Document of the Month - February
Blanefield Land Mine, 14th March 1941
On 13th and 14th March 1941, Clydebank was hit by two heavy air raids by the Luftwaffe. The attack resulted in 569 deaths and the destruction of the town. On the night of the 14th March, the village of Blanefield was also hit. A land mine dropped by the Luftwaffe exploded in the village resulting in the death of four individuals.
The land mine exploded in the area known as Sunnyside. At the time, Sunnyside was occupied by evacuees, including those who had fled from Clydebank the previous night. Clydebank evacuee Margaret Wood and her two children, John and Isabella, were killed along with John Stockdale who resided in the adjoining block.
More information about the casualties can be found here:
The Stirling County Council collection contains various government circulars, internal circulars, and internal correspondence concerning administration during WW2. They cover various topics including food production at schools, educating Polish children, air raid precaution at schools, the rationing of materials used for teaching and wartime nurseries.
The explosion of the landmine in Blanefield is noted within the internal circulars and correspondence by referring to the damage to Strathblane School House.
County Architect A. N. Malcolm reported that ‘most of the windows facing South and East of the School and Schoolhouse were blown in’ as a result of the land mine in Blanefield. The school log book for Strathblane notes that the school was to be shut for a week as ‘repairs had to be made’. On the same day as the explosion, 89 pupils attended the school along with 24 evacuees.
Information concerning the land mine at Blanefied was censored in March 1941. Reporting was banned with the raids on Clydebank, Blanefield and neighbouring towns receiving little coverage. Moreover, newspaper reports from Strathblane seem to show that life continued as normal in the weeks following the raids.
Unusually, there is almost no reference to the air raid Blanefield in the Stirling County Council minutes. Acknowledgements to air raids were made on 18th March when it was noted that rest centres in Balfron and Bonnybridge were to re-open following the defusing of land mines in the area. The first acknowledgement to damage in Blanefied, however, is reported on the 8th April 1941 when they report the damage to the schoolhouse in Strathblane.