In April 1947 came, all the way across three thousand miles of the Atlantic from New York a four-year-old Scots boy. Clarence M’Donald, flew alone to live with his grandparents in Blantyre.
Clarence played happily with his toys on the flight over on a Pan- American Airways liner. When the plane arrived at London airport, it was expected he’d be met his granny and granddad. But nobody met him. Loud speakers called for his friends or relatives. Officials hurried round looking for them. All the time, Clarence stood alone waiting and wondering what all the fuss was about. Nobody came. Eventually a telephone message came from his aunt at Croydon that she would meet him in London, as his_grandparents, Mr and Mrs Barrett, of Hardie Street, Blantyre, had not turned up. Kindly officials took Clarence to London. ” I love flying. I played all the way over,” was Clarence’s comment on his journey. Clarence had been expected to arrive 24 hours earlier but the plane was delayed on the other side. His aunt Mona traveled to London from Blantyre on the Thursday. Clarence came from Rossland, British Columbia, where his parents are living. His father was an ex-Canadian airman. The couple met while Mary Barrett was nursing in England. They were married in 1942 in Blantyre. Clarence was born in Britain, and lived with his grandparents at Blantyre until 1946, when he and his mother sailed for Canada to rejoin his father. In Springtime 1947, it was arranged that he should return by air to start his schooling properly in Scotland. He arrived in Hardie Street on Sunday 20th April 1947 after traveling from London with his aunt on the night train.
Do you know Clarence or what became of him. Today in 2014, he would now be 71.
Sidenote: The Plane would have been a Pam Am Constellation , which only started flying the transatlantic route the year earlier in January 1946. This was not only the dawn of comfortable commercial Atlantic flights, but Pan Am had also just won the race to create pressurized cabins meaning they could fly higher and faster. Flight times to cross were at that time a lengthy 20 hours. How a 4 year old occupied himself for 20 hours is beyond me! Regardless of whether he had a choice in the matter, he was a brave soul indeed to face such a trip on his own.
Source: The Sunday Post archives