Clydebank Blitz 80th anniversary ceremonies postponed

Commemorations to those who lost their lives in the Luftwaffe attacks are usually held in March.

Clydebank Blitz 80th anniversary ceremonies postponed West Dunbartonshire Council
The Clydebank Blitz devastated the town in 1941.

Ceremonies to mark the 80th anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz will take place in October as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The laying of wreaths and unveiling of a new plaque will still take place on a smaller scale in March, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) commissioned to record and film a piece of music to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Luftwaffe’s attacks on the town in 1941.

Members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s cultural committee agreed on Monday to also look into the production of a Blitz booklet ahead of the ceremonies.

George Hawthorne, the authority’s manager of democratic and registration services, said: “I suggest that the committee suggests holding the medal presentations round about the same time as the live concerts take place, and not in March as previously planned.

“I appreciate this is slightly disappointing. The medals may still arrive on time but there is a small risk they won’t.

“The working group has suggested that the wreath laying and unveiling of the plaque take place in March, but this would mean only two people meeting outdoors, which would mean perhaps only the Provost and one other person would be able to carry out that task. There would be no formal commemoration.”

Chairman Bailie Denis Agnew agreed that postponing the medal ceremony was sensible and the “best way forward.”

Speaking about the wreath laying he said: “If the committee are agreeable, I believe we can adjust to the situation we are in.

“There will be no event, just the laying of the wreaths, just like we did on Remembrance Sunday.”

The RSNO are also to record and film a piece of music which is estimated to cost the council £21,550.

The recording was originally planned to take place in Clydebank Town Hall but because of social distancing measures the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is the only venue big enough to host it.

Baillie Agnew continued: “This piece of music will be played in our schools, and maybe even our schools might be able to learn it.

“This is a national orchestra who are very keen to perform something of high quality. If you want something of quality, you have to pay for that.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl added: “I would like to thank RSNO for their kind offer of the supply of the orchestra, it is a fantastic gesture.

“It does seem like a high cost but £20,000 is not a large sum of money in the grand scheme of things. I think it is a worthwhile spend from the culture budget.”

Story by local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter.