I served a 4 1/2 year apprenticeship in Glasgow with James, Young & Cunningham Engineering in Robertson Street. This, coincidentally was the street where the Campbeltown buses used to park up when they arrived in the city. When I was 16 years old I moved to Campbeltown to work at the Andrew Douglas clothing factory. I met my future wife, Christine, there and we married in 1970. I was employed in the Campbeltown Shipyard from 1970 till 1976. As I had already served my engineering apprenticeship I went straight to work at as a plater. I worked with Davie Davis, “the Yank”, Willie McIntyre and Ralphie Hill, amongst others.
Davie Anderson, former plater at Campbeltown Shipyard. Photo courtesy of Jan Nimmo.
The Shipyard had an important place in the town. I remember that no one would try to drive along Low Askomil, towards Trench Point, at 4.30 pm on a week day! There were many subcontractors in the town who did jobs for the yard: McKinlay and Blair, the Clydesdale Bank, who processed our wages (Pay-day was on Thursdays), Andy Oliver worked for Kelvin Hughes (radar installation), Davie Wilkinson, an electrician, Les McMillan, also an Electrician, McFadyens Contractors brought in materials, D. McNair & Sons, fuel suppliers, and there was plenty of work for hotel staff at the Argyll Hotel, The Royal Hotel and the White Hart Hotel (accommodation and launch functions). Wallace’s, who had the furnishing shop in Long Row, supplied carpets for the boats. There were smaller contractors like Jimmy Nimmo, who had a workshop in Glebe Street, and who assisted with the fabrication of unusual items.
The yard also worked with the Harbour Masters as sometimes the boats would require fitting out at the quay.
On the 26th November 1972 there was an explosion on board the MV Argosy INS 79 (Yard No. 11), and this resulted in the fingers of my right hand being amputated. After two years I returned to work, and after a brief spell in the tool store I went back to construction work onboard the boats.
I left the yard in 1976 to work for an oil and gas company, and after having worked in several countries over the years, I settled in Canada for 13 years and now I am retired and living in Cyprus.
MERCY FLIGHT AFTER SHIPYARD EXPLOSION. An article published in the Campbeltown Courier on 30th November 1972. Courtesy of Campbeltown Library.
SHIPYARD ON STRIKE – Re-employment Dispute. An article published in the Campbeltown Courier on 20th June 1974. Courtesy of Campbeltown Library.
SHIPYARD STRIKE SETTLED. An article published in the Campbeltown Courier on 27th June 1974. Courtesy of Campbeltown Library.
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