Back from the Dead


1904 Suspension Bridge wmThe people of Blantyre have had a comedy week of events presented to them owing to the supposed drowning of a young man, who resided in Low Blantyre.

The drama opened when one night in April 1928, the man had a “scrap” with another at the river bank on the Clyde at Blantyre.

This was not a serious nature, but had been witnessed by many and that night he failed to turn up at his home. The next morning his vest and scarf were found the river bank. This gave rise locally to the rumour that he was dead, in the river. The Blantyre Police took the matter up, but after careful inquiries they realised that the man on a former occasion had been reported missing under similar circumstances, and had later turned up in Engand.  However, this was still a missing persons case.

Further inquiries progressed but two or three days later the rumours became more pronounced and his worried family still knew nothing of his whereabouts. A boat was brought from Motherwell, and two well-known local divers and swimmers, William M’Call and John Robertson, gave their services, and dragged the river for two full days.

The sensation was brought to an abrupt termination when the news flashed through the parish that the “drowned” man was actually “recuperating in Barlinnie Prison” on his majesty’s pleasure.

It appears that after the fight the man had crossed the suspension bridge, and was arrested by the Bellshill police in the early morning when he would not give any account of his name. At Airdrie J.P. Court he was sent to prison for five days for trespassing on Nackerty Colliery grounds and was taken straight there not wanting to mention who he was. Blantyre Police had no reason to put that case to the one of a missing drowned man.

I have to wonder what his wife or parents would have said after the week was up!

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

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