70th anniversary of tragedy at Dalzell Works

Harry and Catherine Clark on their wedding day

Harry and Catherine Clark on their wedding day

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This month marks the 70th anniversary of the death of Craigneuk man Harry Clark at the Dalzell Works.

Harry was killed in January 1946 when material fell on his head from a magnetic crane as he worked at the ‘pit face’.

Having married Catherine Fisher in 1936, Harry started working at the Dalzell mill alongside his brother-in-law Jimmy Fisher where his father-in-law ‘Irish Bob’ was a foreman.

Bob wasn’t actually Irish, he was from Montrose, but acquired the nickname as he was in charge of the Irish navvies.

Bob’s nickname was actually unusual at the time as every Fisher, including his son Jimmy, tended to be called ‘Bud’ after the famous American cartoonist of the day, Harry Conway ‘Bud’ Fisher.

Harry’s son Russell Clark, well known for his involvement with the Talking Newspaper, was just three years old at the time of the accident.

He said: “I don’t really remember my father, but I do remember him taking me to the steelworks when I was about two and that left quite an impression on me.

“I don’t know what actually happened the day he died, I was too young to really comprehend, all I know is the material fell from the magnetic crane and struck him and they sent for my Uncle Jimmy so he could break the news to my mother.

“Whether there was a power cut, which apparently was quite common at the time, or some other malfunction is a mystery to me

“The company gave my mother a pension of five bob a week to look after me, which was nothing even back then and she got a job working in the post office.

“Even that money stopped as soon as she remarried when I was 12, they really didn’t hang about.

“When I was older I was told I would be guaranteed a job in the office at Dalzell due to what happened to my father, but I wasn’t interested and decided to go in to the civil service.”

Catherine died of a heart attack in 1967, which Russell believes was linked to his father’s death.

He said: “After my father died my mother had a tough life trying to raise me on her own and I think in the end it just all became too much for her.”