A WORLD War Two victory parade was held in Helensburgh in June 1946 — and the search is on for a photograph of it.
The search was sparked off by a request to Helensburgh Heritage Trust from Jane Cooke in Ryde, Isle of Wight, on behalf of her father, Roger Bartrum.
Jane wrote: “My dad was stationed at Rosneath in 1946 awaiting demobilisation from the Royal Navy and also preparing for the Victory Parades which took place in June that year.
“Apparently three squads from Rosneath went to the parade in Glasgow and one squad went to the Helensburgh parade — and Dad was a member of the squad at the Helensburgh event.
“The Glasgow parade featured in the Scottish daily papers the next day, but dad never saw anything about the Helensburgh parade. We were wondering if there is any record or possibly photos of it in the local newspaper of the time or in an archive somewhere?”
The local weekly newspaper of the time, the Helensburgh and Gareloch Times, included a surprisingly brief report of the parade, but no pictures.
The report, headed simply ‘The Parade’, stated that it assembled in East King Street Public Park and was 15 minutes late in starting because of the late arrival of the Govan Burgh Band.
It continued: “It was under the command of Lt Cdr Pickering, R.N., and was led by the Govan Burgh Band.
“The units taking part were from the Royal Navy, W.R.N.S., Sea Cadets, R.A.F., Polish Medical Unit, British Legion, Helensburgh Pipe Band, Red Cross Nurses, Boys Brigade, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Brownies and G.T.C.
“The route followed was by East King Street, Charlotte Street, to the Saluting Base at the Henry Bell Monument, where Provost Lever took the salute, to William Street. Thence, via Princes Street and Sinclair Street, to the place of dismissal at the Victoria Hall.
“It was a fine sight and the streets were crowded with spectators. All the units were smart and marched well, although possibly the detachment of W.R.N.S. caused the most favourable comment, their alert appearance and dignified bearing won golden opinions.
“The display of flags and bunting throughout the town was disappointing, but the procession route had been well decorated with flags lent by the Naval Authorities.
“Among those who accompanied the Provost were: the Magistrates and Councillors of the Burgh; Captain R.P.Selby, R.N., H.M.S. Rosneath; Captain D.McGilloway, R.N., H.M.S. Revlis; Captain P.H.Calderon, R.N., H.M.S. Kent; Major Horbaclewski, Officer Commanding Polish Unit; Miss Nance Anderson, M.B.E., W.V.S.; Miss C.M.Gardener, M.B.E., Red Cross County Director; and Mr Alex Hart.
“Later in the morning wreaths were placed on the War Memorial by the Provost and a representative of the British Legion.”
The G.T.C. was the Girls Training Corp, organised nationally during the war for young girls as an equivalent to the various Cadet Corps set up for the boys. It was disbanded in 1947.
The object was to train girls in various skills that might prove useful if they had to join any of the Women's Services. It also equipped them with some knowledge to help the Civil Defence Department in the event of invasion or further attacks on the U.K.
William B.Lever was Provost from 1945-52.
H.M.S. Rosneath was the combined operations shore base with the U.S. Navy. H.M.S. Revlis was actually the seafront mansion Cairndhu, later an hotel and now a nursing home, which had been requisitioned for war use and was a base for degaussing operations.
HMS Kent was a cruiser launched in 1926 and reduced to ‘Category B Reserve’ status in January 1945, laid up in the Gareloch in March 1945, put up for sale in 1947 and broken up at Troon the following March.
The Trust would be delighted to hear from anyone who can supply an image of the parade. Please use the Contact Us facility on the home page of this website.
- The photo top right is of the 1918 Victory Parade in Colquhoun Square.