Morrisons of Lionel lost in River Clyde tug

Stornoway Gazette, 26 September 1941
Two brothers from Ness lost their lives last week when a tug was blown up in the River Clyde. The disaster is believed to have been due to an unexploded bomb which had been embedded int he river bottom after the March blitz.

The Ness victims of the disaster are Murdo Morrison and John Morrison, sons of the late Mr and Mrs Angus Morrison, 30 Lionel. Murdo, who was 49 years of age, was a foreman with a Glasgow shipbuilding firm, having been in the same employment continuously for the past 22 years. He was a married man with three of a family. He served throughout the Great War, coming through without a scratch. In the March blitz, his home in Clydebank was damaged and it was only quite recently that he and his family had returned to it.

John, who was 40 years of age, was married only 6 months ago to Mary Maciver, 32 Lionel. His home was on his father's croft at 30 Lionel. He had been employed for the past 2 years with his brother's firm and prior to that he had worked with the firm on several occasions over a period of years.

Murdo survived the explosion for some hours and had regained consciousness in hospital before his death. John's body has not so far been recovered. Much sympathy is felt for the sorrowing widows, for Murdo's children and for their brothers and sisters. Two sisters are resident in Lewis and a third in Chicago, there is a brother in New Zealand and another brother on the Paisley constabulary.

Workmen and coloured seamen in a nearby ship rushed to help in the rescue work when the explosion, which shook a two-mile area and brought people out of their houses in alarm, occurred. Tugs were about to tow a large merchant ship out of the basin when the explosion occurred. Debris was thrown high into the air and the tug sank. Several of the crew were blown into th ewater. Another climbed up the superstructure as she sank. A rescue picked him off in time. Coloured sailors launched small boats to help in the rescue work. They picked up the tug captain. One man swam to an unconscious seaman and brought him to safety. A workman who was standing on a jetty was killed instantly; a companion died in an ambulance. Splinters and blast injured other men, who were taken to Glasgow Western Infirmary.
Hundreds of people streamed out of a nearby factory thinking an air raid had started. As they stood looking up at the sky, the works ambulance shot past them and the workers rushed after it.
"all kinds of debris were shot high into the air," one of the workers told a reporter. "When we came near to the river, we saw the tug going down in front of our eyes. The coloured sailors had boats lowered like lightning and they picked up three men who had been blown into the water. Another fellow - just a lad - climbed higher and higher off the deck as the tug sank under him. He was saved just as it disappeared under the water. "A mast had been split, but I did not see much other damage on the tug's deck".

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