THE 80th anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz will be marked in the Scottish Parliament this week in a debate led by SNP MSP Gil Paterson.

The fatal raids will also be commemorated through a booklet with personal statements and tributes from key political figures, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh.

Other commemorations planned by West Dunbartonshire Council, ­including a live orchestra ­performance of a specially commissioned work by the Royal Scottish National ­Orchestra and the presentation of medals to services involved in helping the people of Clydebank, have been postponed until November due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Provost William Hendrie and Bailie Denis Agnew will pay their respects over the weekend by laying wreaths on behalf of the council and a memorial plaque will also be unveiled.

Agnew said it was difficult to comprehend the horror and devastation of the raids that claimed a total of 1200 lives, injured 1100 people and left thousands homeless.

“On this 80th anniversary, we remember not only the hundreds of residents who lost their lives but also the surviving citizens whose lives changed forever over the two nights of relentless attacks,” he said.

“It is hard to comprehend the ­horror and devastation that ­survivors witnessed after the attacks – it is ­immeasurable. Entire streets were reduced to rubble and the survivors’ resilience, sheer determination and indomitable spirit to go on and build the town of Clydebank is remarkable and commendable.”

READ MORE: Orchestra to honour memory of Clydebank Blitz on 80th anniversary

He thanked the RSNO for ­producing a “wonderful” piece of music which he said would keep the ­memory of victims alive for many years to come.

While Glasgow suffered the highest number of fatalities in the Second World War, Luftwaffe raids on the nights of March 13-14 and March 14-15, 1941, at around 650, the burgh of Clydebank was hit worst in proportion to its population of about 50,000.

According to an official count in 1942 the Clydebank raids killed 528 people and seriously injured 617.

The main targets were the armaments factory in the Singer Sewing Machine works, John Brown & Company’s shipyard, and Beardmore’s engine works but the industrial premises escaped relatively lightly while bombs damaged most of the 12,000 houses in the town with 4300 ­completely destroyed.

Nearer the river, tenement housing stood close to the town’s industries, and here some of the worst casualties occurred.

Eighty people died when several houses in Second Avenue were hit. In Dalmuir, a cluster of tenements took direct hits from high explosive bombs. In Pattison Street there were 43 fatalities, and when a high explosive bomb destroyed the end tenement at 78 Jellicoe Street, 31 people died, including 15 members of the Rocks family.

The Scottish Parliament debate will pay tribute to the bravery of members of the public and of the emergency services as well as the crew of the Polish Navy destroyer, ORP Piorun, who “courageously and voluntarily” drew fire on the vessel as it was docked for a refit at John Brown’s shipyard.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra will mark the anniversary today in an online performance of a specially commissioned work called Clydebank ’41