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Luftwaffe Bombing Campaign
1939-45

Six weeks into WWll, on 16 October 1939, the 1st Air Attack over Britain took place, above the Firth of Forth - 12 of the newly manufactured German "Wunderbomber" aircraft, the Junkers JU88 and Heinkel He111, had taken off around midday from their base on Westerland on the island of Sylt, just off the German coast.  They flew in groups of 3 and their crews soon discovered was at the extreme limit of their bombers’ range. The raid took British Air-defence completely by surprise.  No alarm was sounded, and the performance of the early-warning system gave serious cause for concern.   Anti-air-raid Gunners on the Forth were engaged in a gun-drill at the time, and quickly had to exchange their dummy ammunition for live as the German planes appeared overhead.  The Germans’ target was the Royal Navy fleet and base at Rosyth Dockyard. They damaged 3 Ships: the Destroyer HMS Southampton and 2 Cruisers, HMS Mohawk and HMS Edinburgh;  16 Royal Navy crew died and a further 44 were wounded, although this information was not made public at the time.  Supermarine Spitfires of 603 Squadron ‘City of Edinburgh’ were quickly scrambled from Turnhouse Aerodrome, as was 602 ‘City of Glasgow’ Squadron based at Drem in East Lothian. They shot down 2 Junkers into the Forth and a Heinkel Bomber Inset) off the May Island. The crew of a local fishing boat picked up German survivors. These were the 1st enemy aircraft of the war to be brought down over Britain.  Though the Forth Rail Bridge was placed off limits during this raid, many passengers on a train crossing at the time thought they were the objective.


Aberdeen's Blitz
Aberdeen suffered the greatest number of air raids in Scotland during the 2nd World War, being under attack on 34 occasions.  This devastating effect of the last attack on the night of Wednesday 21st April 1943 when 31 tons of bombs were dropped on the Northern half of the City. Among the areas hit were Hilton, Bedford Road, Ashvale Place and the Northern Co-operative Society, Berryden.

 

26th June, 1940
4 High Explosive bombs are dropped on Tullos Home Farm at Nigg without incident.
30th June, 1940
Approximately 20 Incendiary Bombs are dropped in the area around Greyhope Road and Wood Street at 12.35am
2 High Explosive Bombs are dropped in Greyhope Bay area
Many Incendiary bombs fall on the Torry District of town - the Fiddes Woodyard on Crombie Road is recorded as being hit by "few" incendiary bombs. Victoria Road School is burned out completely, and
Lookout Post 2 on the roof of the school is destroyed. The attack begins at 11:45PM, and the All Clear is signalled at 1:20AM on the morning of the 1st of July.
12th July 1940 - Black Friday
Enemy aircraft appeared suddenly with no warning at 12:45 PM and launched an attack on the Hall Russell shipyard. Approximately 16 High Explosive bombs are dropped on Hall Russell, with the majority hitting the Boiler Works. A High Explosive bomb also hits the London Boat at Waterloo Quay. 25 bodies are brought to the ARP Emergency Mortuary at the Combworks in Berryden Road.
13th August, 1940
An attack comes without warning at 10:50 PM. Trinity Cemetery is hit with an Incendiary bomb, as well as a High Explosive bomb. The latter does not detonate. A High Explosive bomb also falls on a residence in Seaforth Road, and 1 High Explosive and 1 Incendiary fall on the Park Road Court end of Golf Road.  A bomb falls somewhere "about Pittodrie". It does not detonate, and its location is not verified.
High Explosive bombs strike 200 yards West of the entrance to the Torry Battery.
28th August, 1940

1 High Explosive bomb falls on a residence in Forbesfield Road.
High Explosive and Incendiary bombs are dropped on the shore at Nigg at 12.45am.
A bomb crater is discovered in
Hazlehead, near the "Old Garden"
29th September, 1940
13 High Explosive Bombs fall on Torry at 9:30PM, striking residences in Oscar Place, Oscar Road, Grampian Road, Walker Lane, Walker Road, South Esplanade West, the Co-operative Buildings in Menzies Road and the Torry Library.

Menzies Road - Torry
I was a child of 10 in Aberdeen when it started and the action was immediate with one of the 1st German bombing raids shattering a Tenement and a Butcher's Shop in Torry. The first secret was passed on to us at the local Play Centre, which we attended twice a week in the early evening.  There we were visited by RAF officers who taught us how to identify the raiding German planes; we were shown how to use rifles and light machine guns. We were sworn to secrecy - if the church bells were to ring during the night, signalling an invasion, we were to report immediately to the school where there would be transport waiting to take us to the hills, where we would be hidden and taught how to fight the invaders. We were to take no luggage, get there just in our pyjamas if necessary. Don't even tell mum and dad.
High Explosive Bomb hits "The School in Nelson Street".
28th October 1940
A bomb is dropped in the sea in front of the Bathing Station at Queen's Links at 9:56 PM.
31st October, 1940
High Explosive bomb falls on the Broad Hill close to the Beach Ballroom
High Explosive Bomb falls between Broad Hill and Park Road.
High Explosive Bomb falls in McLeod's Yard on Urquhart Road near Broad Hill.
High Explosive Bomb falls on East side of Trinity Cemetery.
3rd November 1940
High Explosive bomb falls somewhere on a farm in Bucksburn.
2 High Explosive bombs fall on Pitfodels House 18.55pm.
Pitfodels House is situated on what was formerly part of the Estate of Pitfodels, owned from the 16th to the 19th century by the Menzies family. The last Laird of Pitfodels, John Menzies, died in 1805, after which his Estate was feued off in lots. The Viewbank House that appears on the 1867 map probably dates from that period, so may have had an origin in the 1st half of the 19th century. Viewbank was subsequently purchased by James Collie, Advocate in Aberdeen and partner in the firm of James and George Collie. It is most likely that Collie ordered the demolition of the older Viewbank and employed Pirie and Clyne to erect the new one in 1881, which was later re-named Pitfodels House 1914 – 1948 owned by John Malcolm Fyfe.  Pitfodels House was owned in the mid 20th century by John M Fyfe, son of John Fyfe the founder of a large local granite quarry works. The business started at Tyrebagger and took over Kemnay Quarries in 1858. His son, who owned Pitfodels House during World War II would have had easy access to good quality granite and it is possible that the granite did not come from the original Viewbank but came from a Fyfe quarry. (Set into the landscaped slope in front of Pitfodels House is a substantial bunker or shelter, constructed of concrete and granite, presumably during the 2nd World War. The bunker is 8.82 m along the South-facing frontage and 9.34m along its N-S axis. The south wall is 0.42m thick and faced with granite blocks.   The construction techniques of this building and the fact that it was built into an earthen bank suggests that it was built as an air-raid shelter. Rooms 1 and 2 are wholly underground and would have been very well protected against bomb blasts.  Civil Defence Records indicate that the North Deeside Road area was the scene of enemy attacks during World War II. On Wednesday 28th August 1940 at 00.45 hours saw 4 heavy explosives and 1 unexploded heavy explosive at North Deeside Road near Braeside Farm, 630M north-east of Pitfodels, 1 unexploded bomb at “The Ridge”, Pitfodels and 2 heavy explosives at Woodbank House, Pitfodels, just 350M to the west of Pitfodels.  On Sunday 3rd November 1940 at 18.55pm saw Pitfodels House being hit by 2 heavy explosives.  One other World War II granite and concrete structure (a pillbox) survives 500m south-west of the Pitfodels structure in the property west of Woodbank House. The land was therefore owned by John M Fyfe during World War II and it is probable that he had the air-raid shelter built for his family, and presumably his staff. His close connection with the Granite Industry would clearly explain the good-quality granite blocks used in the construction of this building.
4th November, 1940
High Explosive bomb was dropped on Harper's at Craigshaw.
Bombs fall on sawmills at Wellington Road, Footdee. Register omits type and quantity.
High Explosive bomb falls near
Bridge of Dee.
While cycling home one evening in the Bridge of Don area when he was aware of planes in the sky behind him, when he looked he realised they were German and too close for comfort, so he jumped off his bike into the nearest ditch and looked up to actually see the bombs being dropped from the aircraft. These bombs he thinks were aimed at the Bridge but hit a Transport Depot or Bus Station.
5th February, 1941
2 High Explosive bombs are dropped in the West of Northfield.
2 High Explosive bombs and one Incendiary bomb fall on Loch Street, destroying McBride's Bar and 89 Loch Street.
2 High Explosive bombs fall on 75
Hutcheon Street, 1 of which fails to detonate.
2 High Explosive bombs fall on
Victoria Dock, 1 of which fails to detonate.
14th February 1941
Two bombs being dropped at Muchals Viaduct by a German bomber as he evaded shells from the Coastal Batteries and Ack Ack from ships in Aberdeen Harbour. George Adie in his war-time diary resolves this issue.
“14th Feb, Raid 52, Air Raid Warning Signal at 11.45am, clear 12.13pm. Two bombs at Muchals viaduct and passenger train machine-gunned. Heard one bomb definitely explode. Several reported sounds of big guns. The bomb which struck the viaduct was a glancing blow on ends of sleepers, which damaged rails on down line. The bomb rebounded off sleepers exploding in a field at some distance. Dull raw day, sky foggy.
6th April, 1941
High Explosive bomb strikes the landward end of the South Breakwater.
20th April, 1941
2 High explosive bombs fall in the Gallows Hill and Park Road area.
6th June, 1941
2 High Explosive bombs fall on Torry Battery; 2 more fall on the nearby Greyhope Cottages.
9th July, 1941

3 High Explosive bombs are dropped on Marischal Street, Regent Quay, Pontoon Dock 2 off Albert Quay, Clyde Street, and the Lime Company buildings on Blaikie's Quay as well as Lookout Post 10 - for which no location is given.
21st July, 1941
3 High Explosive bombs fall, hitting the East end of Commercial Quay near the North Eastern Ice Company building, as well as Marischal Street near Regent Quay, properties in the Castle Street and Justice Street area, and the Caledonian Milling Company store. Other bombs fall but do not explode and are later removed.

Bomb damage at premises at Mearns Quay, adjacent buildings with windows broken, cladding twisted, sign on building reads 'Buildings for Sale, Apply to Caledonian Milling Company Limited, Palmerston Road, Aberdeen', rubble strewn around the pavement, Cooper's barrels in the yard, undamaged tank adjacent. Photographer's location: North Esplanade East. Direction of photograph: Northeast.
24th July, 1941
High Explosive bomb falls on the junction between Clifton Road and Hilton Road.
High Explosive bomb falls on Don Place at 1:30 AM.
High Explosive bomb strikes the junction between Summer Place and Brown Street, Woodside.
2nd August, 1941
High Explosive bomb falls at junction of Auchinyell Road and Garthdee Road (referred to as "Garthdee Farm Road" in register).
2 High Explosive bombs fall into a field near Garthdee Farm.
5th August, 1941

3 High Explosive bombs fall at the Northern Co-operative Society building on Stell Road as well as the Police Cleansing Department on Poynernook Road. A bomb falls 15 yards from the main entrance of W. Hay & Sons Metal Merchants in Poynernook road, but does not explode.
8th August, 1941
Air attack begins at 12.08AM with a High Explosive bomb falling on Menzies Road at the junction with Victoria Road. One person is killed in the attack.
High Explosive Bomb falls on Northern Co-operative store building on North Esplanade East.
High Explosive Bomb falls on South Esplanade East, along with a report of an unexploded bomb which is later cancelled.
18th August, 1941
Ten alerts are given without result during the period of the 8th to the 18th August. At 10 PM on the 18th, 2 High Explosive bombs fall on Grandholm Grove Donside - at the time, this was Bannermill Road. One person is killed in the attack.
11th September, 1941
2 High Explosive bombs are dropped in the mouth of the River Don at 3:30PM.
22nd November, 1941
High Explosive Bomb falls on the Promenade near Links Street, Footdee at 9:10 AM after an alert during which no activity took place at 4.00AM that morning.
A 2nd HE bomb falls on the beach end of Neptune Terrace, Footdee
25th April, 1942
Air attack begins at 10:55PM. 4 High Explosive bombs fall on the City - 1 bomb damages buildings at the junction of Summerfield Terrace and King Street.
Damage is reported from a High Explosive bomb on houses at King Street near Urquhart Road.
A High Explosive Bomb falls on
Lawson's Drapers & Clothiers at 190 George Street.
High Explosive bomb falls at Seamount Place; noted as damaging a Church by the Gallowgate "near the Lads Club".

Gallowgate Church, the misty outline of Porthill School can be seen at the top right side of the picture. As can just be seen, it was high on the hill behind the Lad's Club.   Next door is Forsythe's Butchers Shop.  Forsyth the Butcher 159 Gallowgate.

 

This is inside the Porthill Sabbath building, . This was at the junction of Seamount Place and the Gallowgate. and opposite Young Street.
Four High Explosive bombs fall on the area of Hillhead Road and Westerton Farm, Beildside - one does not explode and is later defused.
7th August, 1942
Air attack noted at 10:26 PM. One High Explosive bomb falls on Raik Road, Poynernook.
High Explosive bomb dropped on Caledonian Mills at Palmerston Road. Poynernook.
Damage is sustained by High Explosive bomb at Labour Exchange, Market Street and Fish Market.
In 1942 Froghall, Gallowgate, King Street, Gordon Barracks and South Market Street were bombed.

Later in the War there was a raid on the Mannofield Reservoirs at the back of the Cricket Grounds and the bombs whistled down on a night Raid, only two exploded.  The next morning we watched the Royal Engineers bomb disposal boys pull another 2 UXB's from a field using a couple of Clydesdale horses borrowed from the local farm.

Wednesday 21st April 1943 - The Aberdeen Mittwoch Blitz - The most prolonged air attack against Aberdeen takes place at 10:17 PM on the 21st of April, 1943. Over 130 individually noted explosive devices fall on Aberdeen, including High Explosive, Phosphorus Incendiary Bombs, and Cluster Bombs.
Jeannie Sinclair a relative was strafed on Rose Street and died.


Aberdeen was the 1st City, with the City of Regensburg, Bavaria - (home of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 Factory) in 1955 that entered into a Partnership.  It is filled with life through student projects on various current issues, Cultural and Sporting activities in the area as well as the cooperation of youth organisations.  There is a close relationship between the 2 Universities. The Community College of Regensburg has developed in recent years, sustainable and interesting projects with the Arts Development team in Aberdeen.  For example, a book was jointly published reporting on the elderly of both Cities by their post-war experiences - precious memories that have not been lost through this cooperation for future generations.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013