About 5.30pm on Monday 28th August 1916, some boys were amusing themselves on the banks of the river Clyde, near the dam at Low Blantyre.
It was still light, a warm evening and the children were playing at the riverside. It had been particularly rainy for the few days previous so it was a welcome change for them to be outside that week.
One of the boys was ten year old, John McKenzie , the son of Alexander McKenzie, miner, who resided at 6 Middle Row, Blantyre Works, Low Blantyre. Over zealous, young John suddenly fell into the water, which was at the time in spate.
Seeing the horrifying situation, one of his young companions held out a long stick to the drowning lad, but he failed to catch it, went under the water and was not seen again that day. The boys ran off to raise the alarm, with many adults responding.
Dragging operations commenced hat evening, but were hindered by a lack of adequate equipment and indeed finding a boat in the first place. For six days, the volunteers dived and searched the river with grappling hooks until the unfortunate boy’s body was eventually recovered.
John McKenzie is just one of many dozens of people who have drowned in the River Clyde. The bend on the river particular bad for underwater currents. Combined with the dangers of deep parts of the river, the weir and industrial rubbish on the riverbed, this stretch of the river is still very dangerous. Having highlighted so many drownings via this website over the years, it’s a reminder to all, even in this modern era to avoid playing on the riverbank, especially at high spate.
The mills had largely been demolished by that time and would have looked similar to this photo during that incident. John McKenzie is remembered here today.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Joseph Allan To many lost there good friends also
Blantyre Project Sorry to read that Joseph. Over the years, I’ve listed out many dozens of people who have lost their lives in that stretch of the river. I’ll upload the list to Blantyre Project this week.
Marion MacKenzie Beaman John MacKenzie was my granddads brother, it was my grandad, James MacKenzie his big brother who pulled him out the water when he was found…. Jim MacKenzie, Jim Mackenzie, James Mackenzie, Billy Mackenzie, Isabella Johnston McShane.
Blantyre Project How remarkable Marion. It never fails to astonish me when connections are made by readers, to these stories over such a long time ago.
Anne Irvine How sad. But unfortunately it’s still claiming lives
Jackie Mackenzie Sadly missed