HC1-019 - Holidays in Cairndow (1941)

Memories of a holiday at Cairndow during WW2

Gran Davidson and I had come up from Alston to spend a holiday with Aunt May and Uncle Angus McGilvary at Laundry Cottage.  This was the beginning of April 1941.

On the 8th April 1941 at 3.15am, two landmines were dropped near Ardkinglas House.  One landed on the road beside the dam making a huge crater.  The second in the field (Daley gate) in front of Ardlkinglas house which is no more than 80 – 90 yards from the Square.

The experts said that what saved the Square was that the bomb landed on soft ground, damage was to windows and wooden doors.

Myself and an evacuee were in bed in my Aunt May’s bungalow, we were wakened by the noise of the first bomb and dived under the bed clothes.  My Aunt and Uncle came to see if we were okay.  The bed was covered in glass and wood, the window had blown in. (We were terrified).  The roof of the Laundry had been raised by 2 inches.  My Grandmother had taken refuge under one of the laundry tables, anyone knowing the tables will know it was a safe place to be.

The blast of these mines was terrific and caused most of the damage.  All the glass in the greenhouses was blown out.  The large hard wood doors in the garages at the Square were in splinters.

One near miss was to Mrs Callander’s cottage.  A large pane of glass from her bedroom window was embedded in the wall above the head of the bed.  Many people went to see this!

One man (Jake Speirs), who lived on the other side of the loch, wakened by the first mine saw the flash and heard the bang of the second one (so the story goes) went back into his cottage and said to his wife “That’s Ardkinglas had it”.

One thing that caused a laugh was; S.R.Johnstone, (Bobby), of the Home Guard, his job was to go round on his motor bike to see if anyone was injured.  In his haste to do his duty, when returning back home realised his boots were on the wrong feet!

When things got back to normal people were picking up pieces of green silk rope,

this was from the parachute which held the mine.  Some pieces were found 2 miles away.

Needless to say for a few days we were terrified to go to bed.  On our way back home to Alston, after our holiday in Cairndow, we had another fright.  My Gran and I had to stay overnight in Glasgow at a friend of Aunt May’s.  A blitz that night blasted our windows in again!

A trying time for a 9 year old boy.

Walter Davidson 2014

Memories of a holiday at Cairndow during WW2 1941
Walter Davidson years later outside Laundry Cottage

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