However, it’s noticeable how the numbers of people attending are falling, which is a sad reflection on how our community dwindles each year. I miss those people who turned up every year at the small ceremony at Old Dalnottar Cemetery to show their respects and remember those who perished through enemy action of March 13 and 14 1941, a two-day period which destroyed much of our town, although in some ways was also a defining moment in our collective history.Prior to the blitz, Clydebank had a particular character like many small towns, growing from a collection of small villages around the Barns O’ Clyde, with shipbuilding and engineering being central to its foundation and industrial expansion. Following the blitz the town changed, not just physically but psychologically, in terms of how its citizens demonstrated their resilience in the face of devastation. Not only was the town left scarred with almost all of its housing stock wiped away, survivors bear emotional scars that are forever imprinted in their memories. I have found those who survived that terrible atrocity have a particular view of the experience, stoical but also emotional, which comes across when you speak to anyone who really opens up, they take you into a moment of their history, which at times is both tragic and profound. Some stories are related in a matter-of-fact tone which belies the true horror of what occurred, and others, so visceral you comprehend the overwhelming pain and loss that so many endured. What binds those survivors together is their shared experience, this provided comfort and strength to those who carried on, who persevered in the face of almost insurmountable odds. Thankfully, Clydebank suffered just two nights of intensive bombing, because it’s unlikely the town could have survived further blitzing. Perhaps the casualties would have been too great to enable this community to carry on if the scale of bombing continued the way it did in other parts of the UK. It hardly bears thinking about and I doubt many would be here today.

At this time of remembrance, I always think about the civilians who suffered blitzing in the towns and cities across our country, London, Coventry, Belfast, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leith, Portsmouth, the list is almost endless, and let’s not forget those cities throughout Europe that were bombed almost to extinction. Yet, despite the extreme damage and human cost, these towns, cities and communities did survive and in rebuilding, demonstrated the same stoicism the people of Clydebank showed. That makes me proud and privileged to be able to remember those who were lost in 1941, and to show gratitude to those who rebuilt our town, in both the physical and emotional sense, which enabled it to emerge stronger with determination and purpose. Therefore, I believe we, and successive generations should not forget.