May 7, 1941
DATE OF DEATH
of 12 Darndaff Road. Wife of Duncan Kennedy. Died at 12 Darndaff Road.
A blitz victim has spoken for the first time about the horror of losing his family in the attacks.
On that terrible night Jim Kennedy, now 70, lay buried in his dead mum's arms.
Later he discovered she had been killed on impact, along with his sister.
But now he has broken his silence as he plans an emotional trip to view the exploded Second World War bomb on display in the McLean Museum, reported in the Telegraph last week.
Jim, of Weymouth Crescent, Gourock, said: `When I saw it in the Telegraph it brought back memories. I was thinking was it something similar that hit us, was it smaller or larger? The bomb is a piece of metal but it symbolises so much more. When I go to see it, it will bring back recollections of those sad events.` The former planning engineer is one of many local people who are passing on their memories of those fateful two nights 63 years ago to the Greenock museum.
It is a joint project with the BBC to record the stories of people in Greenock who lived through the Second World War.
The Kennedys lived in the middle flat of a three-block tenement in Darndaff Road.
On the night of 6 May 1941 they cowered in the hall, which took the biggest impact when the deadly bomb landed.
Four of the Kennedy family were at home. Jim (11) and his sister Helen (16) survived but his other sister Margaret died along with his his mum, Helen.
His dad Duncan, and brother Duncan jnr, who both worked in the shipyards, were on nightshift. Jim's other two brothers were in the army.
Recalling the night, Jim said: `I was in my mother's arms and I was not aware she was dead. I heard my sister who died scream. I don't remember feeling anything, maybe it was the comfort of being with my mum.
`My other sister was above the debris shouting for help. When the volunteers came I was stretchered away. I remember going down Catrine Street and it was hell. People were screaming and dying everywhere.` Jim suffered severe head injuries and was in Law Hospital for four months before he found out his mum and sister were both dead.
Jim recalled: `I have no memorials or pictures of my mum or sister, everything was destroyed that night. I am the only one of my family left now. This is the first time I have ever spoken about it. I never talked much about it to even my wife Jean, my children or my grandchildren, to protect them I suppose.
People don't talk about the blitz. It is important though that the younger generation know the story.