Scotland`s War Memorials
I have a large collection of War Memorial images, both in the UK and abroad and this section is due to be revamped with memorials listed in their respective regional locations etc*
Alexandria (see Bonhill)
Situated in Alexandria`s Christie Park, this memorial is known as both the Bonhill Parish Memorial and the Alexandria Cenotaph. It lists the names of residents of several communities in the Vale of Leven who died serving their country in the First and Second World Wars. The memorial was designed by Mr D. Y. Cameron R.A. of Kippen with the architects being Messrs Bell & Harvey of Stirling. Cameron appears to have based his design on the London Cenotaph which stands in Whitehall. The memorial was unveiled on Saturday 28 May 1921 by Colonel Sir Iain Colquhoun of Luss, the Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire.
Bowling lies on the north bank of the Firth of Clyde, between the towns of Clydebank and Dumbarton. The western end of the Antonine Wall, which was built by the Romans, began here and continued eastwards to the other side side of country, with various forts, camps, baths, and other structures built along its length at strategic points. In more recent times, Bowling also marks the western terminus of the Forth & Clyde Canal and the basin, accessed from the river via a sea-lock, can be a busy place in summer.
The War Memorial at Bowling sits in a small park between the A814 Dumbarton Road which runs through the village and the main A82 Glasgow - Fort William road. Backed by trees, the memorial`s setting is usually quite drab but in springtime and summer a carpet of bluebells and the adjacent cherry trees blossom to add splashes of colour.
Made of granite, the memorial takes the form of a rustic cross with a Celtic wheel-head. It was erected in July 1920 and lists the men from the Dunbartonshire village who fell in the Great War. An additional panel was added to commemorate those who were lost in World War 2.
The Clydebank War Memorial
The Clydebank war memorial takes the form of the clock tower of the Town Hall on Dumbarton Road. A set of fixed bells and hammers are contained within the tower and there is a shrine against the Hall Street ascpect of the building with a figure at the base. The memorial was dedicated on Sunday 8th June 1931 and unveiled by Sir Iain Colquhoun. The inscription reads `The Glorious Dead 1914 - 1918` `This Shrine with the clock and chimes is dedicated to the memory of the Men of Clydebank who laid down their lives in the Great Wars `1914-1918` `1939-1945`. Non Ominus Moriar.`
On Remembrance Day 2009 West Dunbartonshire Councillors, joined the Lord Lieutenant of West Dunbartonshire, the Provost, invited dignitaries and members of the local community to witness the unveiling of the Clydebank War Memorial, and re-dedication service following improvement works made to honour a commitment made way back in 1922 which was to include a Roll of Honour of The Fallen from the Great War.
Clydebank during WW2 info* / Clydebank Blitz etc
Solidarity Plaza, opposite Clydebank Town Hall in Dumbarton Road, was created as part of a major regeneration programme for the town and its riverside. The Plaza features references to Clydebank's heritage and industrial past including this 10 metre-high granite monolith which highlights the town's links with Poland and its shipbuilders. It is hoped that the wall at the Plaza will eventually incorporate a memorial bearing the names of all military personnel from Clydebank who lost their lives, not only in both World Wars but in all conflicts since.
This memorial is dedicated to the crew of the Polish Destroyer O.R. P. Piorun (English translation: Thunderbolt) for their actions during the Clydebank Blitz of 13 March 1941.
The warship, under the command of Eugeniusz Pławski (right), was at John Brown`s shipyard for essential repairs when the bombers struck.
Rather than seek shelter the crew manned their vessel`s anti-aircraft guns and put up a tremendous barrage despite the bombs and land-mines exploding around them which set the town ablaze.
The Solidarity Plaza memorial to the ship`s crew was unveiled on Sunday 13 March 1994.
The following images, also from the Imperial War Museum archives, show the Piorun`s crew at Gunnery practice in late 1940. One image shows the sailors studying an Admiralty aircraft recognition chart, although identification wouldn`t have been an issue during the Clydebank Blitz as all the planes overhead at the time belonged to the Luftwaffe.
The Beardmore Memorial and HMS Ramillies
HMS Ramillies (Pennant number: 07) was one of five Revenge-class super-dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. She was laid down on 12 November 1913, launched on 12 September 1916 and commissioned on 1 September 1917. Despite her vast firepower, Ramillies did not see any action during the conflict as by that time both the British and the German fleets had adopted a more cautious strategy due to the increasing threat of naval mines and submarines.
The Beardmore complexes at Dalmuir and Parkhead, Glasgow, were heavily involved in the war effort with the company producing aircraft, ships, tanks and artillery pieces. The shot on the left shows Torpedo Boat Destroyers (TBDs) under construction. The other is of the then Minister of Munitions, Winston Churchill inspecting a production line for heavy guns during a visit to Beardmore`s Munitions Works in Parkhead on 8 October 1918.
This superb steel sculpture of the Revenge-class battle-ship by Tom McEndrick took the artist three years to complete and now takes pride of place atop the Beardmore Memorial in Clydebank. HMS Ramillies was built by William Beardmore & Co at their shipyard in Dalmuir, Clydebank, and not only was she one of the most famous warships to be built on Clydeside, but served in both World Wars.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939 Ramillies was stationed at Scapa Flow in Orkney, with the British Home Fleet and although by that time obsolete, her 15 inch (381mm) guns were a valuable asset. She went on to escort convoys, not only in the North Atlantic but in the Mediterranean and Indian Oceans and she was the first ship on which a young Prince Philip served.
In May 1942 Ramillies was torpedoed by a Japanese midget submarine while she was at anchor in Diego Suarez harbour following the Allied invasion of Madagascar. Two of the enemy vessels managed to penetrate the security screen undetected and succeeded in sinking an oil tanker and severely damaging Ramillies. The warship was, however, back in action by June of the following year.
On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Ramillies used her guns to great effect, knocking-out the Berneville coastal-defence battery before Allied troops went ashore on Sword Beach. In the days that followed the initial landings she continued to provide fire-support by engaging targets far inland. She went on to fire more than a thousand 15-inch (381mm) shells during the Normandy Campaign.
Ramillies was withdrawn from active service on 31 January 1945 and by 1949 had fallen victim to the breakers` yard. One of her 15-inch guns, however, can still be seen at the entrance to the Imperial War Museum in London.
RMS Lancastria Memorial
Numerous Allied vessels, many of which were Clyde-built, whether naval or merchant, were sunk in seas and oceans around the globe during the Second World War with horrendous loss of life. One such vessel, also built at Beardmore`s yard, was the liner Lancastria. When hostilities commenced in 1939 she operated as a cargo vessel until April 1940 when she was requisitioned as a troopship, in time to enable her to assist in the evacuation of Allied forces following the fall of Norway.
Just two weeks after Operation Dynamo, when the remnants of the British and French armies were rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, RMS Lancastria was directed to the south of France where another mass-evacuation of troops and British nationals was taking place. By the mid-afternoon of Monday 17 June 1940, Lancastria was severely overcrowded with somewhere between 4,000 and 9,000 persons crammed on board. When she was approximately 9 nm (17 km) out of St. Nazaire, a sustained air attack by Luftwaffe bombers scored three direct hits which caused the ship to roll over and quickly sink to the bottom. Nearby Allied craft came to the stricken vessel`s aid and managed to rescue 2,477 persons but tragically 1,738 of those on board perished. (Image © Imperial War Museum).
Fearing that news of the incident would have a detrimental effect on morale, the British Government tried to censor any reports but the New York Times, then the British Press decided to publish the circumstances the following month.
Efforts to raise funds to mark this tragic episode were successful and this long-awaited memorial now stands on the banks of the River Clyde, in the grounds of the Golden Jubilee Hospital (below) in Dalmuir.
This is a fitting location as the memorial stands on the site of ship`s birthplace, the Beardmore & Co Yard.
This memorial, on the north bank of the Clyde close to where the Lancastria Memorial now stands, was photographed in 2003. It commemorates the men from the William Beardmore company who died in the Great War. I believe that this memorial has since been relocated but I`m unsure as to where. The centre slab reads `This Roll of Honour was originally located at the entrance to the Offices of William Beardmore & Co Limited, Dalmuir and re-erected on this site in 1984, bears the scars from the Air Raids on the nights of the 13th & 14th March 1941.`
The Dumbarton war memorial stands on the north bank of the Clyde at the edge of the town`s Levengrove Park and bears the names of the Fallen from both World Wars. It was unveiled on Sunday October 1st 1922 and consists of a sandstone cenotaph with a bronze winged figure representing `Victory` looking out from the north face.
The town`s crest, which features an elephant with a stone tower on its back, has been carved into the stone as has a Celtic cross. The elephant is said to represent Dumbarton Rock and the tower, Dumbarton Castle.
There is a striking black and white photograph from World War 2 which shows a lumbering Sunderland flying-boat taking off from the Clyde, directly in front of Dumbarton Castle. Although the town`s connection with shipbuilding is well known its contribution to aviation is less so. As well as building ships, the yards at Dumbarton were involved in the construction of aircraft during both World Wars. During the First, Denny`s built a small number of aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps.
By 1936 the Authorities recognised that another war with Germany was a distinct possibility, and steps were taken to improve Britain`s defences. The Government set up a number of satellite or `shadow` factories, not only to increase the overall output of military aircraft but also to move production away from well known centres to lessen the chance of severe disruption should concentrated industrial sites connected with the war effort be bombed.
The Blackburn Aircraft Company`s facility at Dumbarton, which began assembling aircraft by 1938, was one such operation. The extensive factory site covered the area where the football ground and sheds, seen above, now stand and the adjacent area that can be seen being cleared for a housing development. At its peak the factory employed around 4,000 workers who built several different types of aircraft, including the Short Sunderland flying-boat.
One of the best-known aircraft of the Second World War, the massive Sunderland was knick-named the `Flying Porcupine` by the Germans due to its impressive array of defensive firepower. It served in various theatres of war and proved successful in a variety of roles including that of a submarine-hunter with Coastal Command.
The Dumbarton factory went on to build around 250 of these magnificent machines out of a total of 749. Initially a purpose-built barge transported completed planes out onto the Clyde for launch, however, in 1939, a slipway was constructed which allowed them to taxi into the water under their own power and manoeuvre, ready for take-off.
Only five examples of the Short Sunderland remain, including UK preserved examples at the RAF Museum, Hendon, and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, seen here. The only airworthy example is Serial Number ML814 which served with Canadian and Norwegian squadrons during the Second World War and is currently an exhibit at the Fantasy of Flight aviation museum in Florida.
The last Sunderland was completed at Dumbarton in October 1945 but that was not the end of the story; these aircraft took part in the Berlin Airlift and later, the Korean War and many, like ML814, were converted to airliners for use on long-haul routes to exotic destinations.
Sunderland Mark I, L2163 DA-G, of No. 210 Squadron RAF based at Oban, in flight over the Atlantic while escorting Canadian Troop Convoy 6 (TC.6), inbound for Greenock.* When flying-boat production ceased the Dumbarton factory changed to the production of aluminium pre-fabricated houses to meet the massive post-war demand for additional housing. The factory here finally closed in 1960 and the buildings were dismantled.
This war memorial stands in a small garden within Hardgate`s Goldenhill Park, opposite the Antonine Sports Centre, in Roman Road. Inscriptions on panels around the base list casualties from the Dunbartonshire villages of Hardgate and Duntocher who died in the First and Second World Wars. The inscription on the front reads: `Erected by the Inhabitants in Proud and Loving Memoray of the Men of Duntocher and Hardgate who Laid Down Their Lives in the Great War 1914-1918`.
The Shandon War memorial, in the form of a sandstone Celtic cross, stands on the east side of the Gare Loch immediately south of the Clyde Submarine Base at Faslane. The uppermost quotation on the plaque reads `To The Glory of God in Remembrance of the Young Men of Shandon Who Gave Their Lives in the Second World War.` Six names are listed including those of two Merchant Seamen.
Additional images and information can be found on my blog, Clydeside Images.com. Further War Memorial and Military History content, not exclusively relating to Scotland, may also feature in the galleries of individual countries on this site.