Johnstone History Museum
Johnstone History Society • Scotland

The Night Bombs Fell On Johnstone
All Johnstone citizens who lived through the WW2 period will remember the air raid shelters , the blackout and the ARP Wardens shouting Get that light out, as well as the issue of gas masks.

It is estimated that over 1,000 bombs of one kind or another fell in and around the town during hostilities, yet casualties were surprisingly light compared to other places such as Clydebank.

Indeed Johnstone took its allocation of homeless from there putting a lot of them in the Sandyflats scheme to be returned after the war was over. Indeed arrangements had been made for expected casualties with a mortuary in a lock-up in Church Street which ended up not being used.

One night in particular is worth mentioning. It was the night of Thursday, 24th October 1940 when a German aircraft around 4am in the morning dropped a parachute mine at North Mains Farm, Houston, which didn't explode, then a bomb which exploded at the Trinity Manse, Graham Street, Johnstone, and another one further up at the house at no 50 Graham Street, at the corner of Ulundi Road, which also exploded.

George Pirie, a policeman on duty that night was called to the scene to join the emergency services there. At that time Johnstone had only one police car, kept at the Co-op Undertakers in Church St. As he attended with his Inspector, he did not notice in the dark a window frame which had been blown out on the road and drove over it bursting the vehicles tyres. Nine people were injured, miraculously none killed. The plane then dropped a bomb of the 1,000 kg variety at the Milliken Park sawmill, next to the bridge over the River Cart which failed to explode. This was removed after it had been made safe by 91 Bomb Disposal Squad, Royal Engineers, to their bomb sterilisation site at Barr Meadow, Lochwinnoch on 7th November 1940.