Today, we’re remembering a wee soul whose short life was tragically cut short in a most terrible accident.
On the warm wartime summers day of Friday, 20th August 1915, some young boys took to playing at Stonefield Road. Amongst them was little John McDermott, aged 4, the son of miner Patrick McDermott.
That afternoon, wee John left his home at 115 Stonefield Road, Blantyre and met up with his pals in the courtyard area at the back of the dwelling houses at that address.
The boys had been enjoying themselves around the ash bins area. As they played with paper moving it from one bin to another, a large piece of paper caught fire having come into contact with the hot ashes. Kids being kids and seeing some fire, got nearer, their adventurous spirit taking over.
However, a sudden gust of wind appeared from nowhere, taking up the piece of lit paper, blowing it from the courtyard over towards wee John. Playing outside in summer shorts and bare feet, John would have been horrified when the paper entwined around his bare legs, some substance on it, sticking the whole lit parchment to his skin.
Amidst screams, help was fetched but not before some disfiguring damage had been done. Suffering bad burns, John was medically attended to at home for another 8 days until 28th August before his condition worsened. Spending all this time in shock, he was removed to hospital for better care and it was there shortly after, he succumbed to his injuries, passing away.
It’s not a nice story in any shape or form, but these stories need told. They are fact. Part of our history. Families grieved for four year old John McDermott, who is remembered here with this tale of caution about the dangers of playing with fire at any time.