A WELL-KNOWN local artist has opened a Clydebank Blitz memorial exhibition at the museum in the town hall.

Tom McKendrick says his display will feature unseen photographs alongside his paintings, maps, diagrams and sculptures depicting those devastating March air bombings 81 years ago.

The six-week event was planned to mark the 80th-anniversary last year but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown implemented across the country.

But now Tom’s work will again be on show following previous shows in 1991 and 2018, with him stating this year’s exhibition might be his last.

The exhibition was opened last Friday night by Councillor Bailie Denis Agnew, with Tom giving a personal tour through his collection.

And on a recent sneak peek of the artwork ahead of its opening, the Post caught up with Tom about his life’s work.

Clydebank Post: A map displays the location of the bombs of the BlitzA map displays the location of the bombs of the Blitz

He said: “This will be the last time this show is ever shown. This is the final one as I don’t think they are going to commemorate after this year. So, this is the last one.”

Tom was born and raised in Clydebank shortly after the war ended and at age 15, he served as an apprentice at the famous John Brown’s shipyard, where he worked on big liners like the QE2.

But he always had a creative itch that needed scratching and in 1970 he was accepted into the Glasgow School of Art.

Most of his artistic life has been spent documenting the horrors of the 1941 Blitz, putting on exhibitions around the country as well as in his hometown. 

His aim with the show is to educate a new generation who might not yet know the story.
“The primary target at the time was oil because the U-boat campaign was going on at the time,” said Tom. 

“Thameshaven had been bombed, all the big places with all the oil tanks had been bombed because they were trying to cripple, they were trying to get Britain into submission.

Clydebank Post: The exhibition is free of charge and open Monday to FridayThe exhibition is free of charge and open Monday to Friday

“There’s a bit in the book about the Luftwaffe had filmed, had literally photographed Britain, it was the first aerial survey of Britain, was committed by the Luftwaffe in 1938, not 1939.

“When you look at the numbers on the sheets, they were bloody good at it, they were very thorough.”

This collection has been amassed through years of research and by talking to those affected by the Blitz and Tom has dedicated his life to his trade.


Read More: Clydebank Blitz: Dedication ‘saved life of clerk’


His exhibition is open between 9am and 4.40pm Monday to Friday and is free to everyone. 

Guests will receive a free book with the visit detailing the story behind the exhibits.