This is a song by a local songwriter, who produced the version you hear in the background accompanied by the children of St Stephen`s Primary School, Clydebank in aid of St Margaret`s Hospice in Clydebank. The song was arranged and recorded by Mick and Ben MacNeil at Mix Studio.If you enjoy the song then all donations to the Hospice would be gladly received.

A Bankie Lad - by Ian Ingram


 


 

 


 

A  BANKIE LAD
Beneath the Old Kilpatrick hills
Alang the river side                                                                                                       
They built the toon whaur I was born                
Aroon the barns o Clyde

And there the holy city lies
Whaur I spent my young days
And whaur I was the night they blitzed
Oor toon and set it ablaze

(Chorus)
A Bankie lad, a Bankie lad, a Bankie lad am I
Though I may wander far frae hame
Clydebank is whaur my roots lie

The Germans sent their first air fleet
In nineteen forty one
The sky was clear thirteenth o' march
The blitzkrieg had begun

Doon through the Vale o Leven swept
The Luftwaffe`s mighty force
Their Heinkel bomber`s lighting strike
O aw that lay on their course

(Chorus)
A Bankie lad, a Bankie lad, a Bankie lad am I
Though I may wander far frae hame
Clydebank is whaur my roots lie

They struck Dalnottar`s oil tanks
The glow was seen frae afar
And Singer`s wid yard lit the toon                     
As bright as ony star

I ran doon Second Avenue
Whaur deid and wounded lay
For Radnor Park was no the place
Tae stroll aroon on that day

(Chorus)
A Bankie lad, a Bankie lad, a Bankie lad am I
Though I may wander far frae hame
Clydebank is whaur my roots lie

For two lang nights they pounded us
morale was sinking low
evacuees poured oot the toon
and some wae naewhere tae go

Wi' aw that they had left in life
in bogeys barras and prams
they walked away frae crumblin hames
nae point in staunin for trams

(Chorus)
A Bankie lad, a Bankie lad, a Bankie lad am I
Though I may wander far frae hame
Clydebank is whaur my roots lie

Noo help was sent frae near and far
we started work there and then
we`d built that toon they knocked it doon
and so we built it again

And naebody knows that`s wisnae there
the suffering some folk went through
aye they paid the price six hundred lives
aw Bankies folk that we knew

(Chorus)
A Bankie lad, a Bankie lad, a Bankie lad am I
Though I may wander far frae hame
Clydebank is whaur my roots lie

Words & Music copyright Iain Ingram

" I wrote this song in the early eighties and I based it on my fathers, account of his personal experiences living in an area, which was to become a major target for the Germans during the Second World War.  Their main aim was to destroy the shipyards, such as Beardmores, John Browns and Yarrows.  The finer details come from two books one entitled ,The Clydebank blitz, by a Dr I.M.M. McPhail who was the Pricipal History Teacher at Clydebank High School, the other ,The history of Clydebank compiled by John Hood. "

My family have lived in the Clydebank area for over a hundred years ever since my great-grandfather, William Ingram, left his fathers farm in Turriff near the Moray Firth to seek his fortune in Scotland`s industrial heartland.  Moving into the village of Hardgate at the turn of the century he found a thriving community with a cotton mill industry and it was there he settled down.  (Hardgate, and the neighbouring village of Duntocher, was then not part of the Burgh of Clydebank).  He gained employment in one of the mills, married a local girl, a Miss Peggy Henderson and they moved in to a mill cottage to start what was to become a sizeable family.  My grandfather was one of eleven children, two of his younger brothers died when they were young.  His brother William Junior and a number of his sisters emigrated from here to various parts of Canada and America, the remainder all moved out of the area leaving my Grandfather as the only son to carry on the family name in Clydebank.  The mill cottages no longer exist but the path where they were situated is still visible close to Duntocher Burn.

Clydebank was created a Police Burgh in 1886 and was fast becoming a major industrial town employing thousands in the shipyards, engineering works and the Singer Sewing Machine Factory.  At the outbreak of the Second World War, both my grandfather and my father`s older brother, Willie, were working in shipyards on the Clyde, my grandfather in John Brown`s yard and my uncle in Yarrows.  My father had just started his working life as a grocer with the Clydebank Co-op.  Everyone went about their daily lives comparatively unaffected by the war until the evening of the 13th of March 1941 when the war came to their doorsteps.  What followed were two consecutive nights of bombing by the German Luftwaffe.  The worst hit areas were Parkhall, Dalmuir, and Radnor Park known locally as the Holy City.  Whole families were wiped out.  First aid posts were set up to care for the injured and dying.  My Mother at that time lived in Rowardennan and along with her brothers and sisters watched Clydebank burning from high on the slopes of Ben Lomond.  Little did she know at that time that her future husband was helping out as a runner carrying bandages and anything else from one place to another. 
During these runs he witnessed the full horrors of war, dead and injured people, demolished buildings, total devastation.  These sights would haunt him for the rest of his life.

After the Blitz, the family had to evacuate to Braco in Perthshire as part of their house was badly damaged during an air raid.  The gable-end was partly demolished.  When they returned to Clydebank, the Co-op were unwilling to give my father his old job back as by now he�d reached the age for call up.  During this interim period, he too worked in the shipyard until he received his papers to report for duty to a camp in the south of England where he served with the R.A.F regiment.

My Uncle Willie, although eligible for call up was exempt, as were all tradesmen and apprentices, working in the shipbuilding industry and he remained in Yarrows throughout the war and indeed for the best part of his working life.  My father�s younger brother Jack also made a career for himself in Yarrows eventually becoming shipyard manager and receiving an MBE for his services to the industry.

Clydebank eventually recovered from the scars of war but it took many years.  The old bombsites were my adventure playgrounds back in the 1950s when I was growing up.  Nowadays there is little visual evidence to suggest anything horrific ever took place.

Although I now live in the neighbouring district of Bearsden, I still regard myself as a Bankie. The people, the town, the river, and the Kilpatrick hills have provided the inspiration for a large proportion of my songs.


 


 

 


 

 


 


 

 


 

 

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