2016-12-16

Dec. 16. 1914: Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby

On this day in 1914, the German navy attacked the British seaport towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, and Whitby (pictured).
Whitby Abbey after the German naval bombardment of December 1914
This item is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford © The Imperial War MuseumWikipedia summarizes the events, and the subsequent ammunition for recruiters and propaganda writers, about this attack on civilians - like this poster (from Wikimedia):
British recruiting poster picturing damage from German naval artillery to a civilian house
This outrage resulted in over 100 deaths and nearly 600 wounded, and was in violation of the 1907 Hague Convention which prohibited naval bombardments of undefended towns without warning. Europeana 1914-1918 would love to discover stories from either side of this engagement, or the further attacks on British ports in 1916. The excellent Daily Telegraph series Inside the First World War includes War letters home: I never want to see such a thing again, "When war came to Britain on a cold winter's night, the nation found itself unprepared... one letter home from a VAD nurse glimpses at the shockwave that rippled in the aftermath of attack". Indeed, again from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive you can read how Vera Brittain, a VAD nurse based in Buxton in the north of England, reacted to reports in The Times newspaper, writing in her diary for that week, for example: "...The [Times] writer thinks that [the Germans] would not attempt to land troops because the difficulty of escape would be so much greater..."


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This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.

1 comment:

HurricaneAlly said...

Just spotted another Remember Scarborough recruiting poster in the First World War Poetry Digital Archive: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/item/3760