When our puffers went to war

Doon the wahter for Glasgow fair was replaced by tours of duty in enemy territory for our Clyde steamboats.

Doon the wahter for Glasgow fair was replaced by tours of duty in enemy territory for our Clyde steamboats.

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A new publication of great significance to wartime and steamship history has been completed almost 25 years after the death of its author.

The story of the role played by Clyde steamers during the 1939-45 conflict has been completed by friends of southside resident Peter G Herriot who met an untimely death in 1989.

Herriot was a leading member of the Clyde River Steamer Club (CRSC) whose expertise lay in steamers during the World War II years.

His extensive research left a legacy of his partially finished manuscript, draft notes, research material and correspondence to be drawn together to produce a limited edition publication, and to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The paddle steamers that carried commuters and tourists to the islands, resorts and beauty spots of the Firth of Clyde in peacetime summers found themselves undertaking very different duties, far from home, under the White Ensign.

Their turbine steamer consorts served as troopships and tenders, while some ships remained at home to maintain the essential ferry services to the islands.

The stories of these ships are told with the aid of eye-witness accounts from the men who served aboard and illustrated with 50 evocative photographs.

“Steamers at War” is released this week and can be ordered via the CRSC website crsc.org priced £11.95 (UK postage included).