Eye-witness to the mystery sinking of HMS Dasher

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A history talk in Bearsden on the mystery surrounding the HMS Dasher was brought to life when two witnesses to the tragedy attended.

The talk by John Steele to Milngavie and Bearsden Histroical Society at Kilmardinny Arts Centre looked at the government cover-up surrounding the sinking in March 1943 in the Clyde following an internal explosion, which is thought to have occurred because of faulty fuel storage. A total of 379 men died out of the 528 on board.

Following the talk the society chairman, Hamish MacDougall, introduced surprise guest, 86-year-old Alison Brown, who has lived in Milngavie for many years, and was a schoolgirl at the time of the sinking.

A member at the meeting, Bill Lees, from Bearsden, said he had witnessed the sinking too.

Mr MacDougall recounted Alison’s story to the audience, adding: “She was about 16 at the time and travelling home to West Kilbride on a bus. She was gazing out and admiring the perfect shape of Ailsa Craig when she spotted what she thought was a passenger liner steaming along on the horizon. It was a clear day. However when she glanced out of the window a short time later on her seven mile trip, she was astonished to see no sign of the liner. Where had it gone?”

Alison had to wait more than 50 years for the answer.