The Ferry that saved Glasgow
On the 18th-19th September 1940 the Tyne-built Riyal Navy light-cruiser HMS Sussex was lying in Yorkhill basin, Glasgow when a lone home from a Luftwaffe bombing attack struck her and started a large fire onboard. Within minutes it became evident that the fire could spread to the cruiser’s magazines causing a major explosion and destruction of the City’s West End, Patrick and Govan.
All homes in the vicinity were quickly evacuated. The master of the two-year old elevating deck Vehicular Ferryboat No 4 took two Glasgow fire appliances on board. The ferry went alongside the stricken warship and the fire appliances backed up to the safety gates and dropped their suction hose baskets into the river as seen in the first picture.
After 24 hours disaster for the warship and city was averted due to the brave action of the fire-fighters and the ferry crew.
HMS Sussex was Hadley damaged and required a two year refit before she could return to active service.
Almost two years after the bombing HMS Sussex returned to the Clyde, berthing at W.H.Arnott, Young’s ship-breaking yard in Dalmuir where her demolition began on 23 February, 1950.
Vehicular ferry No 4, built by Ferguson’s Brothers, Port Glasgow, in 1938. Used mainly on the Govan ferry crossing.