12th July 1940 - Black Friday
hours, raids took place off Aberdeen and in the course of one of these a
shipyard was bombed. No damage was sustained by ships being built or under
repair. The raider, a
was shot down by
He111 prototype nevertheless had provision for 3 gun positions and a
2,200lb (1,000kg)-bomb load. Early versions featured a conventional 'stepped'
cockpit and nose section and were used during the Spanish Civil War with
great success where their relatively high speed and good defensive armament was
more than a match for Republican fighters.
In 1938, a
new version of the He111, the He111P began to leave the production lines and
featured a completely redesigned wing and nose with extensive glazing and
off-set to improve pilot visibility and this was to become the trademark of the
type for the remainder of its service. Another feature of the 'P series was a
streamlined ventral gondola which replaced the retractable 'dustbin' fitted to
earlier models. Gruppen of
He111Ps saw service in Poland, but it was not until the invasion of France that
large numbers of defending fighters were encountered, and by the time of the
Battle of Britain many German units were flying the He111H which suffered
from inadequate firepower when attacked.
Damage reported on Spa Street.
Heinkel He111 Light Bomber tasked to attack Leuchars is shot down by
RAF 603 Squadron and crashes into the Aberdeen Ice Rink.
3 High Explosive bombs are dropped on
as well as 2 on properties in
Unexploded bombs are found on the railway line close to the
King Street Bridge.
One High Explosive bomb hits Castlehill
Damage at J C Hogg & Company Granite
in Regent Walk
9 High Explosive bombs fall on the area around Regent Walk and King
Street. One is noted as striking Hogg's Granite Yard.
Street Bomb Damage
Contemporary Film of Bomb Damage
A local topical film showing the impact of the
1st daylight air-raid on Aberdeen on July 12th 1940, known locally as "Black
Friday". The clip shows the
damage caused to buildings and schools by the air raid, it shows people standing
in the street with household furniture retrieved from damaged buildings as well
as one of the German planes shot down during
Showing general bomb damage, Domestic Science School, The Neptune Bar,
strafing damage, and the downed German Bomber at the Ice Rink.
on Hall Russell's Shipyard
Enemy aircraft appeared suddenly without warning at
12:45 PM and launched an attack on the Hall Russell shipyards.
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 in the Combworks at Berryden Road.
Jimmy Jardine tried
several times to join the Merchant Navy, but on each occasion Hall Russell's
refused to release him as his job was classified "essential war work".
At lunch time Jimmy usually played football with friends in the yard. His
Granny sent a message asking to see him on 12th July 1940, so he was not
there when a Heinkel He111 dropped bombs into Hall Russell's Yard at
lunch time that day, but his best friend was among the apprentices killed.
Jimmy eventually joined the Merchant Navy after the war ended.
A German bomber reportedly tasked to attack
was intercepted over the City, and attacked by
and eventually shot down into what was to be the
New Ice Rink
During a dog fight between a
German Heinkel He 111
was shot down. The
had taken a hammering from the
Squadron Leader Quacker?
who was awarded the
for his actions. The
pumped in a couple of .303 rounds as it came in to crash on
Aberdeen Skating Rink.
By that time most of the the crew had all left the plane.
'Quacker' may have been a Nickname as it
does not appear on the DFC List
I also remember quite clearly when
they were building an
It was during the day and this German plane came across and everybody just stood
and watched. It was shot down and it crash landed in the
new ice rink
which was never completed and was demolished after the war.
She lived with my grandparents, her
brother and sister in a tenement style flat 3 or 4 stories up at
Aberdeen just off the town centre. Her story concerns an air raid which must
have been in daylight — she heard engine noise, looked out of the window to see
a German bomber go past close enough for her to clearly see the markings and
expression on the Pilots face. The aircraft had been hit by anti-aircraft fire
and the pilot was fighting a losing battle to control it. The plane then
came down and crashed into the nearby ice-rink on
was 11 when war broke out in 1939. My most vivid memory was in 1940
when Hall Russell Shipyard was bombed. My brother had just got a job there and I
was worried about his safety. I was in our house (4 Link Street) when
the bombing started. I remember the front door crashing shut and pushing me
right over! I heard a terrible noise so I went out to see what all the commotion
was about. I saw civilians taking injured people up the road on a horse and cart
and any other available vehicle. My dad was away working and came home to check
my brother was OK. Many workers who were having a lunchtime drink in the
Neptune Bar were killed in this incident. A number of the bar windows were
blown in causing havoc for those inside.
I also remember young girls picking up coal off the beach in Aberdeen during the
war. Nobody could afford to buy coal so locals collected what had been washed
up onto the beach from ships. One day I was collecting coal when a German plane
flew over and we could see the black crosses on its undercarriage. The cemetery
was badly bombed those on the beach escaped unhurt. - Ada Stewart
Black Friday -
12th July 1940 Film Record -
Scenes of the impact of the 1st daylight air raid on Aberdeen, known locally
as "Black Friday". Shots of buildings damaged by air raid attack. Sequence of
people standing in street with household furniture retrieved from damaged
buildings is in Footdee. The School of Domestic Science, a nursery
school, terraced house and extensive glass damage to the Neptune Bar, Shelter, Shell marked wall,
wreckage of Heinkel He111 aircraft. Aberdeen's "Stay at Home" holidays in
Shots of people visiting a display in the park grounds, picnicking, etc. ARP
services display. Open-air concert and various leisure activities
Tail of the German
bomber shot down by Spitfires on
12 July 1940.
The bombs, - dropped as the crew attempted to escape the Spitfires, - landed mostly
Hall Russell's shipyard
and Canteen in
killing several dozen workers.
Bar was also badly damaged as was the former
School of Domestic Science
After a short time Aberdeen also
fell victim to
attacks aircraft based at
could reach the
City in just over an hour and we were forbidden to visit the
which was heavily fortified with AA guns (mainly Bofors) to defend the
Shipyards. It was quite common to have a daylight strafe
from either a
fire. At this time we were staying with relatives in
which was about as far out of Aberdeen as you could go on the tram. I
attended school locally and one day there was a major air attack on the
again we had taken shelter in one of the concrete public shelters by the school
A great many powerful detonations were heard and we heard the fire tenders go
tearing along to what had been the new
a policeman asked me where I was going and I said
so he directed me past the blaze which was caused by a German bomber crashing.
There was the
crashed plane. One of the crew had obviously tried to bale out and met his death
trapped in the Bomber's half-open door. The police were everywhere, but we
managed to sneak past in a search for souvenirs. I picked up a number of
cartridge cases, a couple of pieces of parachute harness, and a small piece of
the wreckage. till in my pocket was the paper bag from
Mitchell & Muil's Bakery,
which had contained a couple of rowies (morning rolls) we had bought to sustain
us throughout the day. In it I put my souvenirs. They remained in that bag for
many years. I remember having a look into the bag when I returned from
Malaya after doing my
National Service. The wreckage of the Bomber was brought down into the
centre of the City and displayed in the quadrangle of
- a memorial to the
dead, and also to the German Crew, who were given a decent burial. I can't
remember whether the Germans were buried - either in the
Grove cemetery. Tullos Circle had
been bombed the same day.
was a target, which also meant
housing was frequently bombed. My aunt had her windows blown out 3 times, or
rather blown out twice and blown in once.
Victoria Road School
was destroyed on
12 July 1940
I was a 14 yr old when the
Hall Russell Shipyard
at Aberdeen Docks was bombed. The bombing happened during
the day. I was at home and heard the planes coming across and the bombs
dropping. I went out on to the street along with many other people who were drawn
outside to see what had been hit. My memory is a vivid one of the bodies being
taken up the
by horse and cart to the
the main hospital in Aberdeen at that time.
The day the German
into the new ice rink that was being built at Anderson Drive! It was a
school holiday and a beautiful sunny day. We had bought all-day bus tickets,
allowing us to roam Aberdeen by bus and tram. We were on our way to
when the air-raid siren sounded and there was action in the skies. We leapt off
the tram to watch. There was a German Bomber (it was a
trying desperately to get away from 2 spitfires from the
But the Spitfires were being thwarted because of the Barrage of ack-ack fire
coming from armed
in the Harbour. They were in danger of being shot down
themselves! Eventually, 1 of the fighter pilots fired a red flare signalling
the guns to stop firing, then homed in on the target. In desperation, the
jettisoned its 2 bombs in a bid to escape. Unbelievably, the bombs (later we
were told they were actually
Sea Mines) exploded on the corner of
York Street in Fittie,
where 100s of
Hall Russell's Shipyard
workers were gathered during their lunch break in the
and the adjacent
Canteen. Many died. But the fighter pilots finally did the job and the
crashed into the
We immediately headed for
York Street. It was where our Granny lived. Complete carnage. But at least Granny had
escaped with just shattered windows. We went up
and into a shattered
building. I made a gruesome discovery - a
severed finger. I actually picked it up, but hurriedly threw it away, wiping my
stained fingers on my shorts.
There is a lot more to relate such as the aerial bomb which hit my
Grandmothers house at 28 Urquhart Road on July 12th 1940 which probably
hastened her death in Dec that year, but that is for another time.