cook. This ship was torpedoed and sunk off Ireland in September 1939. Many of the survivors were landed at Greenock on Sept 5.


SS Athenia was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd Of Glasgow in 1923. Her dimensions were Length 526.3 Breadth 66.4 Depth 37.1 and her construction was of steel, twin screw with 6 turbines double reduction engines geared to two screw shafts.
SS Athenia was owned by the Donaldson Line. The Donaldson brothers set up business in 1855 as Shipbrokers, Charterers and Insurance Agents. In the beginning, the River Plate and Brazil were to be their main centres of interest for the brothers and their enterprises. Canada was the principal business of the Donalson Line as well as operations on the Pacific Coast, South America. Their business was the carriage of refrigerated meat and fruit cargos from the Plate, to London and the Continent.


SS Empress of Britain

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Description

Underway at Greenock containing the first batch of Canadian soldiers to arrive in Britain.


Destroyers leaving the Clyde

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Admiralty Official Collection at the Imperial War Museum, taken by a Royal Navy official photographer showing destroyers leaving the Clyde.

Source

Contributor: Royal Navy official photographer
Location: River Clyde
Original Source: A7496 Imperial War Museum


Greenock - the richest town in the country!

At one point in the 20th Century,Greenock was the richest town in the country, if not the world. As a precaution, Britain's gold reserves were taken out of the country. The first shipment was taken by the cruiser H.M.S. Emerald to Canada to be housed in the vaults at Montreal. Many other ships, both fast merchantmen and British warships followed with their consignment of 'fish' as the precious cargo was called. In all, some seven billion dollars of 'fish' had been carried across to Canada, and not one ship was attacked or even shadowed in this biggest financial
transaction in world history.
Extract from : Inverclyde's War (McLean Museum & Art Gallery)


Top Secret Orders for the shipment of gold bullion to Canada

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Imperial War Museum collection showing a Top Secret Document containing instructions to the commanders of the ships EMERALD, ENTERPRISE and CARADOC for the shipment of Gold Bullion to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dated 6 October 1939.

Transcript

TOP SECRET
To:- Commanding Officers
H.M Ships - Emerald, Enterprise, Caradoc

From:- Commander in Chief
Western Approaches

Two million pounds in gold bars is to embarked in each ship for transit to Halifax.
A railway truck is expected to be placed alongside each ship about 0100/7th October.
Each truck is expected to contain 148 boxes each weighing 130lbs.
The total number of boxes is numbered from z.298 to z.741 inclusive.
Guards are to be put on each truck on arrival at the ship.
Embarkation is to commence about 0630 or as soon as daylight permits.
Adequate steps are to be taken for supervision of each box from unloading from truck to storage in ship.
Finally a receipt is to be forwarded to Commander in Chief, Western Approaches on the attached form.
2351/6th October 1939

Source

Date: 6 Oct 1939


Bank of Canada Receipt for Gold Bullion

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Imperial War Museum collection showing Bank of Canada receipt letter for gold bullion at Halifax dated 16 October 1939.

Transcript

Receipt for Bullion
RECEIVED this day Monday 26th October 1939
FROM Captain A.W.S. Agar, V.C., D.S.O., R.N.,
THE FOLLOWING:- One hundred and forty eight boxes (each weighing one hundred and thirty pounds) containing Bullion from the Bank of England. Boxes numbered in accordance with the attached schedule.

Stamped Bank of Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, 16th Ocotber, 1939

Source

Date: 16 Oct 1939


Gold Bullion awaiting shipment at Gourock

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Imperial War Museum collection showing Gold Bullion at Gourock awaiting loading for shipment to Halifax, Nova Scotia in October 1939.

Source

Date: Oct 1939
Location: Gourock
Original Source: MH21943 Imperial War Museum


Gold Bullion at Gourock

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Description

Monochrome copy photograph from the Imperial War Museum collection showing Gold Bullion at Gourock awaiting shipment to Halifax, Nova Scotia in October 1939.

Source

Date: Oct 1939
Location: Gourock
Original Source: MH21944 Imperial War Museum


Boom defence from Cloch Lighthouse to Dunoon

The Firth of Clyde and the long sea-lochs were centres of activity during the two World Wars.
Access to the River Clyde was through the narrowest part of the estuary from the Cloch Lighthouse to the Dunoon shore on the opposite side of the river.
Between them lay two lines of torpedo nets laid with depth charges to deter any ambitious U-boat commander. The Guard ships in between were responsible for opening and closing the nets.
Inside the boom, the ships gathered, bringing supplies from Canada and the USA, the great liners acting as troopships and the Royal Navy ships which protected them.


Cloch Point Boom Defence

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Description

This anti-submarine boom ran from Cloch Point to Dunoon, protecting the Firth of Clyde from attack.


Clyde Boom - Lifting the Great Net defence

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Description

Article from the Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, 31 May 1945

Transcript

CLYDE BOOM
Lifting the Great Net Defence

Another Greenock war-time secret has been revealed by the news that a start has been made with removing the boom. This network of defence stretched from the Cloch Lighthouse to Dunoon—a mile and a half in length.
In a few weeks' time shipping will have an uninterrupted fairway up and down the Firth of Clyde. For years the boom defence vessels have been a familiar sight going up and down the river, carrying large spherical floats back and forward for repair.

EARLY PREPARATIONS

Preparations for the erection of the boom were begun soon after Munich, and when war broke out the great steel net was ready to be put into position and thus seal off the Clyde anchorage: Its row of floats has been noted with interest by thousands of war-time visitors to the Clyde.

Of course before any U-boat could have neared the net its approach would almost certainly have been heard on the Asdic sound detectors and out-post ships farther down the Firth formed an additional protection to the Emergency Port.
WHAT IT COST

The boom was completely replaced six times during the war, and eight boom defence ships were in continuous service night and day. It cost £1,000,000 and made impregnable the Clyde anchorage, sheltering at times some of the greatest concentrations of shipping the world has ever seen.
It was out natural that in nearly six years of war incidents occurred to relieve the monotony of the men of the guardships and these incidents were usually associated with the alarm system. So delicately adjusted are the alarms that any contact with the net set off a series of rocket flares and lit up the waterway. More than once a small boat inadvertently touching the boom set off the flare. One night when the alarm was raised the intruder was discovered to be nothing more deadly than an old basking shark.

VISITS OF ROYALTY

More frequently a strong southerly gale threw up such a weight of water against the net that “action stations” rang out on the guardships. When this occurred at night-time searchlights at once swept the area. Through the gate of the boom passed greet convoys bringing men and material from the United Nations and sending forth the great armies on their tasks of liberation.

Service chiefs and other visitors were among those who inspected the defences during the war years, and at the end of October last year the King and Queen, I with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, when they came to the Clyde to visit the battleship King George V. before she left for the Pacific, went down the firth from the Tail-of-the-Bank. The two Princesses made a special request to se the Clyde's great protection barrier, and the Admiral's barge took them on their sight-seeing trip.

First mention of the boom in the Telegraph was permitted by the Censor a few months before the end of the war with Germany, when the “Boom Defence Concert Party” were to give a performance in aid of Sea Cadet funds. The naval authorities relaxed their formerly strict rules so that the name of the concert party could be advertised in full!

Source

Date: 31 May 1945
Contributor: Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette


U33

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Description

U33 was a German submarine that was sent by Admiral Doenitz under the command of Captain Von Dresky with orders to lay mines in the Clyde Estuary, with the goal of taking out a British capital ship.

U33 was spotted by HMS Gleaner in the early hours of 12th February 1940 just off Arran. HMS Gleaner dropped depth charges, damaging the U-boat. U33 was scuttled by Von Dresky and abandoned by its crew.

Shortly after, Royal Navy divers recovered cogs from the submarine.


U-Boat Warfare 1939-1945

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Description

Vice Admiral Karl Doenitz greets U-boat men on their return from patrol.

Source

Date: 1942


HMS Gleaner

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Description

HMS Gleaner sank the German submarine U-33 in the Firth of Clyde on 12 th February 1940.

Source

Date: 5 June 1942
Contributor: Royal Navy Official Photographer


Enigma Machine

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Description

Enigma 3 rotor machine image. Uncertain whether this machine is a Kriegsmaine or Wehrmacht model.

Source

Date: 194-


Princes Pier Railway Station, Greenock

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Description

(now demolished and the site incorporated within the Clydeport Container Terminal)
During WW2 Princes Pier was used as a terminal for troop transport.

Princes Pier Railway Station, an impressive railway terminus overlooking the Firth of Clyde, was designed by the Glasgow architect, James Miller, and built in 1893 for the Glasgow & South Western Railway Company. The architectural photographer, Harry Bedford Lemere, was commissioned to photograph the building in 1894.
The central part of the station buildings was occupied by the booking office (left) with a first-floor balcony overlooking the water, and flanked by imposing square Italianate stair-towers with tile-hung walls and pyramidal roofs. Curved passenger walkways with verandahs swept out on either side to terminate in arched doorways flanked by smaller decorative towers.
The Glasgow & South Western Railway Company's railway line to Greenock terminated just behind the booking office, and passengers arrived at the pierside by the two curved, inclined walkways. Miller's design of curving walls for the circulation of passengers was to reappear in later stations constructed for rival railway companies at Wemyss Bay, Stirling and Central Station, Glasgow.


Clyde has a Hospital for Damaged Ships

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Description

Article from Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, 14 July 1945

Transcript

CLYDE HAS A HOSPITAL FOR DAMAGED SHIPS
War Record of Floating Dock
(By a Telegraph Reporter)

TO many Greenockians the story of the floating dock anchored off Helensburgh has more than a passing interest. Since this “hospital for ships,” as it might well be called, came to the Clyde in September, 1941, hundreds of Greenock and Port-Glasgow shipyard men have been employed there at one time or another.

But to the general public the dock and all that has been done there has been shrouded in secrecy. Recently I was given facilities to visit the dock and see for myself what sort of things were done. This is an account of its invaluable work there in the last four years.

Carrying eight runs, manned by a naval crew, with a destroyer and flak escort and air cover, the dock reached the Clyde from Devonport after a voyage of six days. It had no trouble from the Nazis on the way; but it ran into a hurricane; and for a day and a night the crew had an extremely rough passage.

OVER 70 VESSELS

Since coming to the Clyde the dock, which is under the control of the Emergency Repair Organisation, has carried out repairs on over 70 vessels, varying in size from landing-craft to the battleships—not the most modern monsters, of course.

First ship to enter the dock was HMS Roberts, a shallow-draft monitor used for close-shore bombardments. A new vessel, the Roberts received her final brush of paint and inspection in this dry basin anchored on the river before setting out on duties which were to take her to the Mediterranean and the beaches of France. In both theatres she gave distinguished service.

Work of the floating dry-dock, is not all of an emergency nature, as many people believe. In fact the majority of the ships dealt with at Helensburgh were in for normal repairs and overhaul. But there have been several “casualties,” some caused by enemy action, others arising from unforeseen causes.

FORMER CUNARDER

There was the case of the Aurania, a former Cunard passenger cruiser transformed into an armed liner for war purposes. One day shortly after the dock had settled itself in this district, the Aurania limped up the river with a huge hole in her bow measuring 60ft. by 30ft. A German torpedo did the damage, but the vessel kept afloat and was able to make her way here under her own steam.

The ship, which measured 520 feet in length, was quickly docked, made watertight again, and then sailed to Devonport for a more complete repair job to be done. Employees of Scotts were responsible for the emergency job. Another “visitor” to the dock was the 30,000 Royal Sovereign which was handed over by the Royal Navy to the Russians some months ago.

A member of the “City” family, The City of Christiana, was outward bound from Liverpool, picked up a rope in the propeller and was unable to do anything about it. She was towed to the Clyde, where the damage was quickly put right, and the Christiana enabled to return to her war-time duties.

Source

Date: 14 July 1945